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How do you get over the nervousness/fear when jumping into unfamiliar dive sites?

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by alex_can_dive, May 25, 2021.

  1. Brant Emery

    Brant Emery Registered

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Chicago
    29
    12
    “In low viz, it’s just harder.” It’s just harder means you need to work on it harder. In limited viz dives start of with short (you determine the distance that you are comfortable with) excursions, and use a compass. Gradually extend this distance or time. It just takes time and controlled effort on your part. Until you reach your comfortable zone utilize other people that are better at navigation than you, but use your compass and pay attention to the topography.

    You really only need a guide, not someone holding your hand and leading you. Use their knowledge to build your skill set.
     
  2. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    27,791
    21,506
    No one can truly answer your question because they don't know enough about the situations you are in and how you are trying to do things. Different situations call or different techniques, and some situations will likely challenge almost any diver.

    I actually wrote an approved PADI distinctive specialty on advanced dive planning, and it includes a large section on navigation. I cannot reproduce that large section here. I can make a few tips.
    • In poor visibility with no landmarks to view, you want a compass. It is possible that you only need the basic skills you learned in your OW class; in fact, I would say that is true in most places.
    • Here in the Denver, Colorado area, we have two lakes that are the most popular local dive sites. Both have poor visibility. If you just want to screw around underwater and then get back to shore without having to surface for a look, all you need to do is take a compass heading from shore before the dive. Follow it out a ways--it's easy because the bottom is getting deeper. Play around for a while, then reverse the compass heading and go back home. Things should start getting shallower soon. You won't get back to your precise entry point, but who cares?
    • The advice to get local help is a good one. You may discover that the locals have an entire course laid out with line along the bottom.
     
  3. SlugMug

    SlugMug Contributor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Texas
    540
    380
    After some additional thought, I suspect part of the problem is you've been "spoiled" by high visibility while diving.

    Honestly, in most of my dives I've been relatively "lost" while under-water and went with it. That's coupled with very poor visiblity. For the most part, I've followed shore-topography & avoided going towards the middle of a lake. There are a few times I explored a large cove, not realizing I had went around almost the entire thing.

    If you really must know about where you are, take navigation class. If you don't want to pay for a class, there are certainly a bunch of youtube videos which show you how to use a compass while diving. You're going to want underwater compass navigation skills eventually anyway.

    In terms of a technology-solution, there are problems with nearly every approach. Satelite (GPS) signals can't penetrate deep water, and sending up & down a GPS would be time-consuming and likely expensive hardware. Accelerometers can't be precise enough, remember you're moving a LOT underwater. You could potentially triangulate with ping-devices, but would have to know EXACTLY where they are. The best I can think of, would be something like a depth-finder, that could slightly map your surroundings on one axis, coupled with a compass, accelerometer, and a computer. A system like that would probably be $5k on launch, be somewhat large, and probably not drop to $1500 or so for at least 5 years. The target market would be limited, due to the price point, and that most advanced divers would have learned other navigation methods. Even then, any of these navigation systems would become useless in certain scenarios, like cave-diving.
     
  4. emoreira

    emoreira Dive Resort

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: ARGENTINA
    1,942
    516
    Cave diving is done following a permanent life line that was laid by previous explorers deploying a new life line. Navigation is done following that line, so no navigation device would be needed.
     
  5. SlugMug

    SlugMug Contributor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Texas
    540
    380
    OP is being mildy lazy in asking for a high-tech GPS-like solution. No high-tech navigation device is needed for cave-diving, true, however the line, cookies, and possibly cave-map and cave-diving training is your "navigation device." I'm no cave-diver, but I've watched enough Dive-Talk episodes to understand "just follow the line" without training and proper equipment is a very easy way to get lost (and die) in a cave.

    That aside, OP could learn navigation techniques involving a line or reel in open-water. Same is true of compass-navigation. My point was that OP needs to do some learning, whether in a class, or if money is tight, watch some YouTube videos and practice.
     
  6. alex_can_dive

    alex_can_dive Contributor

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Massachusetts
    122
    49
    OP is not being lazy - only inexperience :D and cautious
     
  7. agilis

    agilis Cat Lives Matter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: N.J.
    10,481
    14,078
    Nervousness is a good thing under certain circumstances.
     
    Bob DBF likes this.
  8. emoreira

    emoreira Dive Resort

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: ARGENTINA
    1,942
    516
    Agreed 100 %. Cave diving is not just follow the line. No Navigation device (I mean an electronic device with some type of positioning gear) needed.
     
  9. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    7,285
    4,304
    Calling OP lazy is out of line in my opinion.

    For nearly every other application, there are better navigation solutions than the old school methods we use for scuba. Also, you don't know what you don't know.. and you find out by ASKING like the OP did.

    Good for him, I say. He got an answer (and a little bickering) and can move on about his business.

    And I completely agree with his sentiment:
     
  10. ginti

    ginti DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lyon, France
    751
    450
    Agree 100%
     
    dead dog and Cdncoldwater like this.

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