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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. ginti

    ginti Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lyon, France
    Hi @alex_can_dive, a quick question for you :) Do you use technology when you go for an easy trek/hike? Some people use some GPS device only in case of an emergency, but most people usually do not use any technology to reach the place they want to visit.

    I would look at scuba diving the same way. Advanced technology is perfect for exploration projects but better refine your skills for a one hour dive. Also, consider that tech equipment can fail, so use the technology only if you are capable of managing something without the technology itself.
  2. Edward3c

    Edward3c Instructor, Scuba

    You’ve received lots of advice about how to use different devices and maps on dive sites. Only @ginti has mentioned practice using any of these devices on land.

    When I teach underwater navigation I start by teaching all the techniques on land. My advice is to get on an orienteering course, but one that does not use GPS, but old fashioned maps and a compass. Once you’re proficient on land transfer those skills underwater.

    Don’t forget you’re never lost, just not where you think you are.
  3. ginti

    ginti Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lyon, France
    Excellent point; I did many land drills in all the more recent courses I took, usually for skills like v- or s-drills and for anything related to navigation (compass, follow a line, find a line with blinds, etc.)
  4. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    I spent time learning how to navigate after my AOW class. I got to dive with a guy whose nav skills looked like some kind of sorcery. They were that impressive. I made my mind up that I would do my best to get those level skills. I did take a nav course that was taught to standards and pretty much by the book. It was not impressive so I started looking for good nav courses and in my area couldn't find any that were better than the one I had.
    All the others were being taught by the book to standards.
    So I I went and just worked with divers whose skills at nav were good and I did a lot of practice on my own. I began to get much better and while still not full robe mage level I was no longer uncomfortable about jumping in anywhere.
    When I became an instructor I looked at the Nav course for the YMCA program that I got my first instructor cert through and discovered, that like other nav courses, it sucked if taught by the book so I wrote my own.
    Nav courses for pretty much every agency I've looked at, and I have the standards for nine of them, are really not much more than an introduction and the biggest downfall is they don't have any minimum entry requirements.
    Nav is going to be challenging if you can't do precise turns, have lousy buoyancy and trim, poor buddy skills, and are not willing to work at it by taking small steps.
    Also, the dive requirements that work in one area are way too ambitious in others.
    And they try to cram too much into to few dives.
    My Nav class is 6 dives with a pool session prior to the class to see if the student has the basic skills necessary to be successful and have fun with the nav class.
    The class is 6 dives, uses lines and reels on the last 2, has map creation as part of class, and requires excellent buddy skills. When starting nav, there is a lot to keep track of. Sharing the task load with a buddy makes it much easier and is what I did to build a foundation. Then I went and worked on it solo.
    Every time I go in the water I do one thing nav related for sure. I take an initial heading and always have an idea of what the reciprocal is so that I can get back.
  5. alex_can_dive

    alex_can_dive Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Massachusetts
    Hah, that's a good question. I don't usually use a GPS while hiking - I look up the map in advance to get a sense of where I should be going. Then once on the hike, I just follow the path (which is usually marked with paint or flags).
    This is exactly why I get nervous underwater - there's no path, no marking - nothing to guide you where you should be going/returning.

    Good advice!

    You're technically correct - the best kind of correct:D
  6. Subcooled

    Subcooled ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Finland
    It is a final product, but getting the required three buoys, a transmitter (or a few) and underwater tablets will cost many thousands. Best used professionally where accurate underwater positioning is needed (or if you are a DM who wants to keep an eye on a group of divers; the system can also warn if somebody swims too far).

    A cheaper option would be a rope tender or a guide line reel or proficient underwater orienteering. Orienteering becomes difficult when visibility drops because swimming in a straight line is very difficult without visual cues.

    My best advice is to stay calm and aware and remember your past turns.

    Have you tried orienteering on dry land (in a forest with a map)? Your sense of direction, use of visual cues to maintain a steady course, etc. etc. would improve. Once you become proficient on land you can start using a compass on land and after that more easily learn underwater orienteering too.
    alex_can_dive likes this.
  7. alex_can_dive

    alex_can_dive Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Massachusetts

    Would you consider running a few classes in Massachusetts?
  8. ginti

    ginti Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lyon, France
    Hi @alex_can_dive, if you ask, I assume that's because you perceive that you feel to lack some training. Can you confirm it?
  9. 60plus

    60plus Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Cumbria UK
    Bearing in mind this section of the forum is about new divers and those thinking about it, the above experience would probably cause a total panic and require deep clean of divewear. One the subject or nervousness, many say it is good to be nervous to some extent. When in difficult dive situations I find concentration blanks out nervousness.
    Bob DBF likes this.
  10. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    My feeling is that every diver should always have a healthy understanding respect for the dangers of a coming dive and be sure to make the standard precautions for it, but if the diver truly fears the dive, then that dive should not happen. If you want to apply Aristotle's idea of the Golden Mean, then one extreme is fear and the other is complacent disregard of danger. The Golden Mean is in the middle of those extremes.
    Cdncoldwater and rick00001967 like this.

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