How many dives does it take for one to be competent?

How many dives does it take to be competent?

  • 100+

    Votes: 52 60.5%
  • 200+

    Votes: 18 20.9%
  • 300+

    Votes: 7 8.1%
  • 400+

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 500+

    Votes: 9 10.5%

  • Total voters
    86

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ATJ

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In a lot of ways, I am jealous of new divers. Chances are they are going to see or do something on their next dive that they have never seen before

After a bunch of dives in the same place, you pretty much know you are not going to see something much different than the last 20 dives. Part of you hopes something "unusual" happens, but you also hope the unusual isn't some weird incident or accident. Sorta like... I hope I see a really unusual fish this dive; God I hope it isn't a hungry great white.
Actually, I have found that to some extent the exact opposite happens.

I have a couple of sites that I dive regularly: every weekend for the last 10 or so years. I'm still seeing new species or new sightings of species. It doesn't happen every dive but it does happen a multiple times each year. I even coauthored a paper describing a new species of pipefish in waters right off Sydney!

Just this year:
* I saw my first Mother-of-Pearl Pipefish
* I saw my first juvenile Red Wide-bodied Pipefish (the pipefish I codescribed)
* I saw full courtship in a pair of Pot-bellied Seahorses
* I saw my first eagle ray in Sydney
 

TMHeimer

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I think it may have to do with your mindset. Being a shell collector, Nova Scotia isn't the greatest place for that. A few cold water species that are quite nice. Then you dive the same sites over & over. The choice is get frustrated and quit, or take solace that at least you speared a flounder for dinner. The next time there may be a shell worthy of the collection. In fact I did find several American Pelican Foots recently. And have yet to find and adult N.E. Neptune. Gotta think positive.
 

ATJ

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Actually, I have found that to some extent the exact opposite happens.
By the way, for me, and to get back to the topic of the thread, this has a lot to do with competency in the water.

It's like going for a walk in the park. You know how to walk so you don't have to think about that. You know your way to the park so you just go there. This leaves you free to concentrate on observing things and you think less about the method. Same as driving a car. After a while you don't have to think about braking, accelerating, changing gears, etc.

This is diving for me. Sure, do I all my checks before I get in the water, and I regularly check my air, NDL, ect., but it all becomes second nature and doesn't require much thought. If I need to adjust my buoyancy, I can do it without much thought. This leaves me a lot of brain power to observe. This is when diving truly becomes enjoyable.
 

SlyStrat

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I think a good mentor can really help new divers.
Extra training helps too.
And you need both cold and warm water dives to become more competent.
 

TMHeimer

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I think a good mentor can really help new divers.
Extra training helps too.
And you need both cold and warm water dives to become more competent.
If you only dive in warm or cold water but not both, why do you need experience in the other to be called "competent"?
If you have 500 drift dives but no wall dives, are you also not competent?
 

markmud

Self Reliant Diver--On All Dives.
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If you only dive in warm or cold water but not both, why do you need experience in the other to be called "competent"?
If you have 500 drift dives but no wall dives, are you also not competent?

Hi TM Heimer,

I can't opine for @SlyStrat, but for me a person who has dived different places, including walls, drifts, and warm v. cold has a rounded experience portfolio. I think they may have proved themselves to be resilient (they are resilient if they have some mastery of the unique issues that occur with different locations and conditions).

Cold water diving is harder to master than warm water diving (buoyancy issues are compounded and then there is thermal stress, both above and below the water). Most cold water divers don't follow a DM/DG around while wearing nothing but a swimsuit. Most, if not all Cali dives are unguided. You are on your own.

During the interrogation part of diving with a new dive op, for me the phrase that gets the DM to move-on to the next diver very quickly is: "Monterey, the Channel Islands of SoCal, and the walls of Lake Tahoe in all seasons."

This summer, I am going to add Lake Superior to my logbook. I will add Lake Superior to that sentence (paragraph above).

Resilience. Resolute.

A proven ability to overcome more and different obstacles to safe diving.

Are cold water divers more dedicated to the avocation than warm water vacation divers?

cheers,
m
 

Satrekker

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On average, how many dives does it take for someone to be comfortably self-sufficient?

(by that I mean, you can sufficiently navigate new sites, go wreck divings without being nervous, go night diving without getting lost, etc)


This is completely dependent upon the individual. Self-awareness and diving within your training coupled with regular diving (2x+/month) in a variety of conditions - night, wreck, drift, low vis, et. al, I would say 50-100. It's all about comfort, training, experience, and self-awareness. The hardest part for many people is to not overestimate one's capabilities imo.
 

ICatchBadGuys

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By the way, for me, and to get back to the topic of the thread, this has a lot to do with competency in the water.

It's like going for a walk in the park. You know how to walk so you don't have to think about that. You know your way to the park so you just go there. This leaves you free to concentrate on observing things and you think less about the method. Same as driving a car. After a while you don't have to think about braking, accelerating, changing gears, etc.

This is diving for me. Sure, do I all my checks before I get in the water, and I regularly check my air, NDL, ect., but it all becomes second nature and doesn't require much thought. If I need to adjust my buoyancy, I can do it without much thought. This leaves me a lot of brain power to observe. This is when diving truly becomes enjoyable.

Repetition is the mother of all skill..... :)
 

TMHeimer

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Hi TM Heimer,

I can't opine for @SlyStrat, but for me a person who has dived different places, including walls, drifts, and warm v. cold has a rounded experience portfolio. I think they may have proved themselves to be resilient (they are resilient if they have some mastery of the unique issues that occur with different locations and conditions).

Cold water diving is harder to master than warm water diving (buoyancy issues are compounded and then there is thermal stress, both above and below the water). Most cold water divers don't follow a DM/DG around while wearing nothing but a swimsuit. Most, if not all Cali dives are unguided. You are on your own.

During the interrogation part of diving with a new dive op, for me the phrase that gets the DM to move-on to the next diver very quickly is: "Monterey, the Channel Islands of SoCal, and the walls of Lake Tahoe in all seasons."

This summer, I am going to add Lake Superior to my logbook. I will add Lake Superior to that sentence (paragraph above).

Resilience. Resolute.

A proven ability to overcome more and different obstacles to safe diving.

Are cold water divers more dedicated to the avocation than warm water vacation divers?

cheers,
m
I agree on all points you make. My only point has ever been to question why someone who has tons of the same types of dives would not be considered competent. As I said before, you have to define competent. I've done mostly cold water diving, but have done some temperate and even a little tropical. I find that cold water diving is really only harder because you have to deal with a thick wetsuit (or drysuit, I don't own one) and much weight. Most of that difficulty is putting the damn stuff on & off and walking with that weight to the shores (not even a factor if boat diving). And the viz can (but not always) be lousy. Other than that, there is really not much difference from warm water.
It seems that the warm water vs. cold thing for some reason pops up a lot on SB.

I would prefer to call someone who has many varied experiences a more well-rounded diver than a more competent one.
Poses the question-- who is more competent, a cold water diver who does only that and only in one general area, or another who does every other type of diving, but only in the tropics?
 

markmud

Self Reliant Diver--On All Dives.
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I agree on all points you make. My only point has ever been to question why someone who has tons of the same types of dives would not be considered competent. As I said before, you have to define competent. I've done mostly cold water diving, but have done some temperate and even a little tropical. I find that cold water diving is really only harder because you have to deal with a thick wetsuit (or drysuit, I don't own one) and much weight. Most of that difficulty is putting the damn stuff on & off and walking with that weight to the shores (not even a factor if boat diving). And the viz can (but not always) be lousy. Other than that, there is really not much difference from warm water.
It seems that the warm water vs. cold thing for some reason pops up a lot on SB.

I would prefer to call someone who has many varied experiences a more well-rounded diver than a more competent one.
Poses the question-- who is more competent, a cold water diver who does only that and only in one general area, or another who does every other time of diving, but in the tropics?

Hi TM,

I think we are starting to split too many hairs.

I think most of us are generalizing on this thread—we are thinking big picture. There are people who can make 1000 dives and still scare the crap out of most of us. And there is the person who can take some training, gain some varied experience, and be incredibly good, and safe, with only 40 dives.

A person who has been surfing weekly, winter and summer, will probably take to SCUBA much quicker than a lawyer from South Lebanon Ohio.

Generally speaking, I think a person whose aptitude is compatible with diving and the ocean, can become competent by performing 100 dives combined with a decent level of training.

Competent meaning they can perform a recreational dive safely, enjoyably, and comfortably. They have enough repetition under their BC to make tasks involved with diving semi-subconscious (you know, muscle memory combined with subconscious reflex).

cheers,
m
 
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