Question How to prepare for tech diving without diving?

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marsh9077

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Thank you all for the great replies, I stopped by my school's library today and looked for the books recommended. I didn't find any but did come across a few regarding mixed gas diving. I'm assembling a list of books to order and hopefully find cheap copies of (The Tao of Survival Underwater looks particularly interesting, but at $100 it's a tall order). The Essentials of Human Factors in Diving also looks pretty good, and will be going on my list.

I hear you on the cost thing, I started tech diving after uni also with limited money/resources which is part of the reason why I don't think you see many younger generations getting into tech diving or pursuing much further then AN/DP as it is just to costly so I'm always wanting to help those out that want to get into it but find some of the resources expansive. PM with your email and I can share some articles etc on tech diving and cave diving.
The best way I have heard it is, "An open water diver has every skill they need to go in to a cave, and none of the skills to safely make it back out."

Reading accident accounts and understating what there mistake was is a good way to learn as if you can not get in the water.

Also something else that you can do that is free is start doing research on instructors and contact them, ask questions, etc. You mentioned you want to work your way to full cave. At this level of diving most people start seeking instructors for there reputation because its the stuff those guys teach you that is not in the books that people want to learn.
 

Wibble

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As previously mentioned, my long term goal is to get my Full Cave Certification. I have watched a bunch of YouTube videos and read a bunch of articles and as cool as it sounds and as much as I want to go in, I have a healthy respect for the dangers of cave diving and want to do everything right before going into a cave.

The best way I have heard it is, "An open water diver has every skill they need to go in to a cave, and none of the skills to safely make it back out."
The main skills are common with all serious diving: good core skills. Those above all are the foundations for all the other skills to be built upon; without them you'll be a liability in any cave or wreck.
 
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Will Megginson

Will Megginson

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Here’s something cave diving related to read (FREE). Parts are rather dated but it’s the foundation of the cave diving rules.

https://nsscds.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Blueprint-for-Survival.pdf
I found this on the FL shop's page and have already gone through it a few times. It's an excellent read and very helpful. They require all cave candidates to read it prior to the class, and it is very clear why.

Reading accident accounts and understating what there mistake was is a good way to learn as if you can not get in the water.
Accident reports, while quite chilling, are one of the best ways to teach not only the gravity of the mission, but what actually goes wrong. I've been fascinated by the YouTube channel DiveTalk's Cave Divers React series. Hearing accident reports discussed by real cave divers (and sometimes guests like Edd Sorenson) has only solidified my desire to safely enter the cave zone.

If I were in your shoes, I'd talk to that instructor and see what he thinks about your plans. Just because he isn't teaching anymore doesn't mean he can't give you a little mentorship. If he can teach you to back kick and hold a hover in neutral buoyancy and horizontal trim, you'll be head and shoulders over most of the people that are going from rec to tech. There are skills and there are certs. Both are necessary, but skills are what you need to get the certs.
I will definitely be opening this conversation with him and telling him my goals. If I've learned one thing about the SCUBA community, it is that the old guard are more than happy to help the newer and younger divers. I can't say that is true of other communities I've been a part of (cough...ham radio...cough).
 

grantctobin

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I've been fascinated by the YouTube channel DiveTalk's Cave Divers React series. Hearing accident reports discussed by real cave divers (and sometimes guests like Edd Sorenson) has only solidified my desire to safely enter the cave zone.
Glad you’re listening to many sources of input. I’d caution internalizing too much of what is present on that show, as special guests aside, they’re rather inexperienced cave and tech divers. That said, there does seem to be some caution present among the rest of the nincompoopery.
 

rhwestfall

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There is a significant separation from a DM trained for recreational scuba and a technical diver......

If you are not interested in becoming an instructor, I'd say it isn't worth the time/money for a DM certification...
 

mac64

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Read up on the technical side of the gear you might need to use. I wouldn’t bother with accident reports or stories from other divers, everyone knows divers and fishermen tell lies.
 

Marie13

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The Mark Powell Technical Diving: An Introduction is a very good book.
 

ginti

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To the OP, actually, the best way to prepare for technical diving is by diving a lot and refining your skills, and by increasing your experience (if your number of dives is up to date - that's rather low). The best way to do it is by diving together with some other tech divers if you can. Also, try to speak with some instructors.

However, I understand you are willing to read and improve your knowledge; it's the same for me :)

I can tell you that you can do (at least) three different kinds of things:
1) work on your physical conditioning
2) read books
3) work on the equipment

1) work on your physical conditioning
People tend to agree that tech divers should have proper physical conditioning. You should work in two directions:
{A.1} Increasing your strength: you don't need to be a powerlifter, but tech equipment can be rather heavy (easily 40kg+ - up to 60/70 or even more, if you add stages, scooters, camera, etc.). No, you don't need to squat 100kg :) But some squat/deadlift and benches and chin/pull-ups may help.
{B.1} Increasing your aerobic conditioning: this is important for several reasons; again, no need to be an athlete, but being able to run at least 8km in less than one hour is a good starting point. Alternatively, go swimming or biking.

2) read books
Here there are a couple of things you can do; in order, I would:
{A.2} focus on the diving philosophy: you may know that different agencies advocate different styles of diving. There is no best way of diving, but the best for you exists. You may want to read something related to GUE (the book from Jablonski previously mentioned), something about TDI (books from Mark Powel) etc.
{B.2} focus on physiology: there is an excellent book from Mark Powell, deco for divers, easy to read and very explicative (although, as a doctor, I found mistakes in tables and graphs). I also have a book from Bennet and Elliot, but it is more for physicians, I believe (800+ pages!), and I open it only when I have some particular doubts (and there is another one in the market, but I can't remember the title)
{C.2} focus on the psychological aspects - that is, human factors: here you can read the book from Gareth Lock (some people say that this book says nothing new and overcomplicate everything - I disagree, I find it interesting). You can also try to read books describing accidents.
{D.2} focus on the equipment: some books provide a general overview of some specific pieces of equipment and how they work (I am specifically thinking about rebreather here, but probably there are books about other stuff); I believe books from {A.2} already cover the basics you need to know.

3) work on the equipment
Again, different things that you can do, but these are a bit risky (I would personally skip them):
{A.3} Exercises: assuming you finally choose a style of diving and the equipment you want to use, there are some easy exercises that you may emulate. For instance, if you choose to dive with back-mounted manifold twink tanks, you can simulate a valve drill using only water plastic bottles (really!). But this can be very risky. The principle of these exercises is to train your muscle memory. So, if you do them wrong, you'll learn something terrible that you will later need to forget (and the process of forgetting will be tough)
{B.3} getting proficient with the equipment: if you already have the equipment that you will use, you can spend a bit of time playing with it to understand how it really works and become a bit more proficient. But you first need to buy the equipment, which can be expensive and, in my opinion, is never a good idea (I believe that the best idea is to rent the equipment together with an instructor, test it, and buy only if you like it)
 

sandiegoaes

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I would put away the books and start swimming. Look up a good masters swimming program here:


and join a local workout. If you cannot dive regularly, swimming is a great second choice. It will teach you kicks that you can modify for diving, breath control, streamlining, body position. It isn't any accident that the best technical divers are also excellent free divers / swimmers. It will get you into great shape and also cut down your DCS risk.

Reading books is fine and good but swimming will really help you much more than reading about diving.

I would also get a backpack, load it up with weights (start with nothing and add 5 pounds every week) and climb stairs. Nothing fancy but it will help tremendously with walking around with tanks on your back.
 
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