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How to tell the DM you're not a disaster underwater?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by anchochile, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: United States
    I've found the best way is to be confident on the boat, set up your gear quickly and without fuss, dive well, and the DM's will relax and deal with the other divers who are stressing them out for the subsequent dives.

    This helps if you're diving for more than one day. Once they see you're competent, you can ask to put you in the group with the more experienced divers.

    There's nothing magic about being a cold water diver that makes them any better. I've seen just as many dangerous cold water divers as warm water divers, however typically, cold water divers are more invested in diving regularly, as opposed to warm water vacation divers. Cold water divers simply tend to have less time out of the water between dive outings, so they get more practice.
  2. AdivingBel

    AdivingBel Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Missouri
    Like others have said, if you're only diving one day or you're a walk-in, odds are the dive op is going to want to see you in the water before taking you to an "advanced" site or put you on the boat with their "regulars." If you're diving more than one day, be a "no drama" diver and they might honor your request to change boats on the next day if they have room. Another alternative is to seek out dive ops & locations that allow you to do your own thing with a buddy as opposed to following the DM. The DM might want to see you rig your gear as well as in the water at the beginning of your first tank, but if you can "walk the walk" may leave you alone to enjoy the rest of your dive and subsequent tanks.

    An exception might be if you are cruise ship diving and the entire (large) group is only diving one day. You might beef up your dive count on the sign-up sheet. I normally wouldn't condone the fib, but odds are you'll be doing pretty benign dives. Just don't mess up and ruin another experienced diver's dive.

    LOL...I can pretty much guarantee you won't be on my boat at my fav warm water locale on your first dive day and we're ALL "vacation divers." It's nothing personal. :)
    elgoog, uncfnp and chillyinCanada like this.
  3. Aris Penaranda

    Aris Penaranda Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Saudi Arabia
    Most DiveMasters analyze other divers and gets their first impression based on your appearance, type of gear, actions and inactions, level of anxiety etc. If that's not enough, usually your first dive is enough to show your skill level. Good bouyancy control and trim is enough for the DM to think you are an experienced diver.

    I remember a DM who guided our group asked me after our first dive how many dives do I have and what certification do I have. I answered, "less than 30, just finished AOW class". He remarked, " Maybe you're a DM PADI sent to spy on us".
    I spoke nothing, did nothing. In fact I just hover motionless observing the other divers.
  4. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    Fancy new gear doesn't impress me. :p

    Knowing how to dive it impresses me.

    At first, I was wondering why you hadn't been filtered into the more experienced group after your first dive but you've explained that later in the thread. Just hang in there, patience is a virtue but for goodness sakes and all that is holy, get your wife certified and caught up to you in skill level!! Don't wait.
  5. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    "Show, not tell" is my approach. Because many young DMs and instructors have no clue what the L.A. County certification means, too often (for my taste) I have to do a "check out" dive when I've been diving twice as long as the DM has been alive! I don't like it as it often wastes a dive that I could be filming on. Once I got PADI cards 40+ years after, they stopped asking.
  6. W W Meixner

    W W Meixner Banned


    It's not in the telling...it's in the showing...you'll get there...

    More C-Cards does not make you more proficient...time and practical application makes you proficient...some divers collect C-Cards like they were baseball cards...and never really become proficient at anything...


    LiteWeight likes this.
  7. Coconut Monkey

    Coconut Monkey Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Surat Thani, Thailand. Melbourne, Australia
    Show DM some proves such as dive logs (the least you can do) and your certifications, that why each agency have certification cards to show that you are competent to do X(that is true untill you forget it and need to go through a "refresher course"). I also always stick with a dive company/set of DMs as i always dive for a month every 6 months with them, i love to have 4 consecutive dives a day(60% of total dives logged) - this way i can build a healthy long relationship with the company and the DMs themselves.

    :gas:Story time:gas::

    I have considerably low SAC rate and i once got grouped with a body builder, we ended the diver after ~25 mins (shallow >17m). I also got grouped up with a man who cannot control his buoyancy with his breathing, he solely used his inflator to literally control his buoyancy. I feel bad for both of them, DMs, and other divers in the group. Once, I have to win the trust from an MSDT, who was also a tek diver, during my DPV course, i believed that he think i was too young[17], incompetent to be precise, and i also dive with him only twice [he as the fun diver leader] before, and now we are friend.:cheers:. Some of fun dive leaders that i have met also ask me for the no. of dives, some of them say "get at least 100 dives and come back later and talk to them later"- funny people.

    I feel luck that have been buddied/tripled up a lot with different skill level divers - OW, AOW, DM, Instructor, Tek or even MSDT but i find that i had lot of fun with them regardless of their skill level. Also i have been learning useful stuffs from them too, even from an OW diver. Eg: new techniques to roll a spool and becoming more aware of the surroundings and my buddies during and after the dive. I am young but a fast learner who just happen to experience lot of different scenario... and i am just luck enough to get into this hobby at a young age and i love it.

    Have fun!
  8. Caveeagle

    Caveeagle Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: High Springs, FL
    I think 72* is pretty cold. Hahah
    rjack321 and lv2dive like this.
  9. lv2dive

    lv2dive Formerly known as KatePNAtl

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake City, FL
    I could not agree more. Some of the best divers have faded BCs/wings, obviously worn but still functional harnesses, while some divers with thousands of dollars of brand-new recreational gear are a train wreck. Of course the inverse is true as well.

    To the OP - if you are doing one dive, one day, it may continue to be challenging to get put in the more experienced group. I know a lot of people have mentioned confidence/skill with setting up your kit, unfortunately that is probably going to tell the DM who to keep an extra eye on, rather than inform the dive op which group to place you with, As that decision is typically made before you set your gear up.

    You are doing all of the things that you should be doing to end up in the more experienced group. I definitely agree that finding an Insta buddy on the boat who also appears more advanced is your best bet for now, especially with operations that don’t make you dive in a group.

    Congratulations on finding a hobby that you love and working to get as much experience as possible. We look forward to hearing more from you on the board.

    chillyinCanada likes this.
  10. Coconut Monkey

    Coconut Monkey Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Surat Thani, Thailand. Melbourne, Australia
    "Every marks and every scratches have their own story"

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