Just how important is Navigation to the Recreational Diver

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RJP

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I think navigation both natural and with a traditional compass is a great skill

Natural navigation = "lost...right up until the very last moment"

:eyebrow:
 

OldNSalty

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Natural navigation = "lost...right up until the very last moment"

:eyebrow:

unless by 'natural navigation' the poster was referring to orienteering in which case you would be very wrong.
 

Atom

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I think it's very important if you plan to dive independently. Unfortunately I don't get to practice compass navigation a lot, since I do most of my local dives in the St-Lawrence river. In a river you can't just take a heading from the shore and follow it to the site, you'll drift off. So we do a lot of "follow this line it'll lead you to the wreck/lock". Although I'm usually doing ok at natural navigation and staying oriented under water.

So that underwater GPS thingy... I'd buy one if it existed. Although I'm not sure if we'll ever see that, motion tracking isn't a simple problem. A lot of techniques require receiving an input from a source that knows it's position but this isn't simple underwater (light is no go, sound might be ok, electromagnetic waves don't travel far), and inertial sensors aren't precise enough to track position over a long period of time without horrible drift as far as I know.
 

Jmaserati

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I think most of the arguments here are about as an alternative navigation tool - it should be thought of as a COMPLEMENT to all your advanced training as a diver.

Anything that can add to a divers safety would be a plus too, dontcha think?

Then there's the fun aspect - geocaching underwater, mapquests, etc.

Practical applications - more detailed underwater maps, as a tool for "Reefwatchers", underwater archeological surveys, etc.

There used to be a Yahoo or MSN group devoted to the idea of using a Magellan Meridian in a float case for this purpose:

Underwater GPS - Captain's Blog SCUBA Blog - Dive Spots
 

BettyRubble

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When I first cert'd I was only mildly worried about navigation (which if you know me, you'd find hysterical since I get lost even in my neighborhood!). Figured I'd rely on my buds. Afterall, how hard was it to get lost?!

But it only took about 12 dives for me to realize that I CAN NOT rely on my buddies to be good navigators. It is so easy to get disoriented. Even when you think you know where you are, I've been surprised how often I was wrong.

After a dive in which 3 other very experienced divers were unsure where we were and TURNED TO ME to see if I knew, I decided I was going to learn navigation. No way in heck I was going to be responsible for someone else not making it back.

This may sound silly, but to me navigation is critical not only for yourself but also as redundancy. If you AND your buddy take readings and 'nav' chances are greater of a successful outcome.

Now, if I could only figure out how to get out of parking lots . . .


PS . . I think learning NAV and THEN using tools is the best way. Just like dive computers and air tables . . . you are better off knowing the rationale and calculations behind the tool instead of relying on the tool exclusively.
 

BDSC

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For the diving I do, navigation (and here I am talking about using a compass) really isn't important at all. I usually either dive off NC where you are on a wreck or I'm in the caribbean in places like Roatan, Bonaire, Cozumel, or the Caymans.

For wreck diving it's a no brainer to find the line. Don't really need navigation skills for that. Most of the dives I have done in the caribbean are usually wall dives where the boat is tied to the edge of the wall, you drop down the wall and swim in one direction and then head back up the wall and swim back. Hard to miss the boat doing that. Even in Bonaire it's head one way, turn around, head back. We do look for a unique looking landmark (maybe I should call it a watermark) when we go to Bonaire and check the depth of it. So when we return to it, we just turn left or right and head to shore.

As a matter of fact, I even took the compass off my computer a couple of years ago because the only time I ever used a compass was in my AOW class back in 1992.

But like folks have said, to me the importance of having good navigation skills really depends on where you are diving. Many places you just don't need it.
 

Diver0001

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Since DEMA there has been more chatter about UW Navigation systems like GPS for recreational divers but really, how important is it?

Here in SoCal most dive charters do not provide a DM or guide and we are expected to do all our own navigation and the same applies to shore diving. You went in as a team; you find your way out as a team. For those gifted with that innate ability to navigate this is not an issue but for those who tend to get lost in the mall, they might have an entirely different perspective.

Navigation is indeed a skill that can and should be learned but for the majority of recreational divers that will not dive without a DM or guide or, they dive inside a confined space like a dive park, quarry or lake, just how important is it?

In our local environment the water is fairly turbid so navigation skills are an improtant part of the diver's skill set. The need for something like underwater GPS is not. Rudimentary skill with a compass and a thorough handling of natural navigation from someone who knows their stuff is sufficient.

As for getting lost in the mall. I'm the world's worst navigator on land (just ask my wife...:)). If it wasn't for Tom-Tom I would get lost going to the supermarket but drop me 500km out in the forest or put me under water with nothing more than a compass and I can find my way home. I have no innate ability for navigating at all but I'm really very good at it.... It's all about learned skills and once again, if you have the skills then you don't need gizmos.

R..
 

theduckguru

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Underwater GPS, a great addition when you are trying to replace your cash with gadgets.

In scuba, you are not using long distances. An underwater GPS seems rather useless if you'll just learn some basics with a compass.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/teric/

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