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Looking to learn from my mistake...

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by sonofzell, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. Wathdoc

    Wathdoc Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: uk
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    Part of the issue is what you said, a lack of practice and experience. You need to gain it by simple dives, in sufficient quantity and frequency to improve navigation skill. What strikes me is that you have an excellent prerequisite to becoming a good diver. You have a good brain, and a willingness to think and learn form experience. Don't let that go. Frequently people get cocky and overestimate current ability when they gain experience, say 100-200 dives, take things for granted, get sloppy and make a serious error.
     
    sonofzell, Streydog and Dark Wolf like this.
  2. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    4,599
    2,913
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    Please note my use of the word "should"! "Should" is a dangerous word, after all, I should not have to pay so much in taxes. I should be paid more! And so on! :wink::p

    Now about standards. Yes no agency that I know of (I've taught for PADI, SSI, and SDI, so I'm by no means an expert of all agencies, though I do collect as many standards from different agencies as I can) teaches kick cycles/times swims and/or SACs in open water. SDI (and NAUI, possibly others) do allow an instructor to require it as part of that course. I followed the example of other SDI instructors who do include both items to enable new divers to basically plan along the lines that are in the dive planning document found in that folder link I provided. Nothing in that document is earth shattering or new. It is simply the collection of fundamentals to give new divers the skills to overplan, as no one is going to figure out how much gas they will have on such a strict plan. However, going through that exercise once or twice gives new divers the confidence and skills to plan and execute dives in similar conditions to which they were trained. They are not as nervous as they execute their dives and see "hey, I have about as much gas as I thought I would by this point. Everything is fine." Eventually they'll have a sixth sense of their expected gas consumption as they conduct dives. Only when they get into technical diving would they get back to meticulous dive planning.

    Some instructors don't like that document, seeing it as impractical as it takes more time. But others love it as it is thorough. The people who like it tend to teach in more challenging conditions (cold water, currents, bad viz).

    Unfortunately, no mainstream agency in the WRSTC prohibits instructors from placing students on their knees. RAID does require that to meet performance requirements, skills must be performed neutrally buoyant. That's a big step in the right direction. No agency prohibits an instructor from teaching their entire course neutrally buoyant and trim, but unfortunately not all instructors take advantage of that allowance.

    I'm sorry you had a less than stellar experience with your open water. I didn't realize the number of standards violations occurred in my open water class until I became an instructor. People in general, myself included in the beginning but no longer, place faith in instructors to teach everything they are supposed to at a quality level. I'd also suggest zeroing in on correct weighting: the absolute minimum required to keep you from corking to the surface at your shallowest stop (5 m / 15 feet for safety stops) with an empty BCD/dry suit with a nearly empty cylinder (35 bar / 500 psi).

    But I disagree about finning. You should (there's that word again) per PADI standards be able to reasonably flutter kick at a minimum. I.e., no bicycle kicking.
     
    chillyinCanada and KWS like this.
  3. Dubious

    Dubious ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Yeah, flutter kick is all that we were taught and had to do in open water. I don't find myself using a flutter kick often. I was more referring to not being taught frog, modified frog, modified flutter, helicopter turn, or back kick. Back kick has been the most challenging for me. I practice that in the pool often.
     
  4. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
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    Frog kicks (and modified) are often taught in all agencies. It depends on the instructor. Obviously if you start with a DIR agency, you definitely will.

    SSI does introduce backfinning in their buoyancy course. As I said earlier, SDI/NAUI allows/encourages instructors to add requirements to their courses that are appropriate. In PADI, an instructor can teach you those kicks, just can't require that you are proficient at it.

    Honestly, at this point, I would suggest taking UTD Essentials or GUE fundamentals. From what you describe, those offerings from those agencies will give you the skills that I sense that you looking to master. That's what I wish I did after I took open water. It would have saved me A LOT of money in training and equipment.
     
  5. Dubious

    Dubious ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I am sure someone else will chime in on this part of your question. I think this is where a dive orientation is helpful when diving new spots. The divemaster/local can give you tips and tricks. They can tell you what to watch out for. They can read the water and show you what to look for so you know if it is even safe to enter the water. I haven't done any ocean shore dives, but I grew up swimming in Lake Michigan. We were taught about the permanent currents and variable currents. We knew when it was unsafe to enter the water. As I write this, I don't know what my parents were thinking...
     
  6. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    4,599
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    Not sure what you mean by '"adjusting" dive planning'.

    Do you mean adjusting your heading to compensate for the current?
     
  7. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
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    I agree but like many other things what should be is not the case. I quite often see and hear of those that can not do the kick cycle thing or is inconsistant with it and they are just passed. I dont have much problem with that depending on why they are learning diving to begin with. The most valued part i have observed and others have is that when you do the AOW nav things the value comes form discovering what you can not do well as opposed to what you can do . The real mastering comes long after the course. I like the idea of laying a line and doing the run. In that spirit I have not seen a dive dedicated training facility with an installed tools for the specific purpose of establishing ones kick distance. I work with many new divers that want to do navigation and distance is the toughest thing to feel good about being able to do. You may think you have been true on your intended course but when you miss your target at what point do you stop and say I THINK I MAY HAVE GONE TOO FAR OR THE WRONG DIRECTION. I am going to incorporate a measured (say 100 ft) line them to use. I think that would be a very valuable way to cement in the concept of distance traveled vs expected distance to the next way point. the use of trig (for those that can do it) to navigate with is impossible to use with out a close distance to work with as a means of check and ballance.

    As part of being part of OW training nav techniques may be a bit overloading at that point. However a non course half hour given to the concepts is worthy. that way they have an idea and a method to work with after completion of OW course AOW has a gigantic opportunity to put valuable things in the course that is needed for the majority of divers that will go no further in training. Unfortunately their objective is to introduce , not master skills for the purpose is selling another course. The last person I worked with on basics of navigation said that when done it was the most satisfying feeling to (in their view) to master something. what they MASTERED?? was reliable compass usage to nav with out using lines to follow. That was direction control only that was mastered. a far cry of mastering nav, However,,,, to them it was a major milestone to motivate working on other aspects. Motivation to learning in courses is often limited to the purpose of promoting more formal training that costs and discourages further training..
     
    Altamira likes this.
  8. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
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    I prefer timing rather than kick cycles in underwater navigation because distractions can cause me to more easily lose track of kick cycles, whereas the clock will continue ticking, assuming I have set my dive watch correctly and note start time. As in kick cycles, timing also requires knowledge of how long it takes you to go a specific distance at your normal swimming speed. It also helps if you can maintain a fairly constant swim speed, and that will come with diving experience and time. Personally, I find the harder part of navigation is dealing with currents where I have to estimate how much offset correction I need to make for cross currents and increase/decrease of swim time for head/tail currents. One thing is certain, no matter what techniques you use, the more you practice, the better you will become at navigation.
     
  9. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    4,599
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    Oh, here's a tip for also in no current. If you are following a fairly strict heading, your compass will bounce around a bit. Try to compensate for that, so if you go +5 degrees for a bit, go -5 degrees for about the same amount of time.

    Figuring out how to compensate for current is really hard. If anyone has suggestions, my ears are open as well, as maybe someone has an idea that is better than my adjusting based on feel which admittedly is quite vague (and therefore inaccurate).
     
    sonofzell likes this.
  10. rduquesnoy

    rduquesnoy Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Netherlands
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    I also prefer timing. In the Netherlands vis is usually no more than 5 meter (most of the time even less) so navigation is an important part of your training.

    Most divers tend to swim faster on the way back so that's something I take into account. Also certain reference points (rocks, logs, other subjects) + depth may help. I only check my compass every now and then to make sure I am still heading in the right direction. Practice makes perfect :).
     
    sonofzell and Wathdoc like this.

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