What I did wrong on my Dive Sunday in WPB.

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Missed and loved by many.
Rest in Peace
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Woodinville, WA
Yes, I've been laughed at for bringing jackets or boat coats on tropical boats . . . But having something windproof to protect you between dives is a big factor in staying warm.


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Concord, CA
# of dives
500 - 999
What TSandM said is 100% correct - be assertive so you fully understand what's going on and what to expect. It's really hard at the beginning, you feel like everyone else knows more than you and you don't want to look like the new guy. Don't worry about it! There's always something to learn and you simply need to ask - Divers are great people (in general) and they will help you.

Hang in there, dive more :), and perhaps take an AOW class when you feel like it's time.


Scuba Instructor
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"Ok first mistake I made.Not enough weight I had to little weight and fought like crazy to sink.
So next time either I make sure I have enough weight or don't be afraid to ask for more weight."

A technique (not the only one for sure) is to blow every bit of air out of your lungs with your reg in your mouth and dive down head first. This is the way people used to be taught to dive, and it still works if you are comfortable and can clear your ears upside down. Once you get below the first 15 or so feet your suit will crush and you'll be fine typically unless you are WAY too light. Also, press the deflation button on your BC and hold it, and suck all the extra air out. Recreational style BCs love to hold air in weird spots so if you suck it out you may be less buoyant.

"Now time for me to head up wanted to make a safety stop at 15 feet.Nope I go to hit the button to let some air out of BC instead I inflate bc and shot up to the top like a bat out of hell.
again mistakes like these can become problems if I don't get my act together."

A way (again, not the only way) to avoid this is to let all the air out of your BC before you start your ascent, and simply swim up. If you have trouble swimming up with no air in your bc, then you are overweighted. Most people (myself included) agree that you should be able to swim your rig up with no air in it.

Dude, just be patient. Diving is a lot like dancing, copulation, camping, and many other things. The more you do it, the better you get. Remember man, if it were super easy, it wouldn't be any fun because the ocean would be too crowded :wink:
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Spring Hill Florida
# of dives
25 - 49
Hello everyone sorry it took so long to get back to this thread.
I wish I had more time to thank each and everyone for posting a reply.

I can honestly say diving is a learning experience every time I go down but what I enjoy is the chance to learn more when I have the time to talk to all of you on the board.

this is truly a great site for us new divers to ask questions and learn.
so again before I forget thanks again to everyone for their help and suggestions.

Don't beat yourself up too much. Every diver on this board has had problems with their first few dives. You are learning. And now you know what you must learn more about. You consumed your gas too quickly! Yes, but you were excited. Slow down and with experience your gas consumption will come down. Good Luck and keep diving. OFTEN!

My problem is I set a high standard and even though I am a new diver I am always going to be the first to critique myself :)

Sorry that your dive didnt go as planned. At least you have the right attitude about it. None of us are perfect.

Just a suggestion, you may want to try some lake, river diving. This would be more convienent and cheaper too. You can hone your skills there, and then ocean diving will seem easy, by comparison.

Keep learning.

I do plan on making some dives soon at rainbow river I would like to practice a few things before I make another boat trip.

@John B: Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It sounds like you had a really good learning experience. I'll address just 2 points and I'll let others address the others.
First of all, there could be several reasons why you had difficulty with your initial descent. You were in a wetsuit. It's possible that your suit was trapping air, making you more buoyant at the beginning of the dive. It's possible that you were unknowingly kicking up -- this is why some novice divers are asked to cross their legs during descent. It's possible that you weren't exhaling fully -- due to nervousness. It's possible that you didn't vent all of the air out of your BCD -- this can happen if you're unfamiliar with the gear. Of course, it's also possible that you didn't have enough weight. :D As others will explain, if you're properly weighted at the beginning of your dive, once you exhaust all of the air out of your BCD, you will be negatively buoyant by the weight of your gas. If you were diving an AL80, that means you should be about 6 lbs. negatively buoyant. That's definitely enough to make initiating the descent very easy. If it's not coming easily, then something is wrong. Since you didn't mention feeling "light" at the end of your dive with an empty tank, I suspect that you might have been wearing enough lead. Do a proper weight check to determine your weighting requirements.

Secondly, the Venturi adjustment knob really shouldn't affect your air consumption in any significant way. Even if left in the pre-dive (-) position, your reg should deliver plenty of gas at depth. If you're interested, you can read up on how Venturi adjustment knobs work (redirecting the flow of gas through the second stage by repositioning a vane) and how they differ from inhalation adjustment (cracking pressure) knobs. Most reg manufacturers suggest positioning the Venturi knob to the "-" sign pre-dive and the "+" sign during the dive. Depending on how the reg is adjusted, you may or may not detect much of a breathing difference.

Have fun and dive safe.

Thanks for the information on the venturi knob I really thought by turning it more to the + I was using more air.I can remember driving back to Tampa thinking what a dumb a$$ for turning the knob to much.I also like the suggestion about crossing the legs on the descent


Your a new diver and made new diver mistakes. This shouldn't be a surprise to you or anyone else.

I suggest you print out your post, and make a few copies, One for the refrigerator, since some of the lessons like prior planning, and making check lists apply to other things besides diving. While you're at it make a list of required dive gear, and stick it with your BC or regs, along with one of the copies of the post.

One place you think you erred, was in thinking you erred with the flow control on your regs. The
adjustment is mainly to fine tune the cracking pressure to prevent free flows at the surface, while allowing easier breathing during the dive. Regardless of the setting it has nothing to do with your air consumption which is controlled by your breathing pattern. You used up your air because you're a new diver and were also using more air because of the hardships you were encountering.

Lastly, while it's good to learn from ones mistakes and you should definitely reread this post before your next dive, the flip side is that you don't want to work yourself into a frenzy over it. You have to get comfortable with yourself, and somehow stay focused and relaxed at the same time, so as to enjoy your dives.

You'll repeat some of these mistakes and think up some creative new ones, that's just part of the growing process, but they'll become fewer and farther in between.

Years ago someone told me that wisdom is the ability to recognize dogs*** when you step in it,....again.

I already printed this post out,have looked it over a few times since my dive.

John, I'm sorry your dive probably wasn't as enjoyable as you hoped for (although it sounds like you still did enjoy it due to the shark), but you have an excellent attitude as far as your mistakes go by being able to objectively analyze what went wrong, what you could have done better, and sharing it with us. Plenty of good advice has already been given on this thread, so I can't offer much, but I would like to point out that while you may not have enjoyed this dive that much, you learned a great deal from it and for that reason it's probably good that you had the experiences that you did.

We don't learn from the dives that went great; we learn from the dives that went wrong.

Two things.first seeing the shark made my dive.2nd I like what you said about not learning from great dives but learning from dives that went wrong.100% truth there.

"Small steps"... Maybe for the next dive, particularly if your buddy doesn't have a conflicting agenda (find one that doesn't), concentrate on proper weighting, buoyancy at depth and controlling your breathing.

Buoyancy at depth is critical to air consumption. If you can hover just off the bottom, you won't have to struggle and waste a bunch of air swimming up off the bottom all the time. If you are properly balanced, you won't be swimming in a heads up orientation.

Forcibly reduce your motion, hover and relax. If you get that right, the rest of diving is easy.

my intention on this dive was to practice the things you mentioned above but seems like from the get go my game plan went south.

I have dove with Sandy's a few times and I think they are really great. However, I think all "cattle boats" breed nervousness. I typically dive on my own boat and have hundreds of dives. When I occasionally dive on a cattle boat it seems to get a little hectic.
I think you should have made it a point to explain your experience level to the captain and tried to get paired up with a buddy.
I have seen the crew of Sandy's take a few new divers under their wing and help them have an enjoyable dive.
That being said, there may be boats that are a little better suited to your experience level. I think the boats going out of Boynton Beach (Underwater explorers) would be good. They also dive a little shallower water.
It is unlikely you will find a boat in the Palm Beach area without lobster hunters this time of year.

Sounds like you learned some valuable lessons and got a little more experience.

I did explain that I was a newer diver,It was me that choose the early dive since I was driving back to Tampa.I honestly didn't realize the boat would be 3/4 full with lobster hunters.

Other people have covered the specifics, like the fact that your Venturi control doesn't affect your gas consumption, and that technique may have impacted both your ability to descend and your gas consumption rate.

What I want to mention is something I think is very difficult for new divers (at least it was for me), and that is assertiveness. It's perfectly okay to be new. And it's okay to ask the DM, "Hey, I understand about the boat stuff, but what's this site like? What are the depths? What's the structure and the navigation?" Now, of course, they are SUPPOSED to tell you those things without you asking, but if you don't feel you have enough information to start the dive with confidence, ASK! It's the same with the buddy system. If you want a buddy, and none has been identified for you, ASK. It may be that no one wants to buddy up with you, because they are all hunting, in which case the DM ought to offer to have you dive with him.

One of the big lessons you should have gotten from your OW instructor is that, as a certified diver, you are responsible for your own dive. That means you don't take your lead from other divers who are doing things you mistrust or disapprove of. It means you are proactive in obtaining enough information to dive safely (or to make the decision that this dive is not for you). It means you do safety checks, even when people are annoyed with you for doing them. It's VERY hard to resist the pressure to go with the crowd, but good habits are built day by day, and the best time to start developing them is from the very beginning.

In addition to the helpful comments above, I'd like to add a suggestion that you join a local dive club, so you can go diving with experienced divers willing to share the benefit of their experience with you.

You obviously have the best possible attitude for learning to be an excellent diver. You KNOW that you don't know everything (that alone puts you head and shoulders above most folks) and you are willing to critique yourself. Surely, you'll get much, much better - and fairly rapidly, too.

Go dive!!
I like the idea about joining a dive club problem is I live on the west coast Tampa area and from what I've been told not much good diving in the Gulf.


Hello, I was actually on this trip with you. My dive buddy and I were also in your group with Todd, he is the instructor that was leading our little group. My friend was completing his check out dives and the four of us plus one other kid were all diving together. I was sitting there when we were given the boat briefing, and also remember Todd telling us about staying together, monitoring our air, and that when one of us hit 800 psi that we would all head up. I also remember Sandy asking you if you had a safety sausage, then Matt bringing you one and giving it to you, maybe you missed something then?? I'm not sure of what else was said then, I returned to putting my gear together. Anyway, I also just wanted to mention that you shouldn't be afraid to ask questions or speak up. As far as the hunters goes, there were four that we dropped completely away from us on the back side of the reef. I know this charter very well, I've dove with them a couple years now and they are great about looking after thier divers, and will go out of thier way to make sure everyone is SAFE and happy. You shouldn't worry about interferring with somebody's dive, just speak up...besides you were with a dive instructor, use that oppurtunity to ask questions and get thier advice, it's free!!

Two divers Kim and Chris also talked about skipping the second dive because of the cold...the water was much warmer than the air that is for sure. I thought that is why you didn't join us for the second dive also? But don't worry to much, I had the same issues when I was a newer diver, each dive though I got more confidence and felt more comfortable. When in doubt carry a extra pound or two, it doesnt hurt as much to be slightly over weighted then to be under weighted. I've had dives I've forgot my weights, one that I fought my bouyancy the whole time because I had all my weights on one side of my body?? It happens, but just take your time, relax and remain calm, you'll find you can learn each dive something to make you a better diver.

Hope you have some great diving experiences in the future and warmer conditions to do them in. Good Luck

yes I remember you and your dive buddy,I didn't want to hang around because I felt you all were doing a course or something and felt I would be in the way.as for the charter don't get me wrong I never said there is anything bad with it I just felt it wasn't right for me being a new diver.
I dove in the keys and on that charter we had 12 divers all went down along with a divemaster not once did I feel like I was in a panic mood
as for Matt I though he was going to be my dive buddy until I watched him go off lobster hunting with some lady.and the other dive guild waited for me to descend down then he was off hunting lobster.
as far as us all going up well when I hit 800psi I was the only one heading up.as for the 2nd dive Yes I was cold and freezing also not feeling good about possilbilty of diving alone again.

again like i said nothing wrong with the charter it's just I didn't feel good on this dive trip felt like I was on my own.all and all it was a learning experience for me and I will always strive to learn more and get better on every day.

to all that responded thanks again.

John B


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Odessa, FL
# of dives
200 - 499
I like the idea about joining a dive club problem is I live on the west coast Tampa area and from what I've been told not much good diving in the Gulf.

John B

You may want to check out the Greater Tampa Bay area section of Scubaboard under Regional Forums: Florida Conch Divers. There's quite a few active divers in the Tampa area who can point you in the right direction regarding places to dive and people to dive with. There's a wide variety of folks and interests, from saltwater to spearfishing to springs and lakes and even a few of us who inhabit the dark side :)



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Phoenix, AZ
# of dives
500 - 999
Hey John B,

Ah the memories. Wait until you descend with your snorkle in your mouth instead of your second stage. (Who me?) You do the old snorkle/reg switching drill really fast. The best thing you can do to improve your diving is to dive. I'm positive that there are experienced divers in your area that will be happy to dive with you. Show you ways to improve your technique. I was lucky enough to find a big group of serious divers here in the desert. We dive every weekend at one of the local lakes. Definately not balmy gin-clear waters but hey it's wet. Living in Florida? Dude, you got no excuse not to dive all the time.

Ask questions. Lots of questions. Don't be worried about asking to join a group. You'll make a lot of good friends that way. I've never met anyone who didn't want to dive with me because I was a newby. We all like to share our knowledge (why do you think SB is so popular).

It is good to debrief your dives. The ones that went perfectly as well as the ones that didn't. Write detailed accounts in your log book or elsewhere. Every dive is a learning experience. The more you dive the more comortable you'll be. You will find that your tanks last a lot longer after your 50th dive than your 10th dive because you're moving more efficiently.


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