Introduction to Diving Problem Solving Skills

Diving is a safe sport if you follow the rules, avoid taking unnecessary risks, and always dive with a buddy. But that does not mean you will never encounter difficulties during a dive. Learning how to anticipate and solve problems is part of becoming an accomplished diver.

Anticipating Equipment Problems

It is rare that equipment fails during a dive, but you should nevertheless take great care when assembling, storing, and servicing your gear. After all, this is what keeps you alive underwater, so it is worth spending time and money on keeping it in perfect working order.

Consider “what if” situations ahead of a dive, and think through how you will deal with the failure of any element of your gear. Do you have a spare if your buddy is not close by? Your regulator should always have an octopus second stage, to use as a backup in case your main second stage fails.

Free and Buoyant Ascents

If you run out of air, locate your buddy and follow the procedure below: If you cannot find your buddy, you will need to make a rapid “free ascent” by finning to the surface. This can be aided by ditching your weights, but be ready for a sudden increase in buoyancy. Breathe out slowly during ascent to prevent lung expansion injury. If, however, you have a little air left, you can make a more controlled “buoyant ascent.” Let some air into your BC to kick-start your ascent, and tilt your head back to watch for the surface. Again, breathe out during the ascent, control your ascent rate by venting air from the BC, but not so much that you lose buoyancy. Do not rise any faster than your exhaled bubbles. At the surface, signal to boat cover immediately. If there is no boat, swim to the shore. Your buddy will need to be found and, as you have ascended without safety stops, you will need to be monitored for DCS.

Making Emergency Lifts

If your buddy is unconscious or injured, keep their regulator in their mouth and perform a buoyant lift to get them to the surface. This means holding on to your buddy’s harness as you ascend, using their BC to adjust buoyancy for both of you. Alert any boat cover once at the surface. If your buddy is not breathing, artificial ventilation (AV) may be needed until medical help arrives. If there is no cover, or if you are close to shore, you may decide to tow your buddy to safety. Both towing and AV require special training; if your dive training did not cover them, a life-saving course is recommended.

Overcoming Panic

If you feel panic coming on, alert your buddy, stop moving, and steady your breathing. If your buddy panics, reassure them with hand signals but observe them from a safe distance, since a flailing arm can knock your regulator from your mouth or injure you. When they have calmed down, hold their hand or arm, make sure their regulator stays in place, and remain close until normal breathing resumes.

Go Pro Diver?

As a PADI MSDT and former dive center owner, I have seen many that have gone on to the pro diver ranks and become working divemaster or instructors. I have also seen where divers have gone down the path to become employable as a divemaster or instructor and had very little luck in finding work that would sustain them financially for any length of time. Do you really want to keep on subsidizing your diving career?

So what are the things that you can do to make it so that if you do go down the pro diver path and get all of the safety and dive certifications needed to qualify as pro diver, that you find meaningful work in the dive industry.

I would say that the number one thing is don’t stop at divemaster! The reason is simple; there are more dive masters than there are instructors. Dive instructors can work as dive masters but not the other way around, so a dive center when given the chance to hire a divemaster or an instructor, if they have one slot, they will take the instructor more times than not. The exception would be dive masters that have lots of local experience, might get the nod over a brand new instructor. There is a saying around the dive industry that you can never have too much lead or too many instructors.

Look on the scuba diving boards and see what jobs are being offered and what jobs are being sought, and then look at what are the additional qualifications that are being required.

As a general rule the more languages that you speak, especially if you are in big backpacker scuba destinations like Koh Tao, Bali or Sihanoukville, the higher the likelihood that you will get picked up by a dive center to work for them. Popular languages like Japanese, French, German and certainly English if that is not your mother tongue, are always in demand. If you are fluent in more than one language, increases even more your chances.

Equipment and Compressor repair. Having a dive live aboard and having some one that can repair equipment on staff, can be a huge relief for the boat owner. As a general rule, people who know how to fix equipment usually know how to prevent problems. They understand the importance of maintenance, and are not intimidated by machinery.

Develop a relationship with a dive center. If you have lots of time around a dive center they have a known quantity in you, they know that you know the local dive sites, they know how good of a diver you are, and that you are familiar with the dive centers operations.

Each dive center is a little bit different and having someone that already knows the system makes you easier to train. In Hawaii, before I jumped into diving full time, I use to get phone calls asking me if I could come in and lead divers when they would be short staff. They knew that I had a regular job, but I let them know that I was always available if they needed some coverage. I was lucky in that my regular job it did not matter if I took days off as long as I gave them 24 hours notice.

Get jobs selling dive equipment, even part time, nobody really likes to do it but dive centers love people that have sales experience, even more so if it is selling dive gear! Guess what dive shop owners spend a lot of time on? That’s right, buying and selling dive equipment.

Underwater Navigation Tips and Techniques

It is simple to end up being dizzy in bad exposure, yet great navigating abilities will certainly aid you locate your means, also when problems are versus you. On initial getting in the water, make psychological notes of the bordering attribute such as uncommon rocks, reefs, or your setting on an accident website. At every transforming factor, note neighboring functions and also which instructions you transformed in relationship to them Look at the seabed geology, also: rocks frequently have functions or reveal strata that make remarkable aesthetic pens.

It is very easy to end up being dizzy in bad exposure, yet great navigating abilities will certainly assist you discover your means, also when problems are versus you. On very first going into the water, make psychological notes of the bordering function such as uncommon rocks, coral reefs, or your setting on a wreckage website. At every transforming factor, note close-by functions as well as which instructions you transformed in connection to them Look at the seabed geology, as well: rocks frequently have functions or reveal strata that make remarkable aesthetic pens. Also if you can not really feel the existing, you can locate aesthetic ideas to its instructions.