RAID is proud to announce the update of the RAID Sidemount Diver and Instructor programs. Sidemount, although invented for cave diving, has become a mainstream recreational and technical equipment configuration. It allows for longer dives and provides the diver with an increased level of redundancy due to carrying two independent cylinders.
The program may be combined with other RAID programs to ‘tailor make’ a program based on student needs and aspirations. This means Sidemount may be combined with Open Water 20, or with a technical, wreck or cave program. The only requirements are that all prerequisites have been met and that the hours and minimum standards for both courses have been met and adhered to
RAID decided that not only did the manuals need a revamp in terms of material content, but they also needed to be more universal and more flexible. When RAID released the original sidemount program it was incredibly well received in the market place. There are many sidemount courses available, but the updated RAID Sidemount program introduces the latest diving, teaching and equipment technologies and philosophies. The Sidemount program is aimed at the both the recreational and technical market.
The Sidemount program overview is as follows.
- Divers may dive to their maximum current certification depth but may not exceed a maximum depth of 40 metres/130 feet.
- Two correctly configured sidemount cylinders.
- Air, nitrox, oxygen and trimix (where applicable)
- The END/EAD for trimix must not exceed 30 metres/100 feet.
- The PO2 of any gas used may not exceed 1.4.
Divers may only complete no decompression dives.
The rule of thirds (or sixths where appropriate) must be strictly observed when managing gas.
THE RAID SIDEMOUNT COURSE IS A NOT A DECOMPRESSION OR OVERHEAD PROGRAM.
There are two manuals – Equipment and In-Water (Confined and Open Water combined), three quizzes and an exam.
The in-water manual has a cover sheet directing customers towards the Open Water manual. This enables their quality assurance system to ask questions specific to both environments. All the manuals, quizzes, skills and quality assurance have been updated to follow new equipment designs and new training and diving ideologies. The equipment manual discusses all the equipment needed to safely use sidemount systems. The manual has been designed to be flexible and allow the instructor the opportunity to modify the equipment so that it works best for the training environment.
There is a minimum of 1 confined water skill session and 2 open water dives.
The minimum in water time is 1 hour in confined and 3 hours in open water.
The standards have been updated and have been moved from the manuals into the Raid General Diving Standards.
The Sidemount Instructor program has been updated, as have all the components of the program.
Instructors will enjoy many features of the new program. It is extremely flexible and allows instructors to complete the skills when they feel their students are ready. The standards are easy to follow and easy to apply. Simply stated, as long as all the confined water skills are completed, in the minimum time, then students may move to open water.
Students and instructors will also find that we have now added objectives, value statements and ‘how it’s done’ steps to each of the skills in the in-water manual.
- Having a measurable objective provides the instructor and the student diver with an exact description of what must be achieved when mastering the skill.
- The value statement provides a valid reason for why the skill needs to be completed.
- The ‘how it’s done’ steps provide a basic overview of how the skill is completed. It must be noted that this is simply a guideline as students may need to be shown many different ways to master the objective. This is, of course, a vital role of the instructor.
The Equipment manual is not dedicated to one style of sidemount diving. This allows a more international feel to the manual and allows instructors to use either Floridian or Mexican sidemount philosophies or slight modifications thereof.
Finally, the program can be combined with other programs to ‘tailor make’ a program based on student needs and aspirations. This means Sidemount may be combined with Open Water 20, or with a technical, wreck or cave program. The only requirements are that all prerequisites have been met and that the hours and minimum standards for both courses have been met and adhered to.
Will any current students be affected?
Any students currently participating the Sidemount course will find a new set of manuals within their online login. Any questions relating to parts of the previous program have now been removed or updated, however, the basics of sidemount diving has not been reinvented, so the transition from the old to the new program should be seamless and simple.
These changes will not affect any students who have already passed a particular quiz or exam.
All RAID Sidemount divers and instructors, whether past or present, will have received the latest manuals, as with any RAID course that is updated.
Becoming a Sidemount Instructor
To become a Sidemount Instructor you need to do the Sidemount Diver course first. Then contact an Instructor Trainer (or higher) who has Sidemount. There will be a theory session on how to teach the course and a practical session on Instructor quality skills and demonstrations.
If you have any questions please contact the RAID UK & MALTA office.