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A Beginners Guide to Tech Diver Jargon



Tech Diver

Tech DiverSo, you have decided to be a tech diver. You have picked your instructor with great care and you feel confident about your future.  Now all you’ve got to do is pop down your local dive centre and get yourself some shiny new kit. How hard can that be?

Well you are faced with a few problems. If you are heading down the rebreather path, 90% of dive retail staff will spend an hour telling you what an idiot you are, can they have an invite to your funeral, “my Grandad wore a rebreather in the war putting bombs on Jerry boats”, etc, etc, blah, blah.

If you are going down the open circuit route those same staff will tell you what a pile of bollocks tech is quoting such memorable lines as “I went to 60 metres on a single ten in Sharm last year,” “All that planning and f**king about for a 60 minute dive, I went to Wraysbury last week and did 62 minutes on a single ten!”

And a lot of the time whether you are CCR or OC the shop geezer has no idea what the fook you are on about when you ask for specialised equipment anyway.

OK, so I’m exaggerating just a little bit. Or am I?

Tech DiverSeriously though, more and more dive shops are embracing tech and will have more than a basic knowledge of as technical divers requirements. They will also look after you and give you the guarantee that if the kit is not up to the job they will replace or fix it. A lot of stores will actually help you build your kit, and these are the primary reasons I buy most of my kit in stores rather than the Internet. I’m sure you’ll all agree that buying recreational gear is hard enough without some serious advice and help from the shop dude……so just imagine tech!

In this article, let’s have a serious laugh at all the technical equipment names and what they actually refer to so we can impress the person behind the counter (or know when he or she is pulling a fast one).

  • Twinset with manifold with wide bands – two tanks stuck together with really fat (and I mean ‘PH’ PHAT stainless steel bands) with a knob in the middle to turn one side off (kind of).
  • Back Gas – Normally this refers to the twinset or actually the gas carried in it.
  • Environmentally sealed, balanced adjustable regulators for back gas – high quality regulators for the twinset. Shiny new regs compliment the wing. Very techy! You will need two sets, one primary and one backup. It’s all about redundancy. You don’t need an octopus on each set though! And you only need one gauge.
  • Long hose – this is a 2 metre hose for the primary regulator. You’ll need a P-Clip attached to this hose so refer to P-Clips further down.
  • Short Hose – this is the backup regulator that is worn around the neck by means of a bungee tied around the mouthpiece.
  • O2 Regs – regulators that are Oxygen clean so they don’t blow the back of the boat off when you turn them on (Running O2 through a dirty regulator can have catastrophic results). Unfortunately, in Europe they will probably come with a nice new M26 thread instead of standard DIN attachment. This thread is F’ing useless as it presumes that all divers are idiots and can’t manage to put the O2 regulator on the O2 tank. Typical Brussels and all it’s bollocks. Get a standard DIN if you can and f**k Europe and its directives!!
  • Wing – a flying SMB? No, it’s a BCD that only inflates behind the diver, like a wing. Wild, eh? Wings have better buoyancy control, nice and flat and clean, less drag, and Jedi looks. BCD’s are soo betamax! They come in single or double bladder. This means that you have a primary inflator on a single and a primary and backup inflator on a double. Again it’s all about redundancy. The regulators on the twinset feed both inflators. You do not need a double bladder wing if you dive drysuit, as the drysuit is your buoyancy backup in the event of a wing failure.
  • Plate – A Stainless Steel, Aluminium, Polycarbonate or even Titanium plate to which the twinset is attached. The reason we use a plate is to provide rigidity for the diver.
  • Harness – This is webbing and D Rings attached to the plate. There are many different styles of harness available but they all do the same job, they just have different features. The beauty of having a wing, plate and harness is that there is no clutter around the diver making him or her very streamlined.
  • Umbilical lights – This is a canister light with an umbilical wire that leads to the light head. If you are serious about diving, this is the style of light for you. Available in HID or LED. LED is now the standard as the bulb has an incredibly long lifespan and is highly shock resistant unlike the HID light, which is quite fragile and immensely expensive to replace. The design allows a small light head to be worn on the hand and still allow the hand to be free to work (unlike a standard hand held torch). These are good for tech, good for rec.
  • Red Bag – Red SMB (Surface Marker Buoy). Using one of these properly will make you a better recreational diver as well.
  • Yellow Bag – You guessed it but this time it’s yellow.
  • Dry Bag – This is not a dry SMB, but a drysuit. Must be black otherwise you’re not going to be recognised as being serious. Will keep you warm, so you can dive year round, and you will be amazed at the buoyancy and trim you will achieve in a drysuit.
  • Gators – Nothing to do with big crocodile type animals found in the Everglades. Gators are much like climbing gators; they stop the material on the calves flapping about. For a diver, this means we are streamlined and also, you don’t have to wear ankle weights, as the air simply CAN’T get to your feet. I reckon that 90% of divers using ankle weights in drysuits can benefit using gators and heavier fins.
  • Jets – Lovely small bladed rubber fins that will allow you to frog kick, helicopter turn and reverse fin with ease. Perfect for tight overhead environments. I wear them, but I can do all of these fin kicks in Mares Quattros so don’t get too carried away. Split fins will NOT cut it I’m afraid. Get some duck tape out and put them back together how they were meant to be, instead of that manufacturing defect that they have convinced us is an enhancement.
  • Reel – A pile of string on a spool with a handle. Some are awesome; most are suicidal in the wrong hands.
  • Spool – A pile of string on a spool with NO handle.
  • Z-knife – This is a plastic frame that holds a razor blade in a preformed C- section. Z knives are used for cutting while pulling.
  • Depth Timer – A digital depth and dive timer.
  • Multi Gas Switchable Dive Computer – This is a computer that can handle the rigours of mixed gas diving. Suunto, Scubapro, Hollis etc all make multi gas computers. Most modern dive computers will allow you to select and switch two different gases while underwater; perhaps you are already wearing one? However, there are many machines available now that are able to store and switch many different gases. These computers can handle Air, Nitrox and Trimix and can even bounce between Open and Closed Circuit. A Multi gas computer is fast becoming standard equipment for tech divers.
  • P Clip – get that shit clipped away…. When the shit hits the fan, you know where it is. A P-clip is like the clip you would use to clip (a gated clip with a swivel) a leash to a dog collar but bigger and of higher quality. They come in many different styles and we use them primarily to secure the primary regulator when not in use and also the SPG. Stainless Steel is the choice for most tech divers as brass clips ‘gum up’ quite quickly. Plus – Brass rhymes with arse.
  • Double ended P Clip – Same as above but two gates and no swivels. Used on stage bottles, reels, spools and we generally have one attached to our kit for emergency use if another clip were to break.
  • Snorkel – I am still trying to work out how to breathe through this appendage underwater. If anyone has any clues, I am willing to try, but in my experience the only thing it’s good for is getting alcohol into your mouth really quickly, whilst being laughed at by all your friends. If you want to have a laugh, take one of these in a cave programme.

Tech DiverTech DiverNow you have a basic idea of some technical jargon. Hopefully you have got the idea that tech is really not that complicated. I believe that most divers are put off doing tech training as we make it out to be so complicated and dangerous. It isn’t! Maybe it was once but now things have moved on and most people can actually participate.

For those techies reading this, I have written it with a recreational diver in mind. I want divers to come over to the dark side and have a go. We all know that once you get to the dark side, we normally find it’s really sunny.

Paul is the Director of Training at RAID. To find out more about the courses that RAID offers, visit




After living in South Africa for 23 years, Paul moved to the UK, where he discovered diving. Within months of learning to dive he had his own centre in London and rapidly progressed to Course Director before finding his passion for technical diving. Paul is an avid wreck, cave and rebreather diver, and has worked as an Instructor and Instructor Trainer for PADI, IANTD, and TDI. Paul recently held the position of Director of Technical Training for SSI, but moved on when he was offered the chance to co-own and run his own training agency. Paul now holds the role of Director of Diver Training at RAID International.


Book Release: Diving the Thistlegorm – The Ultimate Guide to a World War II Shipwreck



Diving the Thistlegorm is a unique in-depth look at one of the world’s best-loved shipwrecks. In this highly visual guide, cutting edge photographic methods enable views of the wreck and its fascinating cargo which were previously impossible.

This book is the culmination of decades of experience, archaeological and photographic expertise, many hours underwater, months of computer processing time, and days spent researching and verifying the history of the ship and its cargo. For the first time, Diving the Thistlegorm brings the rich and complex contents of the wreck together, identifying individual items and illustrating where they can be found. As the expert team behind the underwater photography, reconstructions and explanations take you through the wreck in incredible detail, you will discover not only what has been learned but also what mysteries are still to be solved.

Find out more about:

  • One of the world’s greatest dives.
  • Incredible ‘photogrammetry’ shows the wreck and cargo in a whole new light.
  • Meticulous detail presented in a readable style by experts in their respective fields.

About the authors:

Simon Brown is an underwater photographer and photogrammetry/3D expert who has documented underwater subjects for a wide range of clients including Historic England, Wessex Archaeology and television companies such as National Geographic Channel and Discovery Canada. Jon Henderson is Reader in Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh where he is the Director of the Underwater Archaeology Research Centre. With specific research interests in submerged prehistoric settlements and developing underwater survey techniques, he has directed underwater projects in the UK, Poland, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Jamaica and Malaysia. Alex Mustard is a former marine biologist and award-winning underwater photographer. In 2018 he was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for “Services to underwater photography”. Mike Postons pioneered the use of digital 3D modelling to visualise shipwrecks, as well as the processes of reconstructing original ships from historic plans. He has worked with a number of organisations including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Historic England and the Nautical Archaeological Society.

About the book:

  • Release date 25 November 2020
  • Limited run of Hardbacks
  • RRP £35
  • ISBN 978-1-909455-37-5
  • 240 photo-packed pages
  • 240 x 160 mm

Available to pre-order now from, Amazon, online, and from retailers.

Check back on for a review of the book coming soon!

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Deptherapy’s Dr Richard Cullen becomes a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society



Dr Richard Cullen, Chairman of Scuba Diving Rehabilitation Charity Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education, has been recognised as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society is a prestigious Fellowship that is open to those who demonstrate a sufficient involvement in geography or an allied subject through publications, research or professional experience.

Paul Rose, Deptherapy’s Vice Chair, and a world renowned explorer, author, broadcaster, who is a former Vice Chair of the RGS said: 

“This is a huge achievement by Richard. His Fellowship is richly deserved, and a direct result of his steadfast commitment to preserving our oceans through Deptherapy’s very powerful ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ Programme.  I know the top team at the RGS are looking forward to welcoming Richard into the Society.”

The RGS was founded in 1830 to advance geographical research, education, fieldwork and expeditions, as well as by advocating on behalf of the discipline and promoting geography to public audiences.

Paul Toomer, President of RAID, said:

“I have been close friends with Richard for many years and his passion for our seas, even at 70 years of age, is undiminished.  Deptherapy are the world leaders in adaptive scuba diving teaching and are our much valued partners.  Taking UK Armed Forces Veterans who have suffered life changing mental and/or physical challenges and engaging them in major marine biology expeditions, is to most of us beyond the realms of possibility.  The skills these guys have to develop is just awesome.  This is a great honour for Richard, a great honour for Deptherapy, and also for us as their partners.  The diving world must come together to celebrate and acknowledge Richard’s achievement.”

Richard joins some distinguished Fellows of the RGS.  Former Fellows include Ernest Shackleton and many other notable explorers and geographers.

Richard said:

“I am both honoured and humbled to become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. When I was invited to apply for a Fellowship, I was, which is very unusual for me, lost for words.  I hope it will allow me to take our message of Protecting Our Oceans to a larger audience and to further develop our programmes.  The Fellowship is a recognition of the charity’s work to raise awareness of the plight of our oceans.  The credit belongs to a group of individuals who have overcome massive challenges to let alone qualify as divers but now to progress to marine biology expedition diving”.

For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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