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Why Scuba Diving with a buddy is necessary for beginners

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By: Kate Heller

Buddy diving – is it really that important as a beginner? The short answer is yes, of course. As a diver, the buddy system is extremely important and useful. Whether a diver is diving with a newly certified diver or an experienced diver, the buddy system offers plenty of benefits to both parties. The system helps a diver to practice the traits of a good buddy such as buddy checks. This system allows the divers to learn from each other, practice the concept of two being better than one, give assistance, and to share the experience. The most imperative reason for the buddy system is that a diver should never dive outside of their training. That being said, a diver looking to dive alone would need to have training and be certified as a solo diver.

Tools

A valuable tool for a new diver’s progression in their dive skills is to learn from a buddy. This can either be with a new diver like themselves or with an experienced diver. Learning from a new diver helps the pair to learn how to be a better buddy. This can be through repetitive pre-dive buddy checks or being conscious of where they are underwater in relation to their buddy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, being paired with an experienced diver helps the novice to better their underwater skills through observation. It’s possible that during their course, the novice had trouble becoming neutrally buoyant. Observing an experienced diver being neutrally buoyant underwater can help in that skill progression. Aside from learning from a buddy, the concept of two heads being better than one is also learned through the buddy system.

Navigation

Regardless of skill level, all divers will continuously run into new challenges of diving such as navigation. If a new diver were to be diving alone in visibility conditions that were less than ideal or during a night dive, navigation could become quite difficult, even with the use of compass skills. A buddy team would be able to plan ahead for various types of conditions and work through any problems they may have during the dive. A solo diver can do the same; however, for new divers or divers who are still working on bettering their skills, a buddy team allows the team to work together on challenges the encounter. Other challenges could range from a new diver being a little nervous about diving in current or losing a light during a dive. In both cases, a buddy team could work together to get through the challenge as well as learn from it. Aside from the extra set of eyes a buddy team has, there is also a level of comfort that comes with the team. The team can rely on each other and make one another feel more comfortable in the underwater environment while a solo diver must rely on their own skills that they have learned and developed over the years.

Imagine being a new diver and getting to go on a dive in California to visit the kelp forests for the first time. Now, consider some of the problems a diver could run into having never been in that kind of environment before. Problems such as entanglement could be resolved quickly with the assistance of a buddy. Even in a learning environment, a novice diver can bring up instances where the help of a buddy would be necessary.   A diver could be overwhelmed and excited about earning their open water certification and neglect to pay attention to their air consumption. In an event like this, having a buddy there would help on multiple levels. Either member of the buddy team will have had the training to consistently ask one another what their pressure is so that the emergency situation of running out of air won’t happen in the midst of all of their excitement.

Know your limit

During an open water course, or any course really, a big point that instructors should make is that a diver should not go beyond their training limits. Although there aren’t scuba police watching your every move underwater, going beyond your scope of experience can be dangerous without the proper training. This is more relevant than ever when it comes to diving without a buddy. The crucial reason for the buddy system is that a diver should never dive outside of their training. They should gain more experience and develop their skills before considering diving alone.

Not only can a buddy help with the above reasons, but diving is all about the experience and adventure. Part of that adventure and experience is being able to share it and talk about it with their buddy as well as other people. As divers, we like to look back on what we have seen and done over the years. Personally, being able to reminisce with a buddy about what we saw and experienced is part of why I continue to dive. It’s fun to talk about and plan more dive trips with my dive buddy to share more experiences and adventures underwater.

Buddy diving is a necessary tool for a diver to progress in their skills not only as a dive buddy but also in their personal skills.   They can accomplish this through diving with a more experienced buddy as well as practicing buddy diving with another novice diver and learning from each other.   Buddy diving also allows for a buddy pair to always have someone there to provide assistance if needed. With anything new or challenging in any sport or activity, two heads are better than one. The buddy system helps to build the team mentality that novice diver as well as experienced divers need if they want to progress their diving career or if they are diving in a new place. With any dive, both experienced and novice divers need to remember to stay within the scope of their training so that they minimize their risk underwater.

To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

Dive Training Blogs

My Dive Buddies Episode 3: Jimmy Gadomski’s Sunken Treasure (Watch Video)

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My Dive Buddies Episode 3: Jimmy Gadomski’s Sunken Treasure! I’ve brought in my good dive buddy Jimmy Gadomski to the dive locker to regale you with stories from his treasure hunting exploits. We’re also talking the difference between being a recreational dive boat captain and a technical dive boat captain and discussing what has gone wrong with so many near-misses/almost-accidents.

Jimmy is one of those great guys who can’t walk past a muddy puddle without wondering what is at the bottom of it. He shares his insight on how he decides if a student is ready to start tec training and how to train a dive master to run tec trips. He also makes me killer jealous with his stories of diving the wrecks of the Great Lakes – something I was supposed to also do until COVID-19 got in the way!

And as always, Jimmy faces the 10 questions we ask everybody.

Here are the timestamps:

  • Intro: 00:01
  • Jimmy’s jobs: 01:03
  • How Do You Decide If A Potential Student Is Ready For Tec? 02:15
  • Considerations for running a Tec Charter boat: 04:18
  • Service and Safety in Tec Diving: 05:47
  • What’s happening with all these near misses this summer? 06:46
  • How can the Tec Diving community identify safety concerns? 10:12
  • Show and tell! 13:51
  • Gold and silver coins: 16:36
  • Great Lakes diving: 18:52
  • 10 Questions We Ask Everybody: 20:50 Cheers! 22:48

You can connect with Jimmy on Instagram: www.instagram.com/fl_tekdiver/

I really hope you guys enjoy watching this series of videos as much as I enjoy making them or else it wouldn’t be fair!

Thanks for watching. D.S.D.O James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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Dive Training Blogs

My Dive Buddies Episode 2: Tec Clark’s 15 week OW Course! (Watch Video)

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My Dive Buddies Episode 2: Tec Clark’s 15 week OW Course! How detailed could you make an Open Water scuba diver course if you had 15 weeks to teach it?! This week, my friend and fellow content creator Tec Clark, host of The League Of Extraordinary Divers and The Dive Locker podcasts, joins me for a pint of Guinness in my dive locker and we talk Diving in Academia – something I know nothing about!

As the Associate Director of Aquatics and Scuba Diving for NOVA Southeastern University, Tec runs one of the – if not the – best academic aquatics program in the country. His Open Water Scuba Diving training runs a whole 15 week semester and his students graduate Open Water Diver with more skills and abilities than the average dive master. Is this practical in the commercial scuba diving schools? Absolutely not. But as Tec explains, what his students are able to go on and achieve in their diving careers has been truly remarkable.

I turn the tables on Tec, as the always entertaining Scuba Guru goes from Interviewer to Interviewee! I’m asking him how he deals with the enormous weight of mentoring so many Instructors that he has brought up through the ranks of scuba diving over the years and Tec faces ‘The 10 Questions We Ask Everyone!’ (Jules Verne is a real person!)

It’s a long episode. Here are the timestamps:

  • Intro: 00:01
  • Tec’s bio: 00:55
  • Diving in Academia: 04:15
  • 15 Week OW Course: 06:14
  • The difference for Tec’s Students: 08:44
  • Does Tec’s model work commercially?: 17:44
  • The performance based mind-set: 21:17
  • The difference between Tec’s training and the real world!: 24:50
  • Tec faces The 10 Questions We Ask Everybody!: 32:53
  • Instructor mentorship: 34:40
  • “Down the hatch!”: 42:48

You can connect with Tec in the following ways:

The Dive Locker Podcast (Absolutely essential listening for all dive professionals.) Here is the Episode where I am the Guest and we are talking about safely adding Technical Diving to a Recreational Dive Center: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dive-locker/id1478954976?i=1000490680401

The League Of Extraordinary Divers (Fascinating stories from prominent Scuba Diving characters.) https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-league-of-extraordinary-divers-podcast/id1170566610

www.ScubaGuru.com

www.youtube.com/TheScubaGuru

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/scuba-exam/id401421397 https://www.scubaguruacademy.com/

I really hope you guys enjoy watching this series of videos as much as I enjoy making them or else it wouldn’t be fair!

Thanks for watching. D.S.D.O James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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