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Skill-Building Scuba Games

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By Jesse Iacono

Contributors: Mark Phillips, Thomas Johnson, Christopher Richardson, Dillon Waters

Scuba divers are a fun-loving group of individuals; that’s the point of the activity! Most divers understand the importance of keeping their skill set fresh, but not everyone gravitates towards the idea of running through skill circuits during their precious underwater time. Skill-building games can be used by classes and certified buddy teams alike to bring some more fun into the process. Building in time for practice is key for every diver, so try some of these on your next dive, or jump in the pool with a buddy in between expeditions to keep yourself sharp.

GAME TIME

Hula Hoops

Rules:

Hula hoops are attached to weights by varying lengths of line to make them float at different depths. Divers must swim through the hoop without any part of their body or equipment touching it.

Skills:

Awareness – the diver becomes aware of their enlarged profile due to scuba equipment and realizes the space and position their body/equipment takes in the environment.

Buoyancy – the diver uses their breath to fine-tune their buoyancy as they pass through the obstacle.

Variations:

Different shapes can be made from pvc tubing.

Different sizes of hula hoops can be used.

Divers swim through the hoops performing different maneuvers – corkscrew spin, different fin kicks, etc.


Weight Hot Potato

Rules:

Weights of varying sizes are brought to the bottom. Divers arrange in a line or circle, the first diver picks up a weight, adjusts their buoyancy, and then hands the weight off to the next diver. As the weight moves down the line, the donating and receiving divers must adjust their buoyancy to stay neutral.

Skills:

Buoyancy – the diver adjusts to neutral buoyancy for varying amounts of weight and reacts quickly to sudden changes in buoyancy.

Control – the diver stays in formation while remaining neutral and stationary.

Task Loading – the diver’s other skills must be second nature as they are making quick adjustments.

Variations:

Each time a weight is handed off, another is picked up, giving every diver in the formation a different weight adjustment.

If a diver rises or sinks past a determined threshold, they are penalized or removed until one winner remains.


Frisbee/Torpedo

Rules:

An underwater frisbee or torpedo is passed from diver to diver while remaining neutrally buoyant.

Skills:

Buoyancy – the diver stays neutral and adjusts as necessary to catch the object.

Task Loading – the diver equalizes ears and buoyancy while chasing the object to different depths.

Variations:

The object is purposefully thrown out of reach, forcing the diver to chase it towards particular parts of the environment.

Underwater Football – teams must work together to deliver the object to the “end zone.” Touching the bottom results in a penalty and turnover of the object to the other team.


Ping Pong Balls

Rules:

Ping pong balls are brought under shallow water and held under each diver’s hands, either flat or slightly cupped downward, as they remain neutrally buoyant.

Skills:

Buoyancy – the diver primarily uses their breath for buoyancy adjustments due to the difficulty of operating their inflator/deflator with their hands occupied.

Use of Hands – the diver keeps their hands and arms still and in front of them to maintain control of the ping pong balls.

Variations:

Penalty or disqualification for any diver who loses a ball or closes their hand around it.

Divers navigate through an obstacle course while maintaining the ping pong balls.

Divers perform various kicks and change depths while maintaining the ping pong balls.

Divers hold a ping pong ball under an overturned spoon.


Push of War

Rules:

Two divers, either at the surface or underwater, face each other while positioned horizontally and link hands. The divers then kick to push towards each other and must push the other diver to the end of the pool or out of bounds to win.

Skills:

Fin Kicks – the diver uses efficient and powerful finning techniques to overpower the other diver.

Variations:

Winners of each round can take on new competitors until one pusher remains as victor.

A certain fin kick can be specified for both divers to use.


Fish Safari

Rules:

Fish shapes are cut out of old neoprene and attached to weights with line. Divers use underwater cameras to take pictures or videos of the targets.

Skills:

Photography – the diver uses a variety of techniques to build familiarity with the camera and explore new photo/video perspectives.

Variations:

Points awarded to best lighting, angle, grouping, etc.

Fish Hunt – divers bring pole spears and practice spearing fish.


Neutral Tic Tac Toe

Rules:

A slate or set of wet notes is passed between divers to play tic tac toe while neutrally buoyant.

Skills:

Buoyancy – the diver maintains neutral buoyancy while completing the exercise.

Task Loading – neutral buoyancy and other core skills become second nature as the diver works through problems and shifts their focus away from the surrounding environment.

Variations:

Change the game to another “pen and paper” style game.

Administer tests or problems with points off for losses of buoyancy control.


Bubble Rings

Rules:

Divers lay on the bottom and blow puffs of gas out of their mouth to try to make bubble rings that expand as they rise towards the surface.

Skills:

Regulator – the diver removes, replaces, and clears their regulator frequently.

Mask – due to breaks in the mask seal created by moving their face to blow the rings, the diver’s mask can partially fill with water and must be cleared.

Variations:

Divers remain neutrally buoyant while blowing vertical bubble rings.

Divers blow horizontal bubble rings by using hand movement to create a forward-moving vortex which traps gas expelled from the diver’s mouth or exhaust valve.


Gear Mess-up

Rules:

A scuba rig (tank, BC, regulator) is assembled incorrectly, having an agreed upon number of errors. The diver who assembles the equipment then puts it on and allows the other players to inspect them as if they were in the buddy check process for a specified amount of time. The other players must work together to identify all errors in the setup.

Skills:

Buddy Awareness – the diver shifts their focus to their buddy’s equipment and recognizes the amount of problems that can occur before entering in the water as well as the benefit of having their gear checked over by a buddy.

Equipment Familiarity – the diver familiarizes themselves with all parts of the equipment as well as problem identification and correction.

Variations:

Multiple rounds which present increasingly difficult errors to identify.

Teams write down issues and compete to get the most correct answers.

Multiple sets of gear are assembled, and the players move from station to station to find errors.


Obstacle Course

Rules:

Divers must navigate through a course that presents physical obstacles, stations that prompt certain activities, or both.

Skills:

The skills built from this game can vary greatly due to the opportunity to build just about anything into it. It can be as simple as moving through obstacles or as complex as combining all the games in this article.

Variations:

The variations are endless with this game and can apply to any level of skill – get creative!


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 1: Alejandro Dutto’s Best Wreck Dives! (Watch Video)

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My Dive Buddies Episode 1: Alejandro Dutto’s Best Wreck Dives!

The first in a new series, where I invite my local scuba diving buddies into the Dive Locker for a beer and a chat! This week I’m chatting with Alejandro Dutto, Co-Founder of the International Scuba Divers Club and Publisher of the digital scuba magazine ‘Trim.’ I know Alejandro is a man after my own heart. Before covid hit, we dived South Florida wrecks together frequently and I’m looking forward to getting back in the water with him.

But for now, I’m happy to have a beer with him and talk about our top three favourite South Florida Wreck Dives. Alejandro also talks about the challenges of filming at technical diving depths and about his new Spanish language dive magazine.

Please follow Alejandro’s channels here:

Thanks everyone! D.S.D.O James


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

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Dive Training Blogs

SSI Launches New Website

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SSI, the world’s largest professional dive business-based training agency, has launched its new website.

Over the last four months, SSI has been hard at work, redesigning its website to make it more user-friendly for divers and more profitable for SSI centers. With increased interactivity, dive customers can easily search for dive courses offered at their level and explore other related activities like freediving and mermaiding.

SSI also put a lot of time and effort into redesigning their website to drive traffic to their SSI Centers. With the “Find Your Training Center” map prominently displayed on every course page, SSI is driving potential business to its Training Centers around the world.

Here’s a comprehensive list of what the new SSI website has to offer new divers searching for their first certification, current divers looking to expand their dive experience, and valued SSI dealers.

  • Quality course and product content – Each page now features a link to a Free Course Preview and map of Training Centers currently offing the course. There is also a revised facts table based on actual SSI Training Standards with a link to the pathway poster and various certification options, if applicable.
  • Intelligent cross-linking to other tools like the SSI Center Locator with Event Calendar and MyDiveGuide DiveSpots and Destinations. SSI always aims to drive business directly to SSI Training Centers and Resorts.
  • New Site Map with enhanced navigation has a stronger focus on the user experience with the start-continue-lead approach, and an updated Header/Footer with optimized search functionalities.
  • SEO optimization for better search results and higher reach, as well as updated landing pages to create leads.
  • Improved performance by consolidating and simplifying the SSI system architecture. This will also centralize data and content management in one place.
  • More possibilities for Cross-Marketing Campaigns with strategic SSI partners.

Go to Divessi.com to explore SSI’s interactive course offerings and map to get you dreaming of diving again.

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