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That’s Wrong: Technical Diving Misconceptions

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By John Bentley and Brian Shreve

Perusing internet forums on technical diving can be an entertaining way to waste a few moments of a lunch hour, but it’s disheartening to see the amount of misinformation perpetuated online. Just recently, we’ve seen some of these recurring topics, and thought it might make for an interesting article.  So what have we seen?

I can just do whatever I want for decompression, because it’s only loosely understood

This one isn’t really a misconception, at least not completely. Decompression theory isn’t thoroughly understood from a physiological perspective. This is being mentioned because the looseness of our understanding is taken as a free pass to bypass the rules. Guess what? Science doesn’t really understand much when it comes to physiological interactions at that level but we still follow the research and data that is available. Saying “it’s just a theory” doesn’t justify aggressive gradient factors, skipped deco, or diving with antiquated versions of tables. While it is true we’re our own crash test dummies on dives that push boundaries, that can’t be taken as carte blanche to do whatever on every dive. There’s a good body of evidence of what works for most technical dives, and a prudent diver will keep within that range of ascent strategies.

CNS loading isn’t a real thing

People, more and more, seem to devalue CNS tracking for repetitive decompression just because they know of explorers pushing 500% of their CNS clock. This shows a clear lack of understanding to the actual value of that percentage and what it represents. 100% does not mean “CNS toxicity happens here.” 100% is a recommended value over a period of time. Sometimes that value is pushed further and done so successfully with specific considerations being met. The fault here is probably the units (percentage) chosen to represent this loading. We’re used to 100% being the maximum in a dataset, while the time variable in CNS loading makes that not the case. Just because 100% is typically used as a maximum value and can be surpassed significantly does not mean that the idea of a max CNS load is invalid. Divers doing repetitive decompression dives with accelerated deco should be tracking their CNS and should stop waylaying data in favor of anecdotes and conjecture.

Buoyancy control and trim

“If I’m not in a cave trim, it isn’t a big deal.”

Really? No. If an open water student can be horizontal in the water you can too. Vertical diving comes from a time of over-weighted technical divers whose equipment literally wouldn’t let them be trim. Now, with balanced rigs and standardization of gear it’s simple to be flat in the water. There really isn’t a good excuse for this anymore, especially considering that SDI instructors are consistently producing entry level scuba divers with horizontal trim.

Helium doesn’t require a full class, it’s just a new gas

Hopefully this is only a popular one among the internet divers, which is where it’s seen the most. A helium class’s necessity coming in question really shows the lack of respect towards years and years of fatalities and accident analysis. Helium is different. We’re all glad you have Google and read something about isobaric counter diffusion.  The skill sets developed in a trimix/advanced trimix course, and the evaluation of those skills, is a vital part of a self-regulated industry. Your self-evaluation is important before a course, but the idea that self evaluation and an exam makes a trimix diver is not valid nor is it supported.

While talking to your favorite internet diver don’t forget to take wild anecdotal evidence with a heaping grain of salt. Training, experience and research make a great instructor as well as a great diver. Those two things can’t be replaced by marginalization of facts and data that appease egos and mitigate hard work.

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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.

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Mares & SSI launch new promotion

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SSI expands financial support to SSI Members worldwide. 

2020 has been an unusual and challenging year for the entire world, especially the diving and travel industry!  To weather the crisis, SSI immediately jumped into action to help Training Centers and Professionals around the world.  

In response to COVID-19, SSI launched the No Water, No Problem Campaign, put Final Exams online, and held hundreds of Webinars to train Professionals on how to use distance learning to teach the dry Specialties online. The FREE SCIENCE OF DIVING promotion resulted in SSI Training Centers worldwide register over 50,000 FREE DIGITAL KITS, funding more than $3.5 MILLION IN RETAIL VALUE. Additionally, SSI introduced an aggressive DOUBLE PRO REWARDS incentive to help SSI Professionals compensate 2020 Renewal Fees and reduce those for 2021. Currently, the WE WANT YOU Crossover promotion aims to fill the industry need for instructors and strengthen the entire SSI Professional community.

Now, in conjunction with Mares, SSI is launching the GO DIVING – PROTECT YOURSELF. OWN EQUIPMENT Promotion, which includes a FREE SSI EQUIPMENT TECHNIQUES DIGITAL KIT. This new campaign strives to motivate divers worldwide to go diving and buy equipment. Look for more information on this next retail support campaign within the next few days.

“These are just a few examples of how we have supported and are continuing to support our Training Centers, Professionals, and divers worldwide. To provide even more economic security and help in business recovery, WE WILL NOT INCREASE PRICES FOR 2021. While travel was restricted and some key resort areas completely locked down, SSI mainly focused on supporting domestic markets with retail-driven incentives. Now, in this next re-opening phase, we need to shift gear and assist resort markets that have no local diving community and are 100% dependent on the traveling diver. Therefore, SSI will grant certain special conditions and delayed payment options to specific resort markets which have been locked down for longer than six months or suffered from closed borders,” stated Guido Waetzig, SSI CEO.

Guido Waetzig, SSI CEO, explains further, “To financially support these needed investments which directly benefit SSI Members and to protect the health of our valuable members and staff, we will forego all 2021 Trade Shows over the next 12 months. Despite international uncertainty, every time we experience one of these events, the entire SSI Network emerges stronger and more resilient. Be assured, SSI is your trustful partner within the Diving Industry!”

For more information about SSI visit their website by clicking here.

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Photo Gallery: Shark Diving in The Bahamas

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In our Gallery feature, we let the photos tell the story… Each Gallery showcases a selection of outstanding images on a chosen theme, taken by our Underwater Photography Editor Nick and Deputy Editor Caroline of Frogfish Photography. This time they look at Shark Diving in The Bahamas.


The Bahamas offers some of the very finest shark diving experiences in the world. The islands have protected sharks in their waters creating one of the first Shark Sanctuaries in the world. Several species of shark can be seen and photographed, with each island offering a different type of shark diving, making this destination the perfect place for a multi-island, multi-shark trip of a lifetime.

Great Hammerhead Shark diving in Bimini

Bull Sharks in Bimini

Tiger Shark off Grand Bahama

Oceanic Whitetip Shark off Cat Island

Nurse Shark off Abaco

Caribbean Reef Sharks off New Providence

Lemon Sharks off Grand Bahama

For more images from The Bahamas and around the world, visit the Frogfish Photography website by clicking here.

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