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Dive Training Blogs

Tips for… Choosing Equipment

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We are divers…we all love the nice new shiny dive toys right?! But, how do we choose what is best to get? The best brand or because it’s orange? In our experience, we suggest that ultimately it comes down to what you are going to use it for.

Each year we have divers come onto our dive boat or for shore diving with their light fins that are perfect for the Red Sea, but end up with their feet in the air in a drysuit; and their regulators which are not cold water rated ultimately ending up in free-flow. So, our first suggestion with equipment is to not only consider the purchase based on what your current diving entails, but consider your future aspirations.

This does not just relate to warm water and cold water diving, but what you may consider in the future in relation to specialities. Will you be looking to progress into Advanced diving and using Nitrox? Then purchase a dive computer with this capability. It is easy to jump into buying dive equipment just because we want it now! But take a moment to consider your future diving journey.

I guess the next question that we get asked all of the time is what to buy? What items as a new diver should we get? Admittedly what we suggest and what others suggest will vary, however our personal suggestion is to get your own mask and dive computer. An ill-fitting mask will make your diving far from enjoyable and so this should (in our opinion) be a first for all divers, and a dive computer – well, we all want to start logging our dives!

Not only that, but these are two items you can take with you anywhere in the world… easy to pack into your suitcase and not specific to a local area. Getting these two items start your equipment purchase journey but also gives you the time to try the other items such as regulators and BCD’s and see what best works for you.

The last tip of ours in relation to equipment is… don’t rush into buying and buy what YOU want. Just because someone else has it, does not mean that it will work for you. If you want a red framed mask yet the store only has yellow, wait for the red to come on order. If you purchase correctly, you can most definitely have these same items for a number of years, especially when looked after correctly. Get it right the first time and save yourself the headache of extra expense in the future.


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

Located in North Wales, and nearly 10 years in the business, Duttons Divers operate two of the largest PADI Dive Centres in the UK, and specialise in course tuition from beginner to instructor levels, as well as guided shore & boat dives. The centre is led by PADI Course Director Clare Dutton and RYA Skipper Jean Dutton.

Dive Training Blogs

Jump into… Powerboats

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As divers we all love the water, either on top or underneath, so what could be better than learning to powerboat. This was something that I had not really looked to do before… basically because I knew that I would be hooked with already being a huge pirate fan, and that’s exactly what happened!

Last year I joined the RNLI, which has been a fantastic organisation to get involved with. I could not think of a better way to volunteer my time and, I get to jump aboard and helm a 20m Shannon… awesome! At the same time, after 6 years of owning a boat, I decided to take my Powerboat Level 2 Course. Learning the basics of operating the boat, the two main things that I learnt were:

  1. I now have huge respect for the boat skippers that work here being able to get right close up to come and pick me up regardless of the conditions.
  2. There are no breaks… no back ups…at all!

It was an awesome course, just as good as my PADI Open Water Course, I was hooked and wanted to learn more. The next step being the Advanced course (deja vu!) and then, I went on to do the Day Skipper and Instructor. So, even cooler, we can now offer the RYA Powerboat Courses at Hafan Marina Dive Centre with our boat Little Viv.

Doing the course was great for me, to be able to move out of my comfort zone and learn something completely new. Like being an Open Water student again, I just wanted to learn more… and more… and find out what came next. It was brilliant to be the student again and pick up new tips and tricks, as well as having the frustrations of not being able to do something. An aspect that was a good reminder for my own teaching, that we as instructors should remember from time to time!

The Powerboat Course is definitely something that I would recommend any diver to do, not only to have an appreciation of the boats, but to improve your knowledge and understanding of tides, charts and all of those things that are useful for our dive planning. I like to think that I had a good knowledge of these beforehand, but doing the course has definitely reinforced this aspect… and if doing the course to become a better diver still doesn’t do it for you, surely the thought of a 250hp engine on the back of the boat will do!


Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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Dive Training Blogs

Tips for… Your IDC

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Looking to become a PADI Instructor? Then you will be looking to take your PADI Instructor Development Course. Those of you thinking of becoming an instructor may be finding this a scary process and those of you that have already been through it, will (hopefully) have looked back and enjoyed it! But that’s normal with anything that involves an exam, no?

The IDC is, as it says, a course designed to refine your teaching skills to the standard required to pass the Instructor Examination… and not only that, but prepare you for teaching your own students. There are some things that can make your IDC easier… this involves being prepared!

We have lots of divers come through to take our IDC’s and have the same types of questions each time, mostly asking how best to prepare. So, here are our tips and tricks.

To start – consider the time of year, and what you will be wearing. The IDC open water sessions can be stressful enough when you are trying to become neutrally buoyant in front of the Course Director, without the added stress of having added an extra few layers and not being weighted correctly. Prep your kit before you join the course.

Our next tip – skills. We have no doubt that you can perform mask removal and replace, but can you demonstrate it? The best way to do this isn’t always in the water either… how about trying it in the mirror? Yes, you will probably feel like an idiot (but that will only make you feel better when in front of a group). Watching yourself go through the skills, will allow you to see if you need to slow down…and what your student would be seeing. If you were to be on the other end watching the skill, would you be able to understand it? Our only other tip would be, maybe to leave out the hover with this tip!

Theory – Don’t forget the physics, RDP etc… not the most fun part, we know, but an all-important one nonetheless. This is the element of the course where you can do a lot of work behind the scenes and whilst we will of course take the time to teach you on the IDC, we also don’t want to waste all of the valuable time sat in a classroom. As with all diving, we want to be diving; working with you in the water to develop your skills and underwater control.

Lastly – don’t stress! Easier said than done, right? But we can almost guarantee that you will enjoy it. Go into the IDC having prepped with your skills and theory, questions prepared, and don’t be afraid to ask. That’s why you are there. Remember when you started your Open Water course? You didn’t know all of the answers, and guess what? This is the same.


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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