Cold water diving… Not the most appealing title to those of you with a record of diving in Thailand and the Maldives! But have you given it a try?
The UK isn’t all murky waters and grey coloured fish. We actually have a pretty cool and diverse eco-system here. Plenty of coloured fish – check out the Tompot Blenny as an example, and the Wrasse – just so you know we have not just selected the only coloured fish here! As for corals… yes, we have corals too… dead man’s finger and dalehia anemones, to name a few. The bright underwater colourful world of UK diving.
Understandably cold water diving does bring its challenges, and we understand that it is definitely not the same as jumping in a shorty with 1kg of lead. The prep work is far greater, having to layer up with thermals, put on the drysuit and add the 8+kg of lead. But it is well worth it. Not only for the fact of being able to explore the UK waters, but to also enhance your own diving skills. Learning about different dive kit, working on your buoyancy again if you are new to a drysuit, and ultimately diving in harsher conditions such as lower temperatures and visibility – in comparison to the tropics!
So, this article is all about tips, so what tips do we have… lots! But in order to not ramble, we have narrowed it down to just three.
First off: Choose the right gear! We understand that it can look expensive to purchase branded thermals and a drysuit – but you will not regret it. You can never enjoy a dive if you are cold and shivering. Investing in those all important base layers will make the world of difference.
Second: Don’t do it alone (or with your in-experienced buddy). You may have lots of experience of diving but not here you don’t. Our conditions are undoubtedly amazing but are also very different. So, before jumping in together, there are plenty of guided dives from not just us in North Wales but all around the country. Not only can they show you the best methods for UK diving, but also give you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the sites.
Third: Change your mindset… and don’t compare it. If you are going to jump into the UK waters with the expectation that the cold is horrible, dark and boring, then I am sure that you are going to find it just that. The UK is a completely different environment, as is Egypt, the Galapagos and Iceland. They all have their own unique places to explore and are not all going to be the same.
So, if you have never dived in the UK before, make sure 2022 is your year to do it… we are sure that you will not look back!
Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com
Jump into… A career in diving
A career in doing something that you love… I have heard so many times that diving is just a hobby and not a career. A career by definition is ‘an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.’
I started diving at the age of 17. I became a PADI Divemaster and from this point progressed to an Open Water instructor, to Staff Instructor, to Master Instructor, to Course Director. Surely by definition this is a career path? The only difference (in some cases) that would dispute this matter… the controversial subject of pay!
I am 100% not going to say that no dive centres in the world pay. I myself do, and I know others that do, too. It does however seem to have become very much the norm, that the ‘because I enjoy it’ philosophy has eradicated the UK diving career path for years. Divers volunteering their help for little or no reward (again… not everyone before you stop reading). To eventually realising, that they are doing hard work, for not much to gain… even paying to carry on doing courses, and to become an instructor to work for that centre. What is all that about?!
If you are the type of person to be happy with that, that is completely fine, so long as you are happy. I was at one point… and then realised that I had invested a lot of my time and money, and when this realisation hit, started to feel undervalued. The instructor I was ‘working for’, for a free hot chocolate at the end of the day, would sit in the cafe whilst I taught in the 3 degree waters in the middle of winter. Obviously the paying customer had booked his course through this person and not me… I was happy with a hot chocolate and having fun… but aren’t all of the best careers the ones that we do not see as work. They aren’t all volunteer roles.
Those of you looking for a career in diving, don’t be put off. There are places that you can work, and a career in diving can literally take you all across the world. Those saying that there is no money in diving… ignore those guys too. There is. Obviously working for free is never going to get you there, but if you want to do it, then do it. There are plenty of places not only looking to employ scuba instructors, there are other jobs at aquariums, conservation roles, the Navy and many others for you to take a look at.
There are also grants to look at for education, the open water instructor course, or anything else after that is not exactly cheap… but still nonetheless worthwhile.
So, please do not take away the fact of diving being a career. It is. The only thing that I will leave you with (dropping a bombshell), is that if we accept the fact of ‘working for free’ then it will never change and still be hard to make a career in diving… I mean, of course there is limited need when there is still the alternate option for a business to have free labour.
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
Tips for… Choosing Equipment
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
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