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View Full Version : Is this normal!?!? - Navigation vs. Guided



bmp51
07-13-2007, 02:11
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<DIV>I have noticed with some diver groups, more and more divers are doing less “Dive work” Navigation, exploration etc. and just following the leader on guided dives….<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /></DIV>

Do you think going on chartered dive trips all the time weakens you as a diver???

How many divers actually practice basic navigation, and run your safety drills every now and again?? Do a table or 2 just for a refresher? (other than in the next level of certification class..)

I am fairly new to diving, but have heard things like “ah don’t worry about it they will bring us up long before we hit a deco time” or “don’t worry about the dept, they won’t take us past 60 ft on this dive…” and my all time favorite “don’t worry about your air consumption, the dive will be over with long before you run out of air”

Is this normal??? Are divers and the diving community seriously taking the “put my life in their hands” attitude?

Just wondering what your experience has been and what you thought….

cummings66
07-13-2007, 09:33
Yes, playing follow the leader does not reinforce nor introduce new skills.
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TxHockeyGuy
07-13-2007, 11:05
I think a lot of the vacation destination places are doing nothing but guided dives. They have to play to the lowest common denominational which is the OW diver who just completed certification right before they left on vacation and is not yet aware of how to properly navigate. They also have to cater to those who do not dive on a regular basis and therefor have rusty skills.

My local diving is the exact opposite. You only see DM's with training classes and if you have no navigation skills it's not terribly difficult to get lost in a quarry. You have to plan your own dive.

CompuDude
07-13-2007, 13:04
They're called "trust me" dives, and IMO they are a terrible idea that brings out the worst in lazy vacation divers.

Fortunately, we don't really have them in So.Cal. unless you specifically hire a DM to lead you on one. Regular charters are transportation... the DMs on board will cheerfully help you topside, but they don't get into the water unless there is an emergency.

Diver Dennis
07-13-2007, 15:48
Unfortunately, the vast majority of divers do "trust me" dives and nothing else. Once certified, most divers only dive on vacation, maybe 5 to 10 dives a year. All my diving now is done at resorts in Asia and I solo dive almost all the time, taking pictures. These dives are all guided with a short dive briefing and then off you go. This includes places like Palau, Yap, Truk, Bali and the Philippines. The only place I couldn't solo was in Sipidan in Malaysia and they gave me my own DM.

That said, all the diving I do is warm water, good vis and usually no overhead. Cold water, low vis diving is totally different in my opinion, I don't dive in Canada anymore...;)

jacewindu
07-13-2007, 16:03
it doesn't teach you new skills... but i wouldn't say it makes you less able to navigate.

if you know how to use a compass, which is fairly simple anyways, playing follow the leader can be just a fun distraction, but won't take away your knowledge.

CompuDude
07-13-2007, 16:44
it doesn't teach you new skills... but i wouldn't say it makes you less able to navigate.

if you know how to use a compass, which is fairly simple anyways, playing follow the leader can be just a fun distraction, but won't take away your knowledge.
If you're one of the rare people that will run their dive like that, yes. In the real world, however, it's not likely to work out that way, with occasional exceptions, of course.

bmp51
07-13-2007, 16:59
I just feel like its auto pilot diving.... I am just astonished at the level of "yah whatever" that goes on..... <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Just a personal thing I guess....

PlatypusMan
07-13-2007, 17:32
I think a lot of the vacation destination places are doing nothing but guided dives. They have to play to the lowest common denominational which is the OW diver who just completed certification right before they left on vacation and is not yet aware of how to properly navigate. They also have to cater to those who do not dive on a regular basis and therefor have rusty skills.


There IS a way around this--look for groups who go on trips that are typically formed from a membership of divers who are experienced in a number of environments and a number of dives.

I belong to one such--and there are others out there, I'm sure. The dive ops tend to let us do our thing once they know what sort of divers we are; usually they check us out with a first "knock the cobwebs off" dive to be certain, and away we go.

picxie
07-13-2007, 19:04
I used to be one of those 'follow the leader' divers who only dived while on holidays. As someone has mentioned, these chartered dives need to cater for the least experience and if something happened, it would be on their heads. So in their eyes, it's the safest option. For me, it meant a relaxed dive which I enjoyed, rather than a potentially uncomfortable dive out of my depth (figuratively, not literally!).
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<DIV>Since finding a regular buddy and diving a bit with the same person, I have become much more comfortable in the water, and I have learnt heaps. We dive at various locations and although a leader is available if wanted, we dive on our own. And take turns to navigate. This has been a great learning curve for me as instead of following someone else, I've had to take responsibility for leading someone else. I have got us *sort of* lost on the odd occasion but nothing major http://www.scubatoys.com/forum/smileys/smiley9.gif. And when that happens I can't really complain too much at the longer surface swim at the end!!! http://www.scubatoys.com/forum/smileys/smiley17.gif</DIV>
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<DIV>Before, I used to expect the dive crew to help me with my gear. Now, I am surprised when they try to help me with my gear and it feels like royal treatment!!!</DIV>
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<DIV>IMO, if you want to learn, you need to take the step of diving without the guided tour all the time.</DIV>

przeor
07-16-2007, 01:29
We're still trying to break the habit of following the leader when we go on vacation- hopefully our liveaboard trip this fall will give us the chance to explore on our own, and force us to use the navigation skills we have. Our vacation experience has been follow the leader dives, 60 minute dives, etc. etc. We like driving over to SoCal for shore diving where we get to brush up on our skills (as well as getting out of the AZ lakes and into the ocean.)

georoc01
07-16-2007, 14:09
There are plusses to follow the leader dives. Namely if the dive master dives the sites regularly, they know where the cool stuff is and can bring you too it. There was this eel living with a shark in Cozumel that we would have never found on our own.

techgnostic
07-16-2007, 14:21
There is nothing to say you can't swing your compass around, mark your headings/times, and then hand that info to your buddy so they can reverse the course on the return tripw/o eyeballing the group. Then trade off. The one who isn't practicing can keep any eye out so you don't fall too far behind the group. It's better than atrophy. Which will happen if you don't practice those basic skills (navigation, equipment donning, buddy breathing, etc.).

cummings66
07-16-2007, 22:34
Definitely pluses to guided tours, they know where to cool stuff is, but still back up the dive with your knowledge and just don't blindly play follow the leader.

aramisun
07-18-2007, 23:07
Guided dives are great for a first dive in a new location, but I am usually going much slower than any group and like to really explore, so once we got liberated it is much better without the DM.
<DIV>It seems like the FL, MA&amp; CA dives we have done are non-DM dives unless you request one. Bonaire is a great example of diving without really having to know much navigation (go out , turn left or right, go for a while, make 180, recognize landmark, go back in ).</DIV>
<DIV>The skills you pick up there are more like fish ID, etc. </DIV>
<DIV>I practice some skill on every dive. DM or no DM.</DIV>
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harb99
07-19-2007, 08:48
My wife and I are going to the Keys in August - I looked for a shop that does guided dives. Its not that I'm uncomfortable diving without one, but this will be our fist trip to the Keys and also my wife's first ocean dives (certified in June in the midwest) and mine since '03 or '04. I have been certified for quite awhile, but only have around 20 logged dives and they have been spread out over 12-13 years.

I feel for our experience level, it will give us an extra added measure of safety to have an experienced dive guide along that is familiar with the conditions and locations - plus - I think it will make my wife much more relaxed knowing that the guide is down there with us.

Once we have a bit more experience, I dont think we will have any problem diving just the 2 us, but for now it just makes sense to have a dive guide.


Harb

tc_rain
07-19-2007, 14:36
Every resort I have been to only has the "tour guide" dives. Around home I am able to do my own thing but it is not in the ocean. I guess that could be a good thing too since my navagation sucks. (Still working on it)

Joew
07-19-2007, 15:07
As a DM I think there are a lot of plusses for guided dives. For the experienced diver in a new location a DM can help find all the cool critters. I'll regularly have people tell me they wish they could see a shark or certain nudibranch, and a lot of the time I can find what they're looking for.

More importantly, I think guided tours are good for new divers. Lets face it, the OW course doesn't churn out expert divers. It's good for them to have a DM or instructor nearby to help them sort things out.

CompuDude
07-19-2007, 15:22
I agree. Where I have issues is when people choose to ONLY do guided dives so they can turn off their brain.

tc_rain
07-19-2007, 17:24
If it wasn't for the guided dives, I wonder how many people would end not being able to find their way back to the boat or getting on the wrong boat.

thesmoothdome
07-20-2007, 16:38
It's definately important for everyone in the group to have an idea where they're going, why they're going there, turn around pressure, etc. That's what dive briefings and planning is for. Even during my OW course I was taught that self sufficiency was an important aspect of diving, even in buddy groups.
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<DIV>At times, I'll gladly follow a DM or guide, because they know more about the location than I do, but I don't expect them to be responsible for my dive profile. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having one with you if youwant that comfort factor in the beginning. Even without onewith you, you'll rarely be"alone" in the water. Most divers on the boat will folllow similar dive plans and with good visibility, you'llat least see their bubbles most of the time. </DIV>

tc_rain
07-20-2007, 18:59
I have a liberal computer that I set slightly more conservative. When it says it is time for me to end the dive, I am done even if the guide or group is still going.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />