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WaScubaDude
09-24-2007, 19:15
You hear it often, and read it even more often...Practice, Practice, Practice! What exacty would you recommend divers should practice?

I have thought of a few, but wanted to put together a more comprehensive list. I plan to choose the very best to put on a laminated 3x5 card. Maybe 1/2 on the front and 1/2 on the back so I can alternate the skills practiced during each session with my DB.

1.) Mask removal, and clearing.
2.) Sharing air/buddy breathing
3.)
4.)
5.)
Etc.

dludwig
09-24-2007, 19:23
I try to focus on my breathing and it's effect on Peak Buoyancy

WV Diver
09-24-2007, 19:24
regulator recovery
freeflow regulator breathing
hovering in place as for safety stops
underwater swim without mask
duffing and donning scuba unit underwater and on surface


Not sure what other agencies do but for my PADI divemaster we had to pass what was called a stress test. More fun than stress I thought.

While buddy breathing you had to exchange ALL your gear with your buddy, except wetsuit of course.

jwdizney
09-24-2007, 20:11
regulator recovery
freeflow regulator breathing
hovering in place as for safety stops
underwater swim without mask
duffing and donning scuba unit underwater and on surface




I agree with WV. having just finished my OW, it's one thing to pass the class, it's another to have enough of a grasp of these skill to respond calmly in a "take you by surprise" situation.. I think we should add a little practice to every dive! not extreme, but quick reviews..

WV Diver
09-24-2007, 20:18
When the basics become second nature you can learn to

shoot a bag
navigation skills - these can be alot of fun
search and recovery using different techniques (search patterns) - These can also be fun.
underwater salvage- lifting things to the surface using lift bags

thesmoothdome
09-24-2007, 20:22
Nothing more important that bouyancy control, and that should be and is practiced during every dive.

crpntr133
09-24-2007, 20:25
I think that buoyancy is a given. Something a lot of new divers over look is being trimmed out..flat in the water and hover. OK so that kicks in the buoyancy.

The dive master gear exchange is a blast to watch. Actually might like to try it once.

diverdad
09-24-2007, 20:31
I try to practice all of my skills since i'm still a newbie.

quasimoto
09-24-2007, 20:42
You should continue to practice. A friend of mine was telling me about a group of tech people that she dives with do a "rodeo". Basically it is a no holds barred dive skill adventure. If you want to swim along and grab my mask, so be it. If you swim off with my mask I have to catch you to get it back. She told me all kinds of crazy stuff that they do.
Please note that they only do this when everyone knows that this is going on. So it isn't just a surprise.

subsur
09-24-2007, 21:30
i'd put proper weighting as #1. do it with someone around at the end of a dive with 500 psi, at 5 meter deep. you should be neutral with NO air in BC. most people are overweight so once you get your weight straight, your buoyancy and air consumption will improve.
#2: buoyancy control;
#3: navigation skills;
#4: other skills like you mentioned

Buoyant1
09-26-2007, 11:52
Breathing and buoyancy ANYtime...I pull my mask off a few times a year..I'm LEARNING to practice navigation

ertechsg
09-26-2007, 12:36
Practice but I'm perfect:smiley36: JK wife and I practice different skills all the time except removel of BC need to do that more often

Charles R
09-26-2007, 15:40
buoyancy control
safety drills
hovering
Different types of Kicks ( Frog, backwards, flutter, Helicopter ECT ECT...)
Shooting a bag or SMBJust my 2psi

in_cavediver
09-26-2007, 18:14
Here's my opinionated list of skills

1) Mask clearing, while hovering and maintianing position
2) Inflater disconnect - oral inflation of BC
3) Air share drill - (before every dive is when I do it)
4) Reg recovery - (again, I do it before every dive with air share)
5) Anti-silting kicks = just for fun

Things that I think should be done prior to every dive
1) Dive plan - where are we going and why
2) Team Plan - who leads, where to expect each other that kind of thing. How to ID each other.
3) Gas Plan - How much rock bottom air is needed.
4) Gear matching - When in doubt, go over buddies gear for octo and releases etc. Better now then when you need it.
5) Deco management - where are we on the tables/computers and where will we end up
6) emergency procedures - separation, gas or anything that might be different or needed

Most of the above is covered very quickly with little thought. All of it should be done and it only takes a few moments to do and think about.

WaScubaDude
09-26-2007, 18:37
Here's my opinionated list of skills

1) Mask clearing, while hovering and maintianing position
2) Inflater disconnect - oral inflation of BC
3) Air share drill - (before every dive is when I do it)
4) Reg recovery - (again, I do it before every dive with air share)
5) Anti-silting kicks = just for fun

Things that I think should be done prior to every dive
1) Dive plan - where are we going and why
2) Team Plan - who leads, where to expect each other that kind of thing. How to ID each other.
3) Gas Plan - How much rock bottom air is needed.
4) Gear matching - When in doubt, go over buddies gear for octo and releases etc. Better now then when you need it.
5) Deco management - where are we on the tables/computers and where will we end up
6) emergency procedures - separation, gas or anything that might be different or needed

Most of the above is covered very quickly with little thought. All of it should be done and it only takes a few moments to do and think about.

Now thats a good start to a list. Thanks in_cave diver dude. I will add in the others and edit it down to concise points soon. When it looks pretty good I will post it back up for one last look over by you all.

Any others to add? Bring it dive dudes and dudettes.

Kidder
09-26-2007, 20:45
buddy breathing, buoyancy, free flow reg, mask removal, mask clear, navigation, and navigation while maintaining depth.

Theepdinker
09-26-2007, 20:48
I mention getting practice to new OW divers.
All I'm referring to is go dive.
Skills get rusty if you don't dive.
Especially newly acquired skills.

A little work on skills & a bunch of diving for fun.
That's my Rx for staying sharp.

Theep

Boris42
10-03-2007, 09:49
Good thread here. I found out last weekend that I need to practice with my gear more. My DB and I were playing around in an obstacle course when I needed to dump some air. Well, I accidentally hit my fill button rather than dumping. OMG, I started to ascend rapidly. Good thing I was able to grab the concrete tube I was trying to swim through and hold on. But I found myself head down and had to find my bottom dump valve to fix my problem. I hadn't practiced that much and it took me a while to find the darn thing. Fortunately I did and was able to continue with no mishap. The tube was only 15' or so below the surface and I probably would have been ok even had I not been able to grab something. But what would it been like had I been in 60'+ instead? This weekend I'm going to work on making sure I can find everything quickly as well as be more careful with those darn buttons.

BobbyWombat
10-03-2007, 13:11
Buoyancy control, of course, is essential, but you can combine it with other things, as noted.

I like to try and maintain my position while practicing:
1. Helicopter kicks
2. Mask Removal

Maybe instead of a long list, this thread could turn into a "practice routine".

i.e. =
0. Buddy check and all the pre-dive necessities I'm too lazy to write.
1. Maintain buoyancy control 2' above the bottom
2. Now spin 360 deg to the left and right while in position
3. Take off your mask and swim fwd while staying 2' off the bottom
4. etc.....

-BW

BobArnold8265
10-05-2007, 10:44
I hate to admit it but I don't practice my skills very often. I dive a fair amount so get lots of practice on bouyancy control. I do on ocassion practic mask removal and regulator recovery but not as often as I should !!

ScubaJ
10-05-2007, 13:57
My wife and I parctice an emergency drill on every (local) dive outing. Not a ton of stuff to do or look at in our lake, so we always fit in one emergency drill.

Our next one is going to be a "disoriented diver" drill. With a normal vis of about 10-15ft, position yourself at 20' in about 30-40' of water. Then close your eyes and have your DB move you around so you don't know which way is shore, up, down. When you stop moving, get your bearing & your senses back together. Tell your buddy which way is up & down, & what direction to shore, or some other pre-arranged landmark.

I should note that whenever there is the chance of a rapid ascent, we either do the drill at the beginning of the dive, or we do a lengthy safety stop before starting the drill. Usually at the beginning of a dive.

CompuDude
10-05-2007, 14:22
It's a good idea to keep rescue skills sharp as well. I can't say I always practice what I'm preaching here (although once I start DMing some more Rescue courses I guess that will take care of itself), but periodically practicing rescuing an "unconscious" diver, delivering rescue breaths on the surface while removing gear, water exits with an unconscious diver, etc., are very good things to do. Not every dive, certainly, but once or twice a year would be good.

And for the Nitrox users out there, how many people know the proper procedure for rescuing a Toxing diver?

WaScubaDude
11-04-2007, 22:32
It's a good idea to keep rescue skills sharp as well. I can't say I always practice what I'm preaching here (although once I start DMing some more Rescue courses I guess that will take care of itself), but periodically practicing rescuing an "unconscious" diver, delivering rescue breaths on the surface while removing gear, water exits with an unconscious diver, etc., are very good things to do. Not every dive, certainly, but once or twice a year would be good.

And for the Nitrox users out there, how many people know the proper procedure for rescuing a Toxing diver?

I don't. How do you give rescue breaths at the surface? Do you fully inflate the victims bc?

CompuDude
11-04-2007, 23:38
It's a good idea to keep rescue skills sharp as well. I can't say I always practice what I'm preaching here (although once I start DMing some more Rescue courses I guess that will take care of itself), but periodically practicing rescuing an "unconscious" diver, delivering rescue breaths on the surface while removing gear, water exits with an unconscious diver, etc., are very good things to do. Not every dive, certainly, but once or twice a year would be good.

And for the Nitrox users out there, how many people know the proper procedure for rescuing a Toxing diver?

I don't. How do you give rescue breaths at the surface? Do you fully inflate the victims bc?

Depends on the situation... sometimes yes, inflate the BC, other times you want to remove it instead. Rescue breaths... more complicated that I care to type out, but all should be covered in a good Rescue certification course. :)

RoadRacer1978
11-05-2007, 04:21
I always practice mask flood/clear several times dorung the dive. New mask fogs up still. I also practice a buoyancy drill at the end of the dive. I found it to be a very helpful drill. I goes like this.

You can do it with, or without a reference line. For new divers a reference line will be quite helpful.
Start at 20' - 30'. Make sure you are perfectly neutral. Then without moving raise yourself 5' using lung volume and breating. Once you raise 5' level off there and hover motionless for a minute or so. Then repeat raising yourslef another 5' and then stop and hover. You repeat the raising 5' and stopping to hover every 5' until you reach the surface. You achieve this without moving during the entire drill. The last 5' is quite challenging and may not be possible if you are trying this in an enviroment like the ocean.

This one excersize has help me more with my buoyancy than any other drill so far. I incorporate it with my safety stop and hover at the 15' mark for longer than each of the other depths.

I work on Navigation each and every dive.

I need to do more drills and this thread has given me some good ideas for practice.

Silverlode
11-05-2007, 05:34
You can do it with, or without a reference line. For new divers a reference line will be quite helpful.
Start at 20' - 30'. Make sure you are perfectly neutral. Then without moving raise yourself 5' using lung volume and breating. Once you raise 5' level off there and hover motionless for a minute or so. Then repeat raising yourslef another 5' and then stop and hover. You repeat the raising 5' and stopping to hover every 5' until you reach the surface. You achieve this without moving during the entire drill. The last 5' is quite challenging and may not be possible if you are trying this in an enviroment like the ocean.

This one excersize has help me more with my buoyancy than any other drill so far. I incorporate it with my safety stop and hover at the 15' mark for longer than each of the other depths.



Thanks for that RoadRacer. Sounds a really good way to practise buoyancy. I'm going to incorporate it somehow into my diving.


Buoyancy control, of course, is essential, but you can combine it with other things, as noted.

I like to try and maintain my position while practicing:
1. Helicopter kicks
2. Mask Removal

-BW

What are Helicopter Kicks?

Puffer Fish
11-05-2007, 06:20
I always practice mask flood/clear several times dorung the dive. New mask fogs up still. I also practice a buoyancy drill at the end of the dive. I found it to be a very helpful drill. I goes like this.

You can do it with, or without a reference line. For new divers a reference line will be quite helpful.
Start at 20' - 30'. Make sure you are perfectly neutral. Then without moving raise yourself 5' using lung volume and breating. Once you raise 5' level off there and hover motionless for a minute or so. Then repeat raising yourslef another 5' and then stop and hover. You repeat the raising 5' and stopping to hover every 5' until you reach the surface. You achieve this without moving during the entire drill. The last 5' is quite challenging and may not be possible if you are trying this in an enviroment like the ocean.

This one excersize has help me more with my buoyancy than any other drill so far. I incorporate it with my safety stop and hover at the 15' mark for longer than each of the other depths.

I work on Navigation each and every dive.

I need to do more drills and this thread has given me some good ideas for practice.
Like the concept, but it would depend a lot on the thickness of the suit you were wearing...some, near the surface would not allow that. I would think that doing the same thing, only going up and then down and back up would do the same thing and not get one into fighting your suit effects.

CompuDude
11-05-2007, 10:22
What are Helicopter Kicks?

Scuba diving training (http://www.deepsouthdivers.org/training.html)

Pivoting left and right without shifting your center. Meaning not a small turn, an actual pivot.

caroln
11-05-2007, 11:05
Lately I've mostly been focusing on practicing kicks and buddy communication. I'm working on becoming a more aware team mate/buddy, and working on the proper buddy distance, relative position, etc. Every dive I do something to work on buoyancy, whether it's just playing around and seeing how close I can get to the bottom and stay there without siltiing, or whether it's practicing moving up and down in the water column just using my lungs. I am also working on learning the natural navigation of the quarry we dive at most of the time.

liuk3
11-05-2007, 19:33
I was actually thinking that with over 1000 dives logged by the OP, me as a noob could pick your brain on what I should be working on. :)

I also ditto the rescue skills. Even things like towing a tired diver or victim may be a simple skill but helpful in emergency situations and would be good conditioning to do.

cutter77
11-06-2007, 00:29
Manual inflation of BC at surface and depth.

WaScubaDude
12-20-2007, 16:28
Pre Dive Plan
o Dive/health concerns & Emergency plan
o Who will lead & how
o How to follow the leader
o Lost Dive Buddy (DB) Procedure
o Where exactly to dive
o Maximum Depth
o Depth of Safety Stop
Either DB can call off dive anytime for any reason!

Air Management
o Turn around PSI or Bottom time
o PSI to Go to Safety Stop
o PSI to Surface
o Hand signals for each
PSI based on diver with the lowest PSI reading!

Before Entry
o Gear Check you & DB
o Hand Signal Review
o BC Inflate & Deflate(s) you & DB
o How to ditch(s)weights you & DB
o Air on full?
o 3 breaths on your reg
o 3 breaths on DB Oct
o Gauge check

In Water Skill Drills
o Descend together
o Correct Weighting
o Correct Trim
o Perfect Buoyancy
o OOA Octo deploy
o OOA Buddy Breathe (BB)
o DB Octo to surface
o Mask Flood & Clear
o Mask Removal & Replace
o Free flow reg resolutions
o Free flow reg ascent
o Free flow shut down and BB
Do UW drills at a depth of 15ft or less!

o At surface: Inflate DB BC & ditch weights

WaScubaDude
01-24-2008, 18:35
Dive Plan, Skills & Drills

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pre Dive Plan
o Dive/health concerns & Emergency plan
o Who will lead & how
o How to follow the leader
o Lost Dive Buddy (DB) Procedure
o Where exactly to dive
o Maximum Depth
o Depth of Safety Stop
Either DB can call off dive anytime for any reason!

Air Management
o Turn around PSI or Bottom time
o PSI to Go to Safety Stop
o PSI to Surface
o Hand signals for each
PSI based on diver with the lowest PSI reading!

Before Entry
o Gear Check you & DB
o Hand Signal Review
o BC Inflate & Deflate(s) you & DB
o How to ditch(s)weights you & DB
o Air on full?
o 3 breaths on your reg
o 3 breaths on DB Oct
o Gauge check

In Water Skill Drills
o Descend together
o Correct Weighting
o Correct Trim
o Perfect Buoyancy
o OOA Octo deploy
o OOA Buddy Breathe (BB)
o DB Octo to surface
o Mask Flood & Clear
o Mask Removal & Replace
o Free flow reg resolutions
o Free flow reg ascent
o Free flow shut down and BB
Do UW drills at a depth of 15ft or less!

o At surface: Inflate DB BC & ditch weights

DRNightdiver
02-10-2008, 19:17
Bouyancy, Bouyancy, Bouyancy. Understanding and controling your bouyancy is key to never putting yourself in a number of difficult situations that many not so experienced divers find themself in.

Contuously fighting your bouyancy is the route cause for many divers anxiety.

KGNickl
02-10-2008, 19:38
Planning, Safety, and Bouyacy

cummings66
02-10-2008, 21:16
WaScubaDude, you mean to tell me you do EVERY SINGLE one of those skills on every single dive? Instructors don't even practice emergency ascents on every single dive.

However, if you want to be anal then add valve drills in the mix. It's a valueable skill and one I practice at the start of a dive and at the end of a dive. I don't share air, but I do what's called a modified S drill, meaning you deploy but don't actually share air. We do that at the start of a valve drill in case something does go wrong you're ready right then and there to handle it.

texdiveguy
02-10-2008, 23:00
WaScubaDude, you mean to tell me you do EVERY SINGLE one of those skills on every single dive? Instructors don't even practice emergency ascents on every single dive.

However, if you want to be anal then add valve drills in the mix. It's a valueable skill and one I practice at the start of a dive and at the end of a dive. I don't share air, but I do what's called a modified S drill, meaning you deploy but don't actually share air. We do that at the start of a valve drill in case something does go wrong you're ready right then and there to handle it.

Was it not just a few weeks or so ago that you started diving doubles and were going to start an entry level tech course....maybe I have you confused with another ST board member...guess it does not matter really....but practice is always a 'good thing' Martha would say. Don't recall ever hearing the term 'modified' s-drills...catchy though. I bet WaScubaDude does not do that long list each dive....well I hope not or he would never get the dive in... anyways he is just listing all the great ideas folks have mentioned, nice thread. :)

DarinMartell
02-11-2008, 11:12
I'm a nube so I have to practice this a-lot. I go to the pool and do all of the above plus breathing from a free flowing regulator and I practice a CESA by starting in the deepend and swimming at a diagnal to the shallow end (about 60')

cummings66
02-11-2008, 12:41
Was it not just a few weeks or so ago that you started diving doubles and were going to start an entry level tech course

Yup, and I do practice it. For rec diving I didn't do every single skill I've learned though. For tech diving I'm trying, in fact it's why I got out my books and have been going through what I'm supposed to know now.

I think that practicing a couple skills every dive is a good thing to do, but I'm not sure you need to practice every single skill on every single dive, of course you could argue that the dive uses every single skill as well.

The one skill I don't practice but I know I could do is the CESA. I feel it's a risk to do that one, maybe once in a while after your safety stop but not every dive.

I have a theory, I dive Nitrox and air. On air I used to get tired and then I took up Nitrox and didn't get tired. I thought Nitrox did the voodoo thing and was somehow better for me. Then during the Winter I've been diving air only as well, I'm still not tired. One thing that changed is by the time I got to Nitrox I had more skills and dives under my belt, my diving style was more refined than it was prior.

I think the reason I feel better is that I do the safety stop, then afterwards I treat the last 15 feet of the dive as a very slow ascent. It does make me feel better by coming up slow compared to the traditional we're done lets pop... So I think a CESA does not help and would only serve to make me feel tired again. Of course looking at the outputs of the tables you cut for tech diving it seems like there's a plan you follow the the t.

cummings66
02-11-2008, 12:51
Here are the common skills I do each dive, sometimes it's not really a skills practice so much as to see if I can do it.

Modified S drill
Valve drill
Buoyancy control
Descents
Ascents
Drysuit recovery techniques

Those are what I recall off the top of my head doing every dive. Of those only the valve drill requires thought. The rest of it just happens during the dive, and drysuit recovery is something I practice to keep a feel for it. It was different with doubles vs single tank.

To be honest, the first 3 happen because of the valve drill, it's all needed in order to do the drill, the next two are a part of diving and the last is a skills check to be sure I'm still capable of fixing drysuit issues quickly. I learned how fast a stuck inflator can make a dive fun so I know it's important to insure you can reach and detach, how fast you can get your feet back down and vent, etc. Time spent, 2 minutes so far for the first 3 things. I've got to get faster though. Drysuit stuff doesn't take any time away from the dive because I do it during the dive when the situation allows it.

I am working up a list though of things to add and my future dives will become more oriented towards doing all those things I'm supposed to know so that when it comes time for the test I'll have done the skills so much I can do it with my eyes closed, which by the way (in the dark no mask) type stuff will have to be done.

I don't normally pull my mask very often, maybe once every couple months. I'll do it more when it warms up a bit. 35 degree water is not fun to do that in and my mask will leak the entire dive once I break the seal which I don't like. I don't mind the water and need to clear, but I prefer to stay dry if I can. I was told I need to do valve drills and air share with no mask at 20 feet and without moving 1 foot. I'm working at that goal. But does an OW diver need those exact same skills?

texdiveguy
02-11-2008, 14:01
Yup, and I do practice it. ...........

....... Of course looking at the outputs of the tables you cut for tech diving it seems like there's a plan you follow it to the t.

I guess it was you that I remember reading the post.

Like I said nothing wrong with practicing new and old skills....its great for that muscle memory....now I just need some more muscle-lol.

Yea as you progress into deco diving you will see the reasons tables are developed, 'cut' and followed....the deeper and longer the profiles get the narrower the margins of fluff become....tables in technical diving do take on a new meaning.

WaScubaDude
03-21-2008, 02:26
WaScubaDude, you mean to tell me you do EVERY SINGLE one of those skills on every single dive? Instructors don't even practice emergency ascents on every single dive.

However, if you want to be anal then add valve drills in the mix. It's a valueable skill and one I practice at the start of a dive and at the end of a dive. I don't share air, but I do what's called a modified S drill, meaning you deploy but don't actually share air. We do that at the start of a valve drill in case something does go wrong you're ready right then and there to handle it.

Sorry it took so long for me to reply. I don't do each of the skills on every dive, more early on with new DB. Helps to get familiar with a DB's skills and gear set up. Later, maybe one or two off the list on each dive. Sometimes I'll swap masks at the safety stop, or as we get out onto the beach I will have my DB pull the rip cord and drop my ranger weights, I will unsnap, unvelcro, pull and drop his weights.

I made the whole list into a compact two sided laminated reminder card. In Feb in Cozumel my wife and I were reviewing the list pre-dive, a really nice Blue angel instructor saw us and asked what the list was??? Said he had never seen anyone but an instructor with such a list. He seemed impressed and I know both my wife and I felt a little more comfortable hopping in with a bit more clarity about how the dive would go.

If you look close some of it is really dive planning that should be crystal clear on every dive, some of it are skills or drills to practice as you please.

Lastly...Thanks to all that responded and made suggestions. I will be adding some items and will post up another round if anyone wants a copy. Also, I don't do tec diving, though my rig is looking more dir every month, but maybe one of you tec divers could post the tec version of the complete check list to share with others.

NoTime58
03-21-2008, 07:43
Normally I try to work on breathing, buoyancy control/hovering, and concentrating on weight and trim.

MicahEW
03-21-2008, 09:10
regulator recovery
freeflow regulator breathing
hovering in place as for safety stops
underwater swim without mask
duffing and donning scuba unit underwater and on surface


Not sure what other agencies do but for my PADI divemaster we had to pass what was called a stress test. More fun than stress I thought.

While buddy breathing you had to exchange ALL your gear with your buddy, except wetsuit of course.


When I got my cert they made us practice reg recovery and breathing freeflow.

cummings66
03-21-2008, 12:41
If you look close some of it is really dive planning that should be crystal clear on every dive, some of it are skills or drills to practice as you please.


To be honest, I think if a person really wants to evaluate their potential buddy I'd have them do a complete mask removal and clear, and I'd have them hover about 3 feet off the bottom and check their trim and buoyancy control.

Those 3 things will tell you much of what you'd want to know about a buddy.

The planning aspects I don't really consider as part of a checklist like this, but it is taught as a checklist.

Personally, I'd make a predive, dive, and post dive checklist. Then you can take a smaller subset of the items with you and have less distraction trying to remember which item you're doing.

You could further break it down into a skills or gear checklist. IMO gear checklist would be mandatory, the skills could be optional.

This much I do know, if I had to demonstrate every single skill I've learned to date to a dive buddy before he'd dive with me, I'd say see you 'round someday and don't let the door hit you on the way out. If he asked me to do a few key skills like mask clearing and buoyancy stuff I'd be game for it. I expect to do the full gamut for an instructor in a tech class, I don't expect to do it for Joe Blow down the street. I only expect that I need to show him I'm a safe diver who can take care of myself. I figure a drop to a couple feet of the bottom with hitting it, clearing the mask, and perhaps sharing air should be about it. If you can do all of that you're probably better than the average diver.

Take the evaluation part. I know some divers are so anal about air sharing that if your hand isn't a hand width away from the second stage and your fingers are pointed at your head they'll say you don't know how to donate air. I think the key thing is you get the second stage to them, and I even pre purge it for them in case they forget, that way they don't gulp water. They also expect you to grab their BC by the other hand and gain control of them as well. I'd do that with a new dive buddy, but not a trusted one.

LCF
03-22-2008, 15:20
I think the thing you should practice the most is the thing you're weakest at. And that's usually the thing you don't want to do! For me, it's midwater stability without a visual reference. (In other words, without a mask, or with my eyes closed.) I hate it, and I even avoid dives that will require a direct ascent sometimes because I don't want to deal with it. But as Danny Riordan told me, with a sad expression on his face, "Just because you're bad at something doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. You should do it more often." And he's right.

For a lot of people, that weak point is mask skills. For others, it's maintaining buoyancy while task loaded. Whatever it is, that's what you should practice most often.

cummings66
03-23-2008, 16:44
That is a good idea, and I do it myself. Maintaining proper trim right now is my current thing, switching to doubles has put me on the road to experimentation with weight placement and stuff like that to get my trim back in line.

Maintaining trim while doing drills and maintaining depth is not the easiest thing on Earth and I work on it each dive, twice a dive in fact until I can get it back where it should be.

I spent the first 10 minutes of my dive working on those 3 things, and the last 5 working on them, actually I was doing valve drills at the same time so that's 4 things I was working on.

I remember this much, I was disappointed in my performance. My depth varied 2 feet although the trim was ok as were the valve drills which I was happy with, but my depth control really sucked and I just didn't seem like I was in control no matter how much I tried.

It's odd, but those dives were my lowest in terms of air consumption since I moved to doubles, and yet the worst in terms of what I thought of my own skills. I sucked and couldn't seem to do anything right. I'm quite depressed over my performance and feel like a screwup.

In terms of real world diving I did fine, but frankly the start and end of the dive left a sour taste in my mouth and makes me question my skills, two feet is horrible. I am honestly disappointed in my performance, I can do better but I can't tell you for sure what went wrong and that's what upsets me. One issue may have been the thicker undergarment which caused me to work harder for proper trim, it seemed like a bigger bubble formed in my boots than usual, but I could manage it. I'm hoping it's the thicker undergarment causing it, a few more dives will confirm that theory.

At any rate, I do believe if you are afraid of something you need to confront it head on and beat it, or it will beat you.

In my case I'm going to work very hard on what I perceive to be my shortcomings and get them back to my standards.

I had 2 45 minute dives with most of them at 50 feet, and to run out of air so I could finish my neutral buoyancy trim testing with the HP100's I doubled up I freeflowed my regs and breathed off of it. Quite neat and a fast way to lose some air pressure. Weighting was pretty much spot on so at least that part went good, and the valve drills went good. Overall the dive was not fun for me though. I hate to fail at something and I feel I failed, but I'll keep plugging away at it.

in_cavediver
03-23-2008, 17:25
I think I posted this a while back but since the thread cam to life again, I post it again.

The point of practicing skills is simply to remain competent in performing them. We do that to reduce the stressors on a dive. We also know that in the road to panic, we have not one single event but a whole chain of small events. If we can break a single link in that chain, we can avoid panic. Everyone has some threshold of stress prior to the onset of panic, it varies but everyone has it. Our goal is to not get to said threshold. Why - because panic kills divers.

So what does that mean. Take a dive. You have a leaky mask. If you are uncomfortable about clearing it, its a big stressor. If you are comfortable doing it, its a little stressor. Now, we have a low air situation (yours or someone else - doesn't matter). Sharing air can be a small stressor or a large stressor. If we are practiced in both, the chances are its not a problem. If we are not, that may be enough to cause panic. If that's not enough, we can add in all of the other potential stressors - Current, Temperature, visibility, depth, time, Deco status, confidence. Now you can seen easily how we can reach panic. Train for those stressors and they magically start going away in our calculation.

So what to practice - its easy, all of your emergency skills and then anything that you don't like to do. How often - well, as often is reasonable. You can do some of them at safety stops and some on the bottom in a few minutes. It need not be complicated or arduous. Of course, if you aren't comfortable doing something then get comfortable doing it.

Now, what I do. Before every cave dive, I do an S-drill. Essentially, its a bubble check over our gas supplies, a deployment and underwater breathing check on all of our regulators (and hose routing) and a rehash of our gas plan and dive plan. Takes us about a minute. (we also check lights but that less of an issue in OW)

cummings66
03-23-2008, 21:24
Sometimes you actually find real problems during the S drills, I know I found my buddies leak that way. We couldn't fix it though.