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Thread: Criteria for solo diver course (your input)

  1. #1
    TadPole
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    Criteria for solo diver course (your input)

    Okay, we've talked (and bitched) about the pros and cons of solo diving. So I'd like to hear from the solo divers out there.....what would your criteria be for a solo course (skills/equipment/experience/attitude/etc.)? You're the instructor.....how would you teach this course?

  2. #2
    Shark
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozarkdiver View Post
    what would your criteria be for a solo course (skills/equipment/experience/attitude/etc.)? You're the instructor.....how would you teach this course?
    PREREQUISITES
    A. Minimum age: 18 years.
    B. Minimum certification: AOW or equivalent.
    C. Minimum of 50 logged dives.
    D. Release forms signed, medical waivers, and the usual paperwork

    REQUIRED Gear
    A. Basic dive equipment
    B. A redundant air source with it's own dedicated first and second stage regulator (pony, independant or manifolded doubles, etc. Spare air is not acceptable)
    C. Two cutting tools, such as shears, knife, or line cutter
    D. A compass
    E. At least one audible and one visual surface signalling device.
    F. A spare mask

    REQUIRED SKILLS
    A. Demonstrate good predive planning, including calculation of estimated air consumption, appropriate turn times, and a lost gas bailout plan
    B. Demonstrate ability to execute dives according to plan
    C. Demonstrate ability to rig redundant breathing system, and to deploy it in a simulated out of air scenario
    D. Demonstrate ability to streamline gear so as to minimize entanglement hazards
    E. Demonstrate safe descent/ascent rates and safety stop.
    F. Demonstrate proficiency with compass navigation by swimming a pre-determined route and surfacing within a reasonable distance from the expected endpoint;
    G. Demonstrate use of surface signaling devices.
    H. Demonstrate ability to doff and don gear at at depth not less than 15 meters/45 feet in order to remove entanglement.
    I. Demonstrate ability to remove an entanglement with a cutting tool while submerged.
    J. Demonstrate ability to deploy and clear a backup mask if the first is lost or damaged.
    Last edited by MSilvia; 06-26-2008 at 11:49.
    Matt Silvia

  3. #3
    Grouper
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    I think I would focus a lot on gear, including what you should have and ways to set it up (ie pony slinging). Also, self rescue skills...being able to get out of entrapment, getting your gear off and on in the water, on top of the water. I would have "solo dives" where the instructor would follow the diver and shut off air, rip off his mask, rip out his reg, etc. to simulate emergencies. Navigation would have to be tip top, as well as being able to swim a long distance on the surface with gear...say 100-200 yds.
    Get Wet,
    Eric

  4. #4
    Shark
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    A swimming requirement would be a good addition to what I said. Good call emcbride81.
    Matt Silvia

  5. #5
    Guppy
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    My LDS just ran a solo diver course (SDI I think) and the personal requirements to register were that the diver be experienced (at least 100 dives) and comfortable in the water. I don't know if there were gear requirements to take the course or if one could rent the needed equipment if neccesary.

  6. #6
    Grouper
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    It would also be a damm good AOW course not just solo

  7. #7
    Grouper
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain View Post
    It would also be a damm good AOW course not just solo

    That is a great point...we should start our own agency!
    Get Wet,
    Eric

  8. #8
    Shark Founding Member
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    Cool

    Having never taken the current SDI solo class....I have read the manual, it covers the basics very well and of course a good instructors input and dives will provide the back bone of the class.

    I persl. love solo diving in many different settings and even technical diving solo is an activity I find challenging on occasion.
    PADI Divemaster, TDI Advanced Trimix

  9. #9
    TadPole
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    Having taken the solo course (I have a card), I found the minimum criteria they require to be sufficient - but that is only one part of it. The second part of the equation is really what has been mentioned above: the diver's own confort/confidence level. For that, I don't really know a good way to quantify it other than perhaps going diving with each the individual in the course and carefully watching them go through their gear set up, their pre-dive planning, then assessing them through the dive to make sure they appear confident in their skills.

    The bottom line is that most who take the class have already been solo diving before hand. Like me, the class was only for personal reasons (in case I was ever questioned on a dive boat), which to date (two-plus years) has never come up.

    In the class I took, we did have a pool sesson where the instructor (and his assistant) went around and shut off our air, and gave us "pop quizes" with slates that had various scenarios on it (e.g., you BC inflator hose won't stop inflating) and then watched you as you solved the problem. After that, we did an open dive in the ocean and we were each followed by a dive master (from afar) to watch how we did.

    In the end, I really didn't learn a whole lot, but it did give me the confidence in knowing that I was already doing things I should be doing.

  10. #10
    TadPole
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    In answer to MSilvia

    Your quote "Demonstrate ability to remove an entanglement with a cutting tool while submerged."

    I agree with you that an entanglement is a hazard a solo diver (or any diver, for that matter) should be prepared for, but do you think a dive agency would allow a simulated entanglement in their training? I'm willing to bet they would lower the hammer on that one for liability reasons. When you consider the training scenario, what if something happens to the instructor while the trainee is entangled? He makes an emergency ascent, and the trainee (who's hasn't figured out how to untangle himself) is trapped and panics.

    I agree it would be a good skill to teach, just not sure how to do it.

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