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Thread: PADI lacking Solo Diver course

 

  1. #21
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    Firstly, I don't believe that losing your buddy, diving with a negligent buddy, or being a negligent buddy yourself constitutes any form of solo diving. It's just sloppy diving,.... sloppy diving that is given a fancy name to justify it.

    Self-reliance is about not relying on another diver. It's a choice within the buddy system to be prepared to effect self-rescue and/or self-resolution to potential problems that you may encounter. It is a form of personal responsibility taken to the utmost level. Not relying on another diver is a very different scenario to not having another diver present.

    Yes, there are negligent divers out there, who do not follow the procedures they were taught in their training. By labelling them 'insta-buddies' and preparing yourself to abandon/lose them on a dive are you fixing the problem or, in fact, adding to that problem? In my mind, that is simply becoming another 'insta-buddy' yourself.... regardless of what piece of agency plastic you tote in your wallet.

    If I am put with an under-trained, sloppy or under-confident diver, then I will be a good buddy. I will take responsibility for myself (self-reliance) but also maintain good buddy procedures by guiding, advising and directing my below-par buddy.

    I agree completely with String that tech training is the best method for developing true self-reliance underwater. Technical diving is an activity where every diver has to be able to resolve issues without reliance on support. The equipment, intensive training and high standards required to complete those courses is evidence of that. If you haven't got the commitment, discipline, resolve and motivation to take this level of intensive training, then you are aren't at a stage where you should kid yourself that you're going to be a credible solo operator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DevonDiver View Post
    If you haven't got the commitment, discipline, resolve and motivation to take this level of intensive training, then you are aren't at a stage where you should kid yourself that you're going to be a credible solo operator.
    I would have to think that there are a number of solo divers out there who have never taken this type of "intensive training" but are quite capable of safely completing solo dives. It's not really that complicated is it?

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    Can anyone (who teaches it?) give a brief list of what is covered in this Self Reliant course? ei: some specifics about redundancies other than just a pony bottle, some of the stuff other than redundancies. And perhaps compare it to the "Solo" course taught by another agency(s)?

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    As has been pointed out already, PADI is not the only agency that does not teach solo diving. In fact, several agencies, including especially UTD and GUE, are if anything more strongly opposed to it than PADI.

    The only agency I know that teaches it is SDI. Does anyone know another?

    So the question I would ask is what valuable skills would one learn in a solo course that one could not learn from taking other courses?
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    Quote Originally Posted by boulderjohn View Post
    As has been pointed out already, PADI is not the only agency that does not teach solo diving. In fact, several agencies, including especially UTD and GUE, are if anything more strongly opposed to it than PADI.

    The only agency I know that teaches it is SDI. Does anyone know another?

    So the question I would ask is what valuable skills would one learn in a solo course that one could not learn from taking other courses?

    Having just googled the Self Reliant course, I would ask the same question. The only redundancies I don't take (on a deep buddy dive) are slate and spare mask. But I have spare masks and have used my slate. I assume one should consider taking all (or most of) the redundancy stuff listed on any reasonably deep dive, solo or not. So what else happens in the course other than just doing the 3 required dives? Tongue and cheek: If the Instructor doesn't go on the dives with you it's not solo. If he doesn't go what does he do--wait on the boat and hope you surface then certify you?
    Last edited by TMHeimer; May 28th, 2011 at 03:45 PM.
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    One reason for doing the SDI Solo course is that some of the liveaboards(Explorer Ventures) requires a cert in order to do solo dives off their boats. Th
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    Thanks for starting this thread. I am almost finished with my dive master (PADI) course, and have been considering adding a solo certification sometime next year. I have been considering the solo certification for these reasons:

    1. Local diving conditions almost create a solo experience. I dive off the shores of Long Island and NJ. Some great wrecks. However, viz on a good day is 15 to 20 feet. Most often we get 10. I have "lost" my buddy before more than once because we got more than 10 feet apart. We had clipped off wreck reels to the mooring line and were able to reunite quickly underwater. In fact, we usually plan for buddy separation because it happens. We use lines to ascend and descend. And all of us have learned to fire an SBM underwater. I am now in the process of adjusting my equipment to side mount an AL 40 pony bottle with separate gauge. I realize that PADI may consider these "technical" skills, but they are necessary for recreational diving here.

    2. I feel I need more gas management information. It wasn't until I started my dive master that I got really introduced to gas management skills. I wish I had part of this information early on. I find I plan my dive more thoroughly, allowing for the OMG moments -- and I'm really more relaxed in the water. I think better gas management skills make me a better buddy because I do plan for the OMG moments.

    3. I am not always the best buddy. I am a budding underwater photographer. It's so easy for me to get wrapped up in taking pictures that I can miss an OOA signal from my buddy until he/she is yanking on my Octo. I have gotten in the habit of taking a couple of shots and checking my gauges and computer and then go back to taking pictures. My favorite vaca buddy for warm water diving is also a photographer. We dive very similarly and rarely get to far from the boat. Every 5 minutes or so we wave to each other and then go back to taking pictures. I will say that sometimes all we see are each others bubbles because I might be at the top of the wreck or formation and George may be at the bottom.

    I guess the biggest thing is that I have a strong desire to be self reliant. Until I took my dive master course, I really didn't have a lot of experience (practical) solving problems underwater EXCEPT for what my instructors taught us that is "outside" of the OW/AOW manuals. At the end of my OW class, my instructor asked us if we wanted to dive with him that afternoon. All of us newbies said SURE!!!! And we got introduced to some self rescue skills like firing an SBM underwater and reeling yourself up it, how to untangle yourself, clipping off a wreck reel, laying a line and following it back. I would really like to take a solo course just to have more experience in underwater problem solving. (Of course, now that I have said that, a couple of my favorite dive buddies will be "dragging" me to the quarry just to get more practice. :-)

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    I'd be really interested to take a Solo course, if it was instructional. Everyone I've spoken with about SDI's course indicates that it's really just a certification, not so much an education. As a non-solo diver, this doesn't interest me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aquaregia View Post
    I'd be really interested to take a Solo course, if it was instructional. Everyone I've spoken with about SDI's course indicates that it's really just a certification, not so much an education. As a non-solo diver, this doesn't interest me.
    Yes, me too. I want an instructor to tell me what I don't know so I can rationalize increasing my solo dives to beyond 30 feet.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by didi440 View Post
    Thanks for starting this thread. I am almost finished with my dive master (PADI) course, and have been considering adding a solo certification sometime next year. I have been considering the solo certification for these reasons:
    A solo course won't benefit you unless you change some of your assumptions about diving. That is not meant as criticism ... I've met enough NJ wreck divers to understand that there's some significant differences between how I think and how you think about diving. But what you're doing now makes buddy separation almost inevitable for you ... and buddy separation is not solo diving. Therefore the solo diver course curriculum doesn't really address your needs, although you would probably pick up a few things that would be helpful. Of more benefit would be to ... as my friend Uncle Pug used to tell me ... rethink your approach to the dive ... see below ...

    Quote Originally Posted by didi440 View Post
    1. Local diving conditions almost create a solo experience. I dive off the shores of Long Island and NJ. Some great wrecks. However, viz on a good day is 15 to 20 feet. Most often we get 10. I have "lost" my buddy before more than once because we got more than 10 feet apart. We had clipped off wreck reels to the mooring line and were able to reunite quickly underwater. In fact, we usually plan for buddy separation because it happens. We use lines to ascend and descend. And all of us have learned to fire an SBM underwater. I am now in the process of adjusting my equipment to side mount an AL 40 pony bottle with separate gauge. I realize that PADI may consider these "technical" skills, but they are necessary for recreational diving here.
    Well, first off ... any reasonable buddy team shouldn't have any difficulties staying together in 10 feet of vis if they decide to. It requires you to first adopt an attitude that this is "our" dive as opposed to this is "my" dive, and develop your buddy skills accordingly. Dive to be seen. At first it might seem like effort, because you're going to be changing some behavior that's become habitual to you ... but as the new behavior becomes habitual you will discover that it's quite easy to maintain visual contact with your buddy ... because you've fundamentally decided to. Those habits you need to change include looking around more often, positioning yourself where your buddy can see you more easily, and using a dive light in a manner that makes it simple for your buddy to track your position. Oh ... and if you're in the habit of swimming fast, slowing down makes it much easier to recognize a developing separation and doing something about it before you lose each other. These are not difficult habits to learn ... you just have to decide they're worth learning. Here's an article I wrote for my AOW students that describes these habits in a bit more detail.

    Quote Originally Posted by didi440 View Post
    2. I feel I need more gas management information. It wasn't until I started my dive master that I got really introduced to gas management skills. I wish I had part of this information early on. I find I plan my dive more thoroughly, allowing for the OMG moments -- and I'm really more relaxed in the water. I think better gas management skills make me a better buddy because I do plan for the OMG moments.
    Oh, I completely agree ... better gas management skills is something that all of the major agencies could easily teach, but choose not to. To my concern, it's the most important aspect of diving that they've made a deliberate decision to withold from their students. I have another article that I have been teaching at the AOW level for years ... very successfully.

    Quote Originally Posted by didi440 View Post
    3. I am not always the best buddy. I am a budding underwater photographer. It's so easy for me to get wrapped up in taking pictures that I can miss an OOA signal from my buddy until he/she is yanking on my Octo. I have gotten in the habit of taking a couple of shots and checking my gauges and computer and then go back to taking pictures. My favorite vaca buddy for warm water diving is also a photographer. We dive very similarly and rarely get to far from the boat. Every 5 minutes or so we wave to each other and then go back to taking pictures. I will say that sometimes all we see are each others bubbles because I might be at the top of the wreck or formation and George may be at the bottom.
    This gets back to those fundamental habits I was talking about. What you're describing are choices that you and your dive buddy are making. Different choices would make it much easier for the two of you to dive together successfully ... even if you both have cameras ... even in low visibility. Here's another article that describes how.

    Quote Originally Posted by didi440 View Post
    I guess the biggest thing is that I have a strong desire to be self reliant. Until I took my dive master course, I really didn't have a lot of experience (practical) solving problems underwater EXCEPT for what my instructors taught us that is "outside" of the OW/AOW manuals. At the end of my OW class, my instructor asked us if we wanted to dive with him that afternoon. All of us newbies said SURE!!!! And we got introduced to some self rescue skills like firing an SBM underwater and reeling yourself up it, how to untangle yourself, clipping off a wreck reel, laying a line and following it back. I would really like to take a solo course just to have more experience in underwater problem solving. (Of course, now that I have said that, a couple of my favorite dive buddies will be "dragging" me to the quarry just to get more practice. :-)
    Self-reliance is a good thing ... it's a GREAT thing, actually. But it doesn't replace good buddy skills, because the most fundamental thing you need to develop both as a buddy AND as a self-reliant diver ... and especially as a solo diver ... is good AWARENESS of what's going on around you during your dive. All those problem-solving skills you mention are great skills to develop ... but the most important skill is that of looking around and assessing what's going on as you dive ... and using that awareness to make decisions that'll preclude the necessity of problem-solving in the first place ...

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