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I believe that much of the time "old ways" are no longer applicable especially in equipment heavy sports like diving. When a piece of equivalent comes along to supplant a skill, knowing how to use that device well will result in better overall skills (if this is not true than the equipment is pointless.) You don't need to know most old diving skills to be a good diver today, but much of the time they help develop modern skills faster.
For example; I'm sure buoyancy control and weighting were different things before BCDs, and not particularly useful skills now that no-BCD diving is rare. If someone had to choose, learning the nuances of controlling an air bubble and the how long to hold down "inflate" to get the desired effect is more useful. Weighting can be off by a few pounds and not cause any serious problem in comparison to the time before BCDs (although the closer you get it, the easier everything becomes.)
But, if a diver learned to control his buoyancy without a BC first, even for an hour in the pool during their OW class with the power inflator disconnected, they would ultimately be a better diver. They would at least know that lungs can be used for fine tuning, and they can practice that skill during the rest of their diving career. If they had never had that hour without a power inflator, they may have taken much longer to realize the usefulness of lungs for buoyancy.
This is similar to flying, where there are two styles of landing gear. There's the tricycle gear (one wheel in front, two in back) and the taildragger or "conventional" gear (the older configuration, with two in front and one in back). Most people don't take the time to learn how to fly a taildragger - there just aren't that many around, so the utility of learning the skill is limited for the majority of pilots.
However, if you learn how to fly the unstable taildragger, the skills transfer back to a newer tricycle gear. Pilots who fly or have flown taildraggers usually have much improved speed and rudder control - things that some pilots don't develop until later on. The old skills and ways accelerates a pilot's learning significantly; you can be a good pilot without knowing how to fly a taildragger, but it's easier to become better faster if you do.
In both cases, learning how to do something the old way, the hard way, forces a person to develop a skill faster. I think skin diving and no BC diving skills make a modern scuba diver much more competent over a diver who never took the time to learn the skills. Plus who doesn't want to learn about how someone dives in control with only a mask, tank, some straps and two one-piece rubber fins?
There are a lot of old school divers that have 1 years experience, 25 times. There are a lot of new divers that have two years experience taking demanding courses and racking up 100s of dives.
The new diver has the technical edge, the old school diver has managed to muddle through a few screw ups without killing himself. The main difference I see is that the new diver gets cockier and cockier and the old diver gets more and more conservative.
Then there are the hundreds of old divers with the faded BC, gear that hasn't been serviced this century, who dive once a year on opening day of lobster season. It makes you realize that scuba equipment is put together pretty well and it is a pretty safe sport when you take into consideration the number of people that do it on an occasional basis. Most of the lobster deaths are boat and medical issues, not training related.
I can relate to your questions living here in the North East. We have a lot of what I call "Old School" divers that have been diving a certain way (Gear line over shoulder, Jersey up line, etc...) for a long time and they are still here today and it works for them. Now you have a wave of divers (what i believe in) that fall into the "newer" wave of diving (more buoyancy control, streamlining of gear, wreck reels, etc..) and that works too. One reason for us getting to where we are at is from continuing our education. I use to have and use some of those older techniques. Over the years I took a tec class, from there I went on to full Cave (Florida- more advanced conditions then Mexico). Even though I teach classes up through Trimix, just 2 years ago I took a Fundies class. This year I am planning on getting certified on both rEvo & Kiss rebreathers.
So basically what I am saying (IMHO) is that a Diver/Instructor should evolve as the sport evolves. It is always good to get experience and to be a student again and unfortunately, the day we stop learning is the day we die. You will never hear me say that "I know it all." I learn something on every dive I go on. When taking a class, don't just sign up. Take the time an interview a couple of instructors and find out what you are going to get out of the program. This way if a class is more expensive, you can then justify it. The worst thig you can do is call up and just ask for the price of class without asking for details and your Instructor experience. You can't come down on "Older" diver vs. "Newer" divers because I have seen plenty of these "older" divers who have decided to get educated again and take a quality class and have made the switch over to the newer philosophies (buoyancy, finning, gear config, etc..) of diving. We can go on and on about this, but in the end you have to decide on what philosophies make sense to you and to stay current (take a class once in a while) with the sport.
I also think that from an instructor side of things that you need to get in personal diving as well, where you are not working with students. From an instructor side of things, this is sometimes hard to do, but i feel it is important to make the time and do it. Find the balance and get the "experience" in.
I would or can consider myself older but still willing to learn...... & I like my equipment line!
Your right! (?who ever said it) people today have the best technology; best resources and the equipment isn't bad either. Compared to 20 yrs. ago All this leads to better tools to go places you desire to reach, in an easier method or technique. It still must be learned whether your young or old, other wise the risks can be raised beyond all technique or method used! Train not for the what if but the what can!
The guy that knows it all can't learn. how simple is that.
See you topside! John
Last edited by JKPAO; February 25th, 2010 at 05:41 PM.
Crap. I promised DCBC I'd be the first to respond.
I believe the "wisdom" of the past has a lot of value but the context has changed so much that the value can be skewed or lost. ...In this sense, in the sense of *knowing* what can happen, I can imagine the older generation having the inside track. I can imagine them being acutely aware of things taht I only see as theoretical possibilities.
I guess you were taking your afternoon nap.
Looking at it from a diver training perspective, the largest change I've seen is the advancement of technology. This is a good thing, but it seems that today's divers are more ready to depend upon the technology to make-up for less training and in-water ability.
I'm not saying that people are not as capable as they once were, but the situation has changed so that they don't need to be. People can actually dive without the need to be a swimmer, in that they can use FMS for the swim test and drownproof. I used FMS at 5 years of age, learned to drownproof at 7 and to swim when I was 8. Using FMS and drownproofing isn't swimming, but today it's all that's needed for many.
When discussing this, I hear scuba is not swimming and other such comments. All I can say, is if you are a non-swimmer and you dive where I do, you will not likely get back to the boat alive. I suppose if you have a DM hold your hand and are diving in vacation land, you can get by, but there is definitely a change in attitude today.
When it comes to diving equipment and diving education, the values of older (age) divers are often discarded out-of-hand, although they may not be fully understood by a younger generation. Youth has little time for what has come before and progress by making the way "better" based upon their unique view of reality.
At other times the differences lie in the length of time people have been diving (experience) or how they have seen recreational diving change over the years. How are age differences and experience levels beneficial in discussions on SB, or are they harmful? Can the wisdom of the past be embraced or should it be? What's your opinion?
Originally Posted by DCBC
I'm not saying that people are not as capable as they once were, but the situation has changed so that they don't need to be. ... I suppose if you have a DM hold your hand and are diving in vacation land, you can get by, but there is definitely a change in attitude today.
It is the obligation of youth and inexperience to be eager, impetuous, irreverent and impulsive. From that perspective, I do not see diving as particularly different from many aspects of life. In the context of diving, equipment has made diving easier for many, or at least removed part of the obligation to be able to do things such as swim, in some cases think, etc. In other endeavors, I see many of the same things. In flying, for example, the color, moving map GPS seems to have eliminated, at least for for some, the need to be able to actually navigate with a compass, or use a chart, or employ basic pilotage to get from one place to another. But, the obligation of age is to adapt to those changes, for we (supposedly) have the wisdom and experience to help our younger / newer colleagues put them into proper context. I believe that SB actually provides a valuable forum to facilitate just that. New divers (not necessarily 'chronologically deficient') can ask questions, and learn from other divers who have more experience, possibly more wisdom, to share. But, if we are to help the impetuous youth avoid some obvious (to us) pitfalls, we cannot stop learning either. Just because I learned to dive doubles using a backmount rig doesn't mean I should consider sidemount to be the devil's work. Just because I learned to 'buddy breath' the REAL way, doesn't mean I should be incapable of seeing the practicality of using octos.
Last edited by Colliam7; February 27th, 2010 at 07:22 AM.
DCBC - As always I found your post and this thread very thought-provoking, and I confess that I tend to bemoan the fact that so many divers these days are poor swimmers.
I got to thinking in general about the new versus the old, and about change, and it occurred to me that I couldn't think of a single human activity that was not embroiled in controversy. Not one! Even something so fundamental and well-established and basic as breast feeding has been the subject of lively and emotional debate.
Unfortunately, many discussions like this go nowhere because they lack logical, factual, or scientific discipline. Without that discipline, most human utterances can be reduced to "I am better than you because..."
I think my nature most people are lazy. Old old school a person could use a slide rule and get a answer quicker than a calculator. Old school a person would use a calculator instead of calculating a simple math question. Not too old school, a person has no idea how to use a calculator, they use their computer. Present day, they do not even have a idea how to calculate the answer....they Google it and find someone else's answer.
Same thing with SCUBA...A person does not need to know how to dive, their computer will tell them how to dive......
We both have something to learn from each other....hopefully we are all paying attention......