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How well does scuba diving and knowing how to swim 20 laps non-stop...in an olympic sized pool, with no scuba gear on, relate?
I rarely ever swim extended distances in the water, even in rescue scenarios, without some sort of extra buoancy or propulsion. (Wetsuit, BC, fins, etc.). The need to be able to "swim like a fish" in order to scuba dive or be a professional...is overkill if you ask me.
Although... knowing how to swim "well"...does make you a more confident person in water at the surface (less likely to panic)..You'll rarely, if ever, need the skills of an olympic/lifeguard swimmer to scuba dive or to be a scuba "Professional" for that matter.
Knowing how to swim will suffice, unless you plan on supervising swimmers (non-divers) at a beach..during a rip current. Then you would want the training of lifeguard swimmers..etc.
Even the best swimmers, can still drown...when panic sets in. Perhaps instead of increasing the swim requirements...certification agencies should offer a class on how to avoid panic.
Panic and water don't mix... no matter your swim skills.
CincyBengalsFan once bubbled... I was wondering what the opinion is of most folks out there about the swimming capabilities of instructors and DM's or any dive professional for that matter.
Right now the swim's at the IDC's and IE's for whichever agency except the YMCA are bunny. You can be a very poor swimmer and get through them.
Do you think the swim's at these classes and exams should be tougher?
Also, do you think that dive professionals should have some kind of lifeguard training since the agencies allow "Indirect" supervision in some training?
My first reaction is that it's a good idea for the physical fitness benefits that come with learning to swim well..... As for it's direct applicability to scuba, however, I'm not sure it's really that much of a benefit. The accident stats don't bear out the conclusion that many people are having accidents or dying as a result of indirect supervision during training and the benefit to be gained by making all the instructors better (good) swimmers is marginal at best.
The accident stats *do* however seem to bear out the conclusion that many instructors are struggling with teaching buoyancy control. Something like 60-odd% of fatal incidents involve some sort of loss of buoyancy control. If we're going to teach instructors how to do something better in the name of safety lets see if we can improve their ability to teach buoyancy skills instead.
I agree with just about everyting said so far. When I took my NASDS OW class in 1971, no swimming was involved. When I took the SSI refresher course years later, they did not make me swim. However, I am currently taking a group from my church through the local PADI LDS OW class, and for the first class we had to do the 200 yard swim and the 10 min tread water. And I thought (but managed not to say), this is the one and only time you'll ever need this skill in Scuba diving. If you ever find yourself without your wetsuit (or dry), without your BC, fins, mask, all alone... no buddy or boat... a 4 lap pool swim ain't gonna' help you.
However, I do agree that good swimming ability equals better overall water skills and confidence.
roturner once bubbled...
If we're going to teach instructors how to do something better in the name of safety lets see if we can improve their ability to teach buoyancy skills instead.
I can agree totally with this. I just brought up another issue which is the swimming ability of instructors. I know of an instructor that struggles with his long swims. But, I was just looking for good civil opinions and that's exactly what I got.
But however another point is DiveMasters on boats. Now these guys do have to act like life guards and should be very strong swimmers. I know of this as I worked for BlackBeards out of Miami back in '97. Not to mention I've got a half dozen friends now that still work on dive boats and I hear their stories of rescue on the surface.
I'm a pretty good swimmer...competed in college in swimming & springboard diving, now do long ocean races, etc. Most of the time this doesn't relate much to my ability as an instructor. Last year during a surface interval had a diver ask if he could jump in & swim (no current, flat ocean)...I said "go ahead." About 30 seconds later his dad said to me "help my son; he's drowning." Well, he wasn't drowning, but he wasn't swimming either. So I jumped in & towed him to the ladder, no problem. (I'd been a lifeguard for about 10 years or so as well.) Apparently he was one of those divers who CAN'T swim, but, unbelievably, had forgotten about it.
Anyhow, he was fine, didn't need any medical attention or anything like that, all in a day's work, and a very rare occurance. But if I HADN'T been a competent swimmer, I would have had to look for a ring buoy, toss it to him, find someone else prepared to help, etc...reducing my "instant response" options.
While I enjoy swimming as exercise, I don't think DMs & instructors need to be fast or especially strong swimmers...but for overall comfort in the water, most (not all!) people need to at least know they can stay afloat, make reasonable progress in the water if needed. I find it hard to believe that MOST people who can't swim will not be more prone to panic when flooding/losing a mask underwater, having a BCD leak on the surface, etc. There are exceptions, of course...great swimmers who are hopeless divers, and vice versa, but in general, I think being a decent swimmer and diving are, as Martha Stewart would say "a GOOD thing."
(formerly "Iruka" until message board ate that name somehow)