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If you dive alone, you die alone ...

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by BCSGratefulDiver, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. markmud

    markmud Self Reliant Diver--On All Dives. ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: South Lebanon, Ohio
    Hi Bond, James Bond,

    Ok, now I think I understand. Sorry if I was confused. I agree with you.

    I got the Solo cert mainly so I could prove proficiency in diving, either solo or in a buddy system. To me it says qualified independent diver with a minimum of 100 logged (certified) dives.

    I got the Tec 40 for three reasons. 1) I wanted a cert that referenced my training to 130 ft. 2) I wanted a comprehensive course of instruction that gave me more background than I needed for recreational diving. 3) The instructor is an awesome diver and good guy. Diving with him is interesting. Paying him to dive with me is a good deal for me.

    I know what you are thinking: "Cert cards, you don't need no stink'in cert cards to go diving."

    I am the guy who shows-up in Moorea--bald, ugly, gringo, and I am now from Ohio (Ohio! Aint no div'n in Ohio!).

    French people don't know who I am. One look at me and they know I dive like I am from Minni-so-cold!

    All I have are my c-cards. And that first dive. Being stuck diving with muppets isn't why I flew 14 hours.

    To iterate, I get it now. I would not have any c-cards beyond AOW and Nitrox if I were diving SoCal, Monterey, or Tahoe, exclusively.

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  2. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    That's the problem, the instructor just covers the basics instead of moulding a good diver.

    I used to argue with boulderjohn about lowering standards, I was wrong. The standards are the same but the majority of instructors don't take the 20+ hours of pool time, and ocean freedive training and 6 scuba dives that my OW instructor did to insure all the students had the muscle memory and proper reaction for diving off the NorCal coast.

    My initial scuba training was longer and harder although I did not get a card, because no one needed one to dive then.

    The RSTC says that two OW divers are able to plan and execute an NDL dive without assistance. Nowhere does it give a depth or conditions limit.

    Kharon and markmud like this.
  3. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA

    It seems about risk/pain/reward, on the boat deck.

    Asking the captain to dive solo is great and the right course. Doing it publicly in front of the assembled passengers, maybe not so great, if that is where you did so. I think the place to advocate is with the captain, or owner, as a paying customer that wants to responsibly dive this way, by standards of an agency they likely operate under.

    For the crew, an issue is that most certifications are only a loose statement of ability. How we approach the crew may help that statement, ‘I’ve been doing X, Y, Z diving and have C, D, and solo certs.’ So the solo cert is part of the bigger picture, and sets a context for any beginners nearby. Rescue, or your Tec 40 and DAN O2 would seem part of setting that picture. Your ‘solo card flash’ came off a bit abrupt.

    I’m not trying to shield new divers from truths, I just think most are busy still working on the basics of control and awareness, for which keeping track of a buddy helps. The option of solo diving and certs is 10’s of dives away for most of them. I might as well clutter their mind about rebreathers v.s. OC trimix for wrecks. That is kind of stretching the point. But good buddy vs bad buddy vs solo, seems to call in question something they are just getting a handle on, environment awareness and redundancy, of a buddy. And the answer doesn’t affect them yet, because they are not experienced enough to make the shift, and the training, or at lest the cert, to do so is not generally available until they are. Bad buddy vs good buddy affects them. Buddy vs solo not so much, and confuses that whole must have and be a good buddy thing, while that is the only type diving available to them. The story changes some if it’s a 25+ dives only boat.

    Bottom-up feedback directed effectively is good. The “gasping, guffaws, and gnashing of teeth can be priceless!” did not paint that picture, maybe it was just that was the reaction you got.

    Constructively educating and moderating the 10 dive self imposed scuba police is great. It seems like ‘advanced training and equipment’ are key phrases. Priceless is having the crew appreciate how you do it, :).

    I think a trained equipped competent responsible solo diver is fairly safe, particularly with a boat with lookout, oxygen, and radio on the surface close to advanced EMS, which is the world of many for hire boats, and likely safer than chasing behind a panic prone new diver. A *similar* solo trained etc. buddy, or two, makes them about as safe as they are going to get, for being offshore and underwater o_O.

    I have sympathy for the beginner’s world, getting to either of those points from a zero dives beginner, surrounded by low dive beginners, is a long process. I learned alongside very good buddy beginners, so I don’t really know how most people work through it. My recent experience is assisting in teaching one of those, vaulted or disparaged, 100 hour cert courses, but we start from AOW divers, and drill being *very* good buddy divers. I do not know the learning world outside that.

    On being an effective advocate, there is a nuclear case to watch out for. Doubles are perfectly reasonable to dive with, yet some boats may not allow them on rec. trips for various reasons, space, extra crew, what ever. I’ve read descriptions that some insurers view boats imposing buddies on certified solo divers as a legal risk and forbid it. It is at least a legal question if that means those boats must support solo diving, no matter how much disruption the divers cause with the passengers and crew. It may be they can just say ‘because of insurance requirements and the costs of rec. trip confusion we only allow certified solo divers on tech trips. Sorry.’ I don’t think solo certified divers are a protected class.

    On cert equivalences, do boat insurance companies now consider all three equal? Insurers may care about details not examined in the SDI one line per cert comparison across a long list of certs. Though I would think that list helps with the public. *If* insurers in the past examined all the certs and judged only some sufficient, it seems hard to transition to accepting new version of those passed over, unless a new cert were created, in terms of effectively distinguishing between an old and a new version of the same named cert.

    I feel the pain of going overseas and wanting support for non-beginners. I’m going to the Caribbean and even pony refill support was not readily apparent.

    Unfortunately the beginner rec. trips and beginner DMs may be a price for more or cheaper boats. I’ve liked 25+ dive boats much better, but they were not always available.

  4. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Great White

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Southern California...too far from the ocean
    When I got my first C-Card it was so that when I walked into a dive shop I could get my tanks filled. That was OK with me but it came with the instruction (1969). It never would have occurred to me to go scuba diving without the proper instruction. Nobody ever told me I would ever have to get another C-Card or take any more scuba courses. To the best of my knowledge there were two levels with NAUI at that time: Scuba Diver or Instructor. I suspect that the instruction was a lot more intense back then and the issue of the C-Card meant that the recipient was qualified to scuba dive. There weren't any actual restrictions other than the limitations we placed upon ourselves based upon our experience or whatever. They covered things like shipwreck entry and cave diving and instructed us according to what was known at the time, but it was up to us to have enough sense to find out more about it before actually doing it, and hopefully find someone with experience from whom to learn. But they trusted us to do that. I got my second card in '83 only because my X-wife took the course and I just wanted to make sure they instructed her properly and thoroughly so I went through it with her. What was new in '83? Aluminum tanks, BCs (now known as BCDs), and SPGs had become standard. No huge differences yet and I managed to keep up without the extra course. About five or so years ago I went on my first dive boat and realized that "Scuba Diver" was not real impressive on my C-Card to I wrote to NAUI and asked for something with more up-to-date terminology. They sent me a new card and so far nobody has questioned my qualifications to do any particular dive but I don't do anything that I would consider particularly risky. Most of my diving has been from Southern California beaches and Catalina and most of the time I was quite happy in 40 feet or less. I have been diving alone almost exclusively for the past 30 or so years. By alone I mean I arrive at the beach alone, go in the water alone, and come back alone. Or jump off my boat alone. It wasn't until I started going to some of the fascinating places I'd read about that I was diving with other people on dive boats. But I was never paired with a buddy until my trip to Cozumel last month. More than anything it seemed like it was not fair to the other guy because I'm always busy taking pictures or videos and not paying attention him anyway. Plus I made the decision to rapidly use up the rest of my air swimming against a strong current because I wanted a video of something up-current. Consequently I was the first one out of air, but fortunately he stayed with the group and surfaced with the rest of them.

    So, since the dive industry is self-regulated they can get away with coming up with all of these different certification levels. Imagine if Driver's Licences were self-regulated. We would have to get a different license for driving on the freeway, driving in the desert, in the mountains, when it's raining, when it's snowing, if we wanted to tow a trailer, etc. And what about the times when I've taken my 4WD on icy mountain trails ALONE. I would have to have a special "Solo" license.

    One thing that seems to be fairly consistent is that many, if not most people here agree that the current training is inadequate in one form or another but there does not seem to be much consensus as to how or what should be changed. The industry just tells us to take another course. One thing I'm sure we don't want is the government getting involved.

    Meanwhile, my 65-year-old girlfriend is on the verge of getting certified and my daughters and sons-in-law are thinking about it and my grandsons are all very aquatic so I'm hoping that by the time they are ready they won't have to take a dozen or more courses at $400-$500 apiece just to go diving someplace nice. One thing is fairly certain though: I probably won't be diving alone for much longer :wink:
  5. Kharon

    Kharon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    +1. My OW had, at most, about 5 hours of actual time in the pool, though we did do 6 "dives" in open water. However the dives were limited to 20 minutes (the absolute minimum required) - 3 dives each day for 2 days and very shallow (15 feet with 20 feet max). The 20 minute limit and shallow depth was so we didn't need a large number of tanks. We could get away with one each day instead of three. And this was a fair amount of time ago. Can't imagine what is going on these days.

    I sincerely thank Nicki (best diver I ever knew) for doing a dive with me after getting my card and then telling me "Your card is a learners permit. You need to practice all those skills you were introduced to till you have them down to a conditioned reflex. Do only one at a time till you perfect it before you move on the next. First buoyancy, then trim, then ...And always, ALWAYS minimize your new task load till you get that conditioned reflex."
  6. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    ... that's a pretty common syndrome, actually ... when I had 100 dives I thought I had it all figured out. At 1000 dives I was beginning to realize there were aspects of diving that I hadn't even known existed at 100. I'm coming up on 4000 dives now, have forgotten more than I knew at 100 dives, and still have lots of questions. It's one of the things I love about diving ... there's always something new to learn about, and the broader your experience the greater the vistas out beyond the horizon of what you know ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  7. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    Not really. I don't get why people need to "flash" a c-card (I do see that term used fairly regularly, though I've never seen anyone actually doing it).

    I do not own a solo card, even though I've logged several hundred solo dives ... some being planned decompression dives well below recreational depths. I've earned a bunch of c-cards over the years ... most get tossed in a drawer in my office never to be seen again. By the time I decided to take up solo, I got a copy of the SDI Solo Diver's manual and read it ... then realized that there was nothing in there I didn't already know, and there was a lot in my repertoire that would be useful for solo diving that wasn't in there. So I just went diving. Most of the local boats don't care ... they know me and have no issues if I want to solo dive. The dive ops I've been on who object ... like the one that started this thread ... strictly forbid it regardless of whether or not you have a solo card. So it wouldn't matter anyway.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
    Captain Swoop likes this.
  8. Adam Grose

    Adam Grose Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Tucson, AZ
    Ha!!!! I LOVE it!! Gotta paint your pony bottle solid black, and put the skull and crossbones in white, and the "Can O' Death" in BRIGHT red. :shark1:

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  9. Captain Swoop

    Captain Swoop Solo Diver

    Death-in-a-Can_zpsavsqxpnq.jpg [/URL]

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
    Adam Grose likes this.

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