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Is UTD still a "fringe" organization?

Discussion in 'Technical Diving' started by onepointfivethumbs, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. Coztick

    Coztick Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: calgary
    I was trying more to point out that minimal differences in gear configuration is negligible compared to diving itself.
    SM can be as "simple" as a couple bungee cords, 1 cylinder, mask and fins.
    I'm guessing he was referencing manifolded doubles when comparing simplicity. Simplicity is subjective matter based on knowledge.
    Preference aside, simplicity is what ever you are most comfortable with. For me, that's SM. YMMV.

    p_kos likes this.
  2. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: acworth ga
    I think the generally accepted definition of simplicity is something that has fewer things to do/work/etc. Less stuff to do and take care of = more simple. More stuff to do and take care of = more complex. Keeping 1 reg in your mouth for the whole dive = simpler than keeping track of what pressures you want to swap regs at and regularly doing regulator exchanges throughout the dive. Putting on a harness that already has tanks attached and getting in the water = simpler than putting on a harness, getting in the water, putting on a tank with 2 attachment points and getting it situation properly while monitoring hose/light cable routing, then putting on another tank and situating its regulators.
    While the more complex can become second nature with practice, it is objectively more things to do and thus more task loading.

    Backmount doubles divers are in the water waiting on their sidemount buddies because their gear is just simpler to get into. They're paying less attention to their gear on the dive because it's simpler to use.
    DiveClimbRide and p_kos like this.

    CAPTAIN SINBAD Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Woodbridge VA
    You seem to have some of the concerns that I used to have. I have taken UTD training and I dive with UTD community a lot. I have also purchased all their materials up to the Tech 1 level so I will share my observations.

    When it comes to quality of training, it would be extremely, extremely difficult to find someone who will train you to the same level as UTD. They do not recognize any distinction between recreational and technical so your performance requirements in their Open Water course are similar to Intro to Tech. You will also study decompression models in their Open Water course while the rest of the world will not burden you with it until you reach Tech.

    While a mainstream recreational diving course is about students doing skills on their knees and then attempting the same skills in neutral buoyancy, UTD Open Water course will have students learning buoyancy and advanced propulsion without any diving gear on them while breathing from the long hose.

    When the student has achieved exact buoyancy and precision then the tank will end up on their back and they will have to demonstrate the same precision while their do basic 6 skills. In the world of UTD, if you do not hold a stop while doing skills you are not ready for diving so buoyancy and precision is the FIRST thing you learn even before you wear a tank on your back!

    This requires a certain amount of time underwater but when a UTD Open Water divers does his / her first dive, their skills are similar to an Intro to Tech diver from any other agency. In short, UTD has designed these drills that are meant to take a layperson from the street, who has no training and take them to the level of a technical diver in the shortest period of time. When it comes to the quality of training, you cant beat these guys.

    While GUE also trains divers to the same level, I have never witnessed a GUE Open Water / Rec 1 course to see how much of UTD teaching methods and prevision drills are also the same with GUE. I have never dived with GUE recreational divers but at technical diving level GUE also has very similar quality and emphasis on precision.

    For me, GUE and UTD were both lagging behind in their acceptance of the more recent decompression research on deep stops. I waited to see how they would address the move to make the deep stops shallow and Jarrod Jablonski responded by writing a four part series in defense of the deep stops. To the best of my knowledge GUE still maintains a 20/85 GF which, though not dangerous, may not be the best reflection of what we understand to be the most effective decompression.

    UTD totally updated their Tech-1 materials and the Ratio Deco 3.0 is more in line with modern understanding of decompression. They recently had this discussion with Dr. Simon Mitchell which explains why they moved their deep stop to be shallower. This move to a shallower deep stops is more in line with the way my own personal preferences towards decompression were evolving.

    Thus if you have access to UTD training and you could rise all the way up in the UTD ladder, then rest assured that you will be given the best training at each level and they are more accepting of evolving scientific landscape than many others.

    Now when it comes to recognition of their C-card, the most tragic thing about the dive industry is that no one really cares about which agency has issued the C-card. A certification card is your license to spend money on a dive business so they would have to be mad to reject that. The liability waiver is what protects most business and the waivers are written where you name your certification level and the agency and then you sign your life away. As long as those two columns are filled, dive business are quite happy to not investigate matters any further.

    If they did investigate the legitimacy of the agency then UTD has an international presence in many parts of the world and they have done some of the more serious dives (diving Hitler's Aircraft Carrier etc) so no one will have any reason to reject your card. People may not recognize it at first glance because UTD does not issue as many cards as PADI or SSI but seeing a C card for the first time and rejecting the card because you are seeing it for the first time are not the same thing.

    I dive with folks from UTD and PSAI which are both very small agencies that issue very little certifications. They go to a lot of places where the dive operation will see their C cards for the first time but never have I heard anyone not being allowed to dive because of that. Sign the death waiver, give the money and jump in mate!

    Lastly James Mott! I have never dived with him but I eat his brain quite a lot over phone. That dude knows his stuff inside out and is great person to learn from. My advice ... Go for it!
  4. Coztick

    Coztick Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: calgary
    Simplicity based on number of steps?
    Sure, you win. If you're considering a few reg swaps and gas management a complexity then SM is not for you!
    Who's getting in before donning cylinders??? When you wiggle in, my harness is already on. I lean towards the cylinders, plug in my wing, left hose/necklace on, right hose behind the neck, clip both upper attachments and stand. Clip bottoms and splash.
    What ever you witnessed isn't normal.
    Most of us manage just fine, even with a couple more tasks and nuances.
    Anytime I've splashed last, it wasn't because I was the last to be ready. I also orally inflate my wing even though it's plugged in... Weird eh?
    Cdncoldwater likes this.
  5. helodriver87

    helodriver87 DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Mexico
    20/85 is still used in classes. In my experience with GUE classes involving deco (C2, T1, CCR1, CCR Cave), time was spent discussing the current state of deco research and how different GF values can be adjusted to fit the dive or the individual. InDepth has also run articles that address the current understanding of deco theory without inserting a defense of the current standard GF. I would expect that standard GF low to increase sometime soon, but that's speculation on my part. It's used in class because the backup method of ratio deco that's taught works ok with it. But I've never left a class feeling like I didn't understand how to adjust values for my own needs or that I couldn't do that.
  6. p_kos

    p_kos Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
    I guess they give you a head start with your harness, or do you arrive at the site already wearing it? Assuming we both start from scratch at the same time, I’ll “wiggle” into my already fully assembled kit as you put your harness on, then I’ll be in the water before you even get one tank squared away. Regardless, diving is not a race and I don’t mind waiting a bit for my slow-mount...I mean side-mount friends :wink: As far as “who gets in before donning cylinders”, just about every side-mount diver on a shore dive, one trip to bring the tanks to the water, then go gear up, then usually get in the water waist deep to don tanks (at least around here). And side-mount divers gearing up on a boat is typically a yard-sale sh!t-show, although that might be more as a result of poor local training (I definitely see much better organization in cave country).
  7. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Working toward Cenotes ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    One difference is that I can stand around chatting or sit around eating in my sidemount harness. So my 'before we put the heavy stuff on' state has a partial headstart. For shore dives, I make one trip to the water, either fully kitted or carrying the right tank by its valve, but my shoreline is prone to surf.

    It seems the UTD knowledgable folk have answered a bit of the original question.
    Cdncoldwater and Coztick like this.
  8. Coztick

    Coztick Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: calgary
    Well I suppose I could compare you to every bm mess I've seen but that would be an ignorant assumption.
  9. p_kos

    p_kos Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
    That’s fair, certainly less work for subsequent dive(s). Only works here when the weather is very cold, otherwise people roast in their drysuits, can’t remember that last time I saw a wetsuit/SM combo locally.
  10. p_kos

    p_kos Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
    I certainly wouldn’t compare you to anyone, after all you might be very skilled and efficient (sounds like you are). I’ve seen some highly skilled and efficient SM divers, just rare to see it locally. But a BM mess on a boat is usually better contained than a SM mess, based on my limited personal experience. Cold water wreck diving with bigger steel tanks and deco bottles certainly exaggerates the differences.

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