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Looking for Advice for training progression.

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by jtsfour, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. jtsfour

    jtsfour Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Alabama
    Hey all!

    I am looking for some advice in deciding the training path i should take.

    I have been diving for 8 years and only have around 60 dives.

    I have trained with SSI my current certs are OW and EAN40.

    Right now i want to go to Tech and Cave diving. I would say right now i am in a state of "i don't know what i don't know"

    Right now i am very comfortable in the water BUT my buoyancy and trim need a good bit of work to move toward perfection. (still flail around like a goofball but i'm working on it)

    Whatever path i take i know i will need to practice practice practice.....

    I have the gear and the means and the time to get a ridiculous amount of practice in various places.

    My LDS (SSI btw) states rec deep and stress and rescue as a prerequisite to their extended range classes.

    My LDS no longer teaches extended range classes so my current plan is to continue honing my skills and take stress and rescue & rec deep this fall.

    I live close enough to cave country to make regular trips and take training there.

    I would love your input on progressing to tech and cave diving also on how good i need to be before even attempting to move forward.

    Are there any other classes i should take other than rescue and deep?

    I am open to conversation & open to criticism.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    if you want to be a cave diver, take cave courses from a cave instructor. Don't bother with some bogus OW rescue course, or whatever rec deep actually means *probably nothing if your OW course was taught properly*.
    Being in Bama, Cave Adventurers is going to be your best bet, and I'd talk with them first
    jtsfour likes this.
  3. DogDiver

    DogDiver Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Branford, Florida
    You will need 100 or more logged dives to begin comprehensive cave training.
    Doppler likes this.
  4. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    I don't completely agree with tbone on not taking Rescue and Deep. But, I do agree strongly with the real message there.

    You know what direction you want to go. Focus on finding who you want to train with for your long-term goals and then get their advice on your path.

    In the process of choosing who you want to train with, you might identify more than one candidate. You could try taking some basic courses, like Deep or Rescue, or Cavern, or whatever with them. That will let them assess you to best advise you, and for YOU to assess them and decide if their "style" works for you.
    jtsfour likes this.
  5. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: United States
    Right now you've got an average of less than 8 dives a year. That's nowhere near enough experience to be a safe technical/cave diver.

    So, with that out of the way, your best bet right now is to dive a lot. You need to be really competent in the water before you head down that path. "Flailing around like a goofball" is pretty much the opposite of where you want to be. Comfort and competence are two separate things, so I would suggest you link with an instructor who is willing to work on your basic skills for a bit. Take an "into to tech" class or similar so that you are familiar with the gear and techniques and then commit to diving that way until your baseline skill level is good. Doesn't mean you need to dive doubles every dive, you can work on those skills even recreationally. The important thing is that you are practicing those skills on every dive, and you are committed to diving enough that you maintain those skills.

    At that point, whether it's the same instructor or a different one, then you can start down the cave/technical path. Your comfort and competence level when you start is going to be directly related to your success in safely completing a cave/technical class, so I really can't stress enough that you want to do a lot of work beforehand, and you're not going to get to that level with your current frequency of diving, so definitely step it up. There are lots of good instructors in N. Florida, and also some crappy ones, so interview them, figure out who you mesh with, and choose an instructor that isn't going to let you slide on through.

    You'll find that a lot of what you've learned on recreational courses doesn't translate to technical/cave diving. Dealing with an emergency in a stress and rescue type of class is about 180 degrees out from how you will deal with it in an overhead environment, so if your ultimate goal is to cave dive or do decompression dives, find an instructor who will teach you rescue skills specific to those aspects of diving. You'll also get more experience going "deep" in Florida caves than you will going to 40m, swimming a couple compass headings, and looking at a slate full of colors and doing some easy math.

    Direct what you're doing towards skill-based learning. Anything that can make you a better diver will help you out in the long run, but make sure you're learning skills that will actually translate.
    EireDiver606, Doppler, Schwob and 4 others like this.
  6. jtsfour

    jtsfour Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Alabama
    Thanks that is a really helpful comment. How proficient should i be before starting intro to tech? Are there any common specialty classes i should take? Will i just learn those specialty skills when learning tech anyway?
  7. elgoog

    elgoog DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco Bay area
    +1. You can do this in a single tank too if you're not able to immediately get into doubles. The base skills remain almost exactly the same.

    There are options for this depending on your location, travel flexibility and instructor availability - GUE Fundies/TDI ITT/ UTD Essentials. Many also use the Cavern class to learn these skills but, personally, I feel like there was enough additional stuff being added in Cavern that having buoyancy, trim, propulsion, etc already squared away was super useful.
    wetb4igetinthewater likes this.
  8. Dan_P

    Dan_P DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Scandinavia
    If you know you want to scale to tech/cave, I'd advise giving a close look to training organizations that have saddled up for that specific contingency, in terms of how their training is structured.
    Further, it sounds like you're interested in working on your base skillset (avoid flailing, and develop comfort/awareness in-water).

    From this, I'd say an Essentials (UTD) / Foundational (GUE) / Basics (ISE) course would probably be a solid bid for your attention. All of those organizations built their education, amongst other things, to help divers progress most effectively towards tech/cave/wreck.

    To disclaim, I am an instructor with UTD, which is why I've listed that one first. In fairness, though, you might well have to evaluate which - if any - are available near you, and/how how far you're willing to travel for it.
    Of the three, I can only speak for that one - and I'm supremely confident that you'll be happy with an Essentials-course. Probably you'll get loads of great feedback on all of those courses, though.
    wetb4igetinthewater likes this.
  9. sea_otter

    sea_otter DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Jose, CA
    I had about 50 dives spread across many years when I took GUE Fundamentals. It teaches the basic skills of teamwork, propulsion techniques, buoyancy, and trim to be a more comfortable and confident recreational diver, and it teaches what you'll need to learn to embark down a more technical path.

    When I did the class, I had no ambition of progressing beyond recreational limits. I did it in a single tank with my only goal to become a better diver. I definitely accomplished that. As I've started diving much more regularly and slowly progressing towards more technical environments and more advanced training, it's still by far the most valuable class I've ever taken.

    OMANDIVER DIR Practitioner

    Are you able to access any wreck diving? This can be a very interesting and rewarding path and one which will be useful if you end up in overhead environments or doing deco dives. I think I would focus on doing interesting recreational diving you really enjoy and having got another 100 dives under your belt, you may see your way ahead more clearly, whether cave or whatever.

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