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Question for active DMs and Instructors ...

Discussion in 'Thinking of a Diving Career?' started by CAPTAIN SINBAD, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Yeah I agree with all of that. But the stuff you mention-towing, pulling, waves, rocky shore, etc. has IMO nothing to do with any real "swimming" strokes, techniques (such as a proper crawl or breast stroke, butterfly, etc.). Those things have to do with being physically fit to do the job-- a lot to do with the "scuba"stroke--kick properly with strong legs. Use of fins and perhaps other scuba gear--mask, snorkel or more--has very little to do with swimming.

    Frosty, I think we are on the same page. I just get tired of people relating the sport of swimming to the activity of diving.
    As you say, you can be in tremendous physical shape and stink at either one or both.
  2. abscuba

    abscuba Contributor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Florida
    It is definitely a difficult thing to measure physical fitness for conducting rescue. I would argue that sport strokes are less important than techniques used by life guards. The US Marine Corps ran into the same issue with its fitness test you had guys who could run fast and looked great on paper, but it was not the fitness needed for fighting. So they hired folks to develop a test that would measure fitness needed for combat and came out with a new test. They still have the original, but now the new test is required once a year. It would be interesting if the dive agencies took a similar approach.
  3. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Absolutely. Several years ago I checked into how the swim tests have changed, and I think there was a little modification by PADI quite a number of years ago. I think there should be more than assessing superior "comfortability" in water as a purpose. Perhaps gearing tests more toward what's needed physically for doing a rescue. But that's something from a very old Going Pro thread. In there I listed my own thoughts on altering the tests. There are varying opinions on the purposes of both the DM and OW swim tests. I wonder how much thought agencies have given to that in the last 20 years or so.
  4. Hoyden

    Hoyden ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Rockville, MD
    I am a 53 year old female instructor and I can meet that requirement. I believe that it indicates a level of fitness and watermanship as well as indicating that I would be capable of effecting a rescue if needed.
  5. johnnyafrica

    johnnyafrica Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Personally, of all the situations where I've had to actually swim in water, it's always been with fins and a mask at the least. I';m the most negative buoyant person you'll meet so it's probably more of a hazard to the person that needs rescuing if I jumped in without any gear.

    As for the DM course, I did my 400m swim on one of the last days after putting it off because of how hectic each day was. I was so tired that I started out free styling and after maybe 50m, I was like nope and went on my back and proceeded to just kick (not even a backstroke). Still managed to do it under 11 min though!
    TMHeimer likes this.
  6. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    You did it under 11 minutes and for 87.5% of the 400 you didn't use arms at all? I am impressed--particularly that unlike scuba, I believe with swimming you get 75% of your forward power from arm strokes.
  7. SFLScubapro

    SFLScubapro Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Florida
    I SUCK at swimming and on my PADI DM cert, I barely squeaked in with minimum scores, most of it done on my back; on my SSI portion, similar and my SDI portion, the same. However, put me in a mask, snorkel and fins (or just fins) and I'll take out firemen carrying hoses (underwater) with my leg strength.

    I've done numerous rescues, tired diver tows (just yesterday had to do one for two groups of OW1-2 students: 16 students: a Longgg day for beach dives) and am in my mid-fifties. So, while the watermanship tests are clearly required and tell us the comfort levels of students, in my humble opinion, if WE can SWIM the distance doesn't tell the real scenario. In practically every circumstance, I'll have at least fins on and then, I can swim a mile with no issues; and if I am a mile from other folk's help, I shouldn't have been there in the first place.

    I think our pro exams need to be much more rigorous for snorkeling, and endurance, but NOT for swimming; yet, we do need to be able to do the same level as our students for the swim unless we remove that portion. As an example, how long can you give CPR chest compressions at 100 beats per minute AFTER a tow. SSI allows a student to choose between a swim or snorkel evaluation. This should be the standard for all levels including instructor in my opinion.

    Michael S
    SSI Instructor
    SDI Instructor
    PADI Asst Instructor
  8. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    SDI and PADI also allow the snorkel swim for a student diver (you should know this as an SDI and a PADI professional). You think the instructors should not be held to a higher standard than the OW students?
  9. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    I agree with everything SFLScubapro says. It points out the vast differences in swimming vs. scuba. Swimming is truly a sport using various precise strokes. Scuba IMHO is not, though it is often referred to as one. There is no competition, keeping score, etc. Yet it too requires very specific muscles and skills. Swimming and scuba are distant cousins. Yet, as a matter of logic, I am amazed at the number of people who take OW course and can't (really) swim--well, they can gut out a 300 meter swim somehow using very flawed stroke techniques.
    Of course I also agree with tursiops in that pros should be held to a much higher standard than OW divers. Exactly where proper swimming techniques--without fins-fits into that I'm not sure. And you probably can't get a decent time on the DM swim test if your technique is flawed.

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