• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Recreational Sidemount ...

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by BCSGratefulDiver, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kents Store, VA
    6,619
    3,814
    113
    This is a challenging question in a way, because one instinctive / visceral reaction is to say ‘what I teach is . . .’ and therefore that is what should be taught. I cannot escape that, but thought it useful to add the caveat. So, what comes to my mind, with regard to recreational / open water sidemolunt training:

    Diving in a sidemount configuration is very much about gear, so gear selection, gear rigging, gear assembly, etc. should be taught and discussed. I spend a good deal of time discussing different rigs, different cylinders, different methods of attaching cylinders to the diver, and have students try several different approaches during the OW dives. It is not as comprehensive as I would like, perhaps, but I try to show students, or at least discuss with them, a variety of gear configurations (e.g. something as simple as SPGs ‘up’ vs SPGs down, or effects of clipping AL cylinders to buttplate rails vs to a waist / hip D-ring, etc). I tell students that one of the greatest things about sidemount is the lack of restriction on how you configure your gear, and I want them to try different approaches.

    Diving in any configuration is very much about mastery of buoyancy and trim, so buoyancy and trim issues associated with diving a sidemount configuration should be discussed and methods for adjusting the rig – on land and in-water - should be discussed / practiced.

    Diving in any configuration is very much about gas management, so techniques for managing two independent gas supplies (unless you are diving the Z block manifold), should be taught and practiced. This is particularly important for many divers who have never used double cylinders before, or who have never entered the water with enough gas to get them into a serious deco situation.

    Diving is very much about safety, and preparing for potential problems, so conducting out-of air drills while diving a sidemount configuration should be taught and practiced, detaching and re-attaching cylinders underwater should be taught and practiced, etc.

    Diving is very much about adapting to different diving circumstances, in particular circumstances that necessitate different types of entries and exits, so various entry and exit procedures should be taught and practiced to the extent possible.

    Diving is very much about having fun, so exercises should be enjoyable as well as instructive whenever possible – I think single cylinder diving (‘monkey diving&#8217:wink: is a fun activity for recreational sidemount students. I think swimming through pieces of culvert pipe, with cylinders unclipped at the bottom and positioned in front of the diver is a fun activity for recreational sidemount students. I think trying that exercise first with AL cylinders and then with steel cylinders is at least 'interesting' if not fun.

    Others probably have more / better exercises that they can share.

    This is not intended to be THE ONE and ONLY list, rather things that come most readily to mind.
     
  2. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    76,825
    63,008
    113
    ... if that's NAUI's thinking then it's as irrelevent as yours to the topic at hand. People will buy a class whether NAUI provides it or not ... plenty of other agencies out there are already offering it, and I've been watching NAUI lose market share in my area as a result.

    I compare this more to the Nitrox thinking of the early '90's. Unfortunately, NAUI has changed. Back then they were in the front of the curve leading to a change in industry attitudes. This time they're being dragged, practically comatose, into the 21st century ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)

    ---------- Post added March 11th, 2014 at 12:41 PM ----------

    This is a pretty good list, and covers some things I hadn't thought about. Yes, I do see some configuration differences among my sidemount diving buddies, and they are worth discussing to the recreational diver who is considering sidemount. The obvious difficulty is getting enough different sidemount rigs to make practical comparisons ... and, of course, having the instructor familiar enough with their differences to be able to make those comparisons in a meaningful way. It would mean doing some diving in all those different rigs, so that you're not just talking from "academic" knowledge.

    Also, as I mentioned earlier ... practical rescue techniques. Obviously there will be some differences involving things like rescue tows ... can't imagine a do-si-do will work so well in sidemount ... and when it would be practical to consider dropping one or both cylinders. On the other hand, getting an injured diver out of the water would be, in most cases, much easier, since you can drop the cylinders and use the rig as a "sling" for moving the diver to boat or shore. These techniques are things that should be worked out and vetted at the agency level, to my concern ... because they are so practically different than what we teach the backmount diver.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  3. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    28,167
    44,789
    113
    Well, now that I've pissed off every sidemount diver on the planet, let me ask again. Do sidemount divers need a class, and do they need a card?
     
    BurhanMuntasser likes this.
  4. victorzamora

    victorzamora Solo Diver

    3,041
    1,377
    113
    Bob, for a single tank HP100 dive.....no kidding it's a pain. I can't imagine trying to keep that going comfortably. I dive Worthington HP100s because the trim stays perfect and I need ZERO lead with empty tanks. Edd taught me to put weight on my cambands for AL80s. I haven't gotten great results from it. I've added another d-ring and move the leash mid-dive a la Razor. I did a few guided dives with Jason Renoux (Stealth diver and instructor) and I'll be getting sliding d-rings when I can get a hold of them. This allows me to distribute weights as I like. However, my single-tank AL80 diving is practically restricted to warm water and small wetsuits. I have little experience diving cold water with a single tank, but I look forward to trying more. It hasn't changed much, though.
     
  5. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,969
    17,756
    113
    I think this kind of thought process interferes with understanding the rationale for offering or not offering a specialty course.

    First of all, agency profit has little to do with most specialty courses. Unless it is a course in which students purchase instructional materials, PADI's only financial interest in a course is the handling fee for the certification card, which is not a required part of the course. I teach a couple of distinctive specialties, and I recently had a couple of students complete the courses and decided they didn't want to bother getting the cards. Consequently, PADI did not get a dime for those students completing the classes, and they did not in fact even know the students took the classes. All the course fees went to me, and it was up to me to charge what I thought was appropriate. Course fees are determined by the instructor. If you feel you are ripping off a student with your course fees, blame the man in the mirror.

    So why create an agency-approved course for a specific topic?

    The first is to create some level of quality control and consistency. When I created the distinctive specialty courses I teach, I had to go through a lot of discussion with PADI headquarters about the content. They disagreed with some of what was in it originally, and we had some pretty good arguments before we had a mutual understanding of the content. I think with sidemount that is especially important. I took an overhead (technical) sidemount course from PSAI, and a whole lot of the course was spent dealing with controversies related to sidemount. I realized that some people have a very, very different idea about what constitutes proper sidemount diving, and having agency approval gives at least some sense of what should be a standard.

    A second reason is liability. One of the distinctive specialties I teach was originally just a workshop. Another instructor in another state created similar workshops at about the same time, sharing ideas as we developed them. He then received some very good advice suggesting that he turn the workshop into an approved specialty course so that in case of any problems with a student, he would have the legal backing of teaching an approved course and not something he just made up. He turned it into an approved course, sent me the outline, and I got it approved as well. It doesn't change anything except give us a better legal position in case of a problem. The course costs the same as it did before it was sanctioned, and PADI does not get a dime if the student decides not to get the card.

    An agency-approved course is not about ripping off a student. It is about giving students the instruction that want at a more consistent standard of quality, and it gives the instructor better legal protection when teaching the material.

    ---------- Post added March 11th, 2014 at 01:19 PM ----------

    They need instruction. I thought the class I took was worthwhile. A card came with it. It's the same for any such specialty. The class is what counts; the card is really supposed to be just some sort of incentive. The card actually also benefits the instructor in terms of the standing with the agency.
     
    BCSGratefulDiver likes this.
  6. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    28,167
    44,789
    113
    If they need instruction, and they get a card, do they have to show it to a charter vessel operator?
     
  7. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,969
    17,756
    113
    I don't imagine they should have to show it to anyone else, unless the charter vessel operator decided to ask for it. There are lots of cards that do little more than signify that the diver finished the course and get put away permanently. I don't think anyone will ever ask for my sidemount card. On the other hand, I have had to show the overhead DPV card I got from the same instructor on the same trip. Different cards with different requirements.

    As for the rest:

    I don't think you understood my point on that.

    When I was talking about liability, I was talking about liability should an accident occur while teaching the class. That was why we switched our programs from an unsanctioned workshop to a course with official blessing. Let's say I am teaching the class and a student dies for whatever reason you can imagine that has nothing to do with how I was instructing. I am sued anyway, which definitely happens. If I am teaching a workshop that I made up on my own, the burden will be entirely mine to show that the workshop I created was safe. If I instead teach a class whose standards and procedures have been examined and approved by a recognized agency, I will have a pretty powerful defense that my course was within industry standards.
     
  8. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    76,825
    63,008
    113
    Therein lies my concern about teaching sidemount as a workshop.

    I do teach workshops ... in fact, I teach a LOT of them. These, however, cover things that my agency sanctions ... usually basic skills like buoyancy control, different finning techniques, fine-tuning trim and weighting ... things that a student was "introduced" to in their basic OW class, but doesn't feel comfortable with or really wants some real-time feedback on what they're doing and what I'm seeing, along with some drills that can help them really master the techniques. These are all covered in terms of liability, because they're skills that are described in the NAUI standards as skills the diver has already "learned" in a previous class. In other words, I'm not introducing them to any skills or equipment that are not specifically "OK'd" by my agency.

    Such would not be the case for sidemount ... since my agency classifies sidemount as "tech".

    Therein lies the reason why I don't think it's a good idea to teach it without agency sanction ... it would leave a gaping hole in liability if a student were to be injured in class, even if the injury had nothing to do with the actual use of the configuration.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
  9. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,969
    17,756
    113
    I would share your concern. If your agency implies it is for tech divers only, and if you teach it to non-tech students, and if they have a problem....you may have a problem.

    I mentioned earlier that the Cave Adventurer's logo of a sidemounted diver is based on a photo taken of an OW student doing his OW checkout dives. There is no reason it has to be tech only.
     
  10. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kents Store, VA
    6,619
    3,814
    113
    I am curious about the comment, and want to be sure I understand. Are you saying that someone can learn to dive in a sidemount configuration in less than an hour? Or, are you saying that the material in the PADI course can be learned in less than an hour?
     

Share This Page