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Solo Diving: PADI Worldwide's Position

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by scuba dew, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Fish-R-Man

    Fish-R-Man Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Bering Sea, Alaska - Central Washington
    233
    77
    28
    I have to agree with a lot of the points that KWS was making as far as diving solo when you have a buddy. To me there is a big difference in the way I execute my dive if I am diving with a buddy that has limited experience. Then I am more in the roll of mentor than their buddy. I make sure we go through all of the checks and planning that is needed for the dive. Then I end up watching that buddy during the duration of the dive just incase there is any issues. If I am diving with a friend with the same skill level, we are still buddies, but we are not dependent on each other so we are actually diving solo but we may be together or drift apart depending on what interest us. We do this a lot if we are chasing crabs or spear fishing. We usually will meet back together during our safety stop or have a rough idea of when we are going to surface and meet at the boat.

    There seems to be a different mind set on the ins and outs of solo diving between the older divers and the divers that have starting diving in the last 10 years or so. I got my first cert from the YMCA in 1970. I was 14. I took the class with a friend, but at that age, we didn't get to dive together all that often, so I basically started out solo diving. I grew up in SoCal and practically lived at the beach. If there was a swell we surfed, no swell we went divng. There was no reduntent equipment of any kind at that time. I taught my older brother how to dive with borrowed gear. A few years later he started diving abalone and sea urchins commercially in Santa Barbara. He did that for about 15 years before he actaully got a cert. He needed to because the shop that service his regs wouldn't do them anymore becuase of their liability. He took a two day resort course in Cabo. He ended up teaching my younger brother who also dove commercially for years. I don't believe he ever got certified. I dove with them a lot. We always dove solo. We may have both been in the water at the same time, but I had no idea of where he was 90% of the time. We used hooka gear with about 500' of hose, a reg and a weight belt. No BC, not spare air, no redundency. We did use the Scubapro capillary tube decompression meters. Looking back now, those things were a little scary....

    I guess the point of this is we learned to dive. A lot by trial and error. Some from friends that also dived, but mostly by experience. I didn't take another class until 8 or so years ago when I got the new wife certified. I went ahead and went through OW, and AOW with her just to get the certs and to help her if she had any issues. She is my buddy. I am there to make sure she is ok and if I were to have an issue i believe that at her experience level of around 200 logged dives, she would be an asset. Do I depend on her. NO, I depend on myself and my experience.

    I think that the idea that someone could take a couple day class with a limited amount of OW dives and walk away with a solo cert and be allowed to dive when someone that has way more experience is refused is just wrong. Certs don't really give you a realistic idea of how well a person dives. I have been on boats while down south a number of times were a guy will fan out a stack of cert cards so it looks like we are going to sit down for a little poker, only to watch him put his reg on upside down when setting up his own gear. The guys I like to dive with in Cozumel, like Jeremy from Living Underwater, really don't care what rating you have. They want to see you dive before you get to go do the really fun stuff. Solo or not......
     
  2. ScubaSteve

    ScubaSteve Wow.....what a DB

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Acton, Ontario
    23,370
    4,412
    113
    I personally do not see how this is possible. Diving with a buddy means you are diving with a buddy. Executing a solo dive is executing a solo dive. You cannot be "dive buddies" but dive solo. If you mean you are planning and executing a solo dive where you happen to roll into the water at the same time then that is different but IMO you cannot say that you are buddies but are solo because they are by definition (as it relates to SCUBA) polar opposites.
     
  3. Kingpatzer

    Kingpatzer Captain

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
    1,938
    165
    0
    Here's a question -- with PADI now offering technical diving courses, anyone know if they are going to start offering solo courses now?
     
  4. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,435
    5,296
    113
    Geez folks, why not assume the OP had serious intent when posting this? I don't find fault with him for doing so. Too many are too quick to judge.

    As for teaching divers to use the buddy system, I am strongly in favor of that. I say that as a diver who has done thousands of dives solo dating back to 1961. I do not advocate solo diving to anyone since there are too many factors I can't judge unless I am very familiar with the diver in question and their skills level and reaction to emergencies.

    Quite frankly, there are a number of certified divers out there already who shouldn't be diving, solo or buddied up. We see them all the time at the Casino Point dive park (and I'm NOT referring to students involved in OW classes).

    When I dive buddied up, it is with a diver whose skills and intent are well known to me (or who are drop dead gorgeous and have their own dive boat). I've had enough pick-up divers who created situations where I've had to bail them out. Of course this is not meant to disparage the many fine divers out there who are safe. If certification standards were higher, like they were when I got certified, it might be different.

    Also, in the "vintage days," we did not have things like SPGs, octos or BCDs. Under those conditions, buddying up was even more essential since in the case of emergencies we had to rely on practices such as buddy breathing.
     
  5. Fish-R-Man

    Fish-R-Man Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Bering Sea, Alaska - Central Washington
    233
    77
    28
    I am also in favor of teaching a buddy system. The system that is taught now is way different than I was originally taught in the early 70's. I also believe that new divers need to be taught to be more self reliant. How people will react to a given situation is an unknown. A person that panics in an OOA situation for example, you may end up with two fatalities. Depending on how well the non panic diver is able to handle the situation. I took a class from the LA county lifeguards that was an advanced class at the time. It was similar to the Stress and Rescue class that is given now. The major difference was in how the two instructors worked with the couple of students in the class. For an out of air exercise, they would not approach you from the front and politely indicate that they were in need of a little of your air, they would come in from behind in full panic mode, rip the regulator out of your mouth, knock your mask off, and every other conceivable scenario they could think of. You then had to deal with their panic mode as well as getting yourself back into a safe situation. It was a realistic class. Today they would probably be sued. If you have ever had to deal with a person in the water it is amazing how strong a 12 year old girl can be in full panic. Much less a 200# full grown man. If new divers were taught to be more self reliant, I believe that their chances of going into full blown panic would be reduced.
    For me to dive with a buddy that I know his skill level and how he reacts in different situations is one thing. To be required to "buddy up" with a diver that I have just met to meet some ones idea of what is best for me, in my opinion makes the situation more hazardous than going it solo.....
     
  6. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
    4,373
    1,014
    113


    This is as direct and to the point as one can make it.
    So says one vintage diver about another vintage divers comment.
     
  7. Fish-R-Man

    Fish-R-Man Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Bering Sea, Alaska - Central Washington
    233
    77
    28
    Here is a portion of the class discription for the SDI solo course from Dive Global's websight:

    Solo Diving Certification

    Finally there is a diving association to certify solo diving. The key to solo diving is to be rigorously trained, confident and experienced. Scuba Diving International (SDI): SDI is currently the only Diving Certification Association that offers a Solo Diving Certification course. In order to participate in this course, the following are required:

    Advanced diver certification
    Minimum of 100 logged dives
    Approved diving physical examination

    Qualified scuba divers will be certified as solo divers and can pursue independent activities. This certification allows an effective assumption of risk by the solo diver who can now stipulate on a waiver and release of liability that he accepts the legal responsibility for his solo diving and has been formally credentialed by a training agency. This is exactly the legal "out" that most operators want in order to allow solo diving from resorts or live-aboards and to provide a legal posture than can be defended.

    Its really not about how talented you are as a diver as long as you have the "legal out".
     

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