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What has changed since early 80’s?

Discussion in 'Q and A for Scuba Certification Agencies' started by Scubadillo, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

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    The ascent rate back then was "not to exceed 60 fpm", the standard optimum ascent rate now is 30 fpm (not to exceed 60 fpm). From my read, 60 fpm is still the maximum ascent rate. With a computer, it is easier for me to maintain 30 fpm as it is a good coach, and I've managed to change my old habits, including a safety stop.

    The difference, as far as the tables go, is the safety stop, and there are set procedures for extending the safety stop for accidental deco now, as opposed to calculating deco and doing a deco stop as I was originally taught.
     
  2. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
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    By this comment are you referring to the myth that there was once a huge class that covered everything you could possibly know in scuba, but it was later cut up into a number of classes that you have to pay separately for?

    The OP was certified by NAUI in 1983; here are some historical facts of what happened before that year that may be of interest.
    • NAUI was created in 1960 under the leadership of people from the Los Angeles County program. They had one course designed to teach what you needed for basic diving.
    • In the mid 1960's, NAUI created its Advanced Open Water program, following the lead of Los Angeles County. The idea was to teach additional skills not included in the OW class and introduce divers to different kinds of diving.
    • Several other agencies came into being in the second half the 1960's.
    • Recognizing the need to teach additional topics, specialty classes and the master scuba diver programs were created in the early 1970s. Agencies created specialty classes to assure uniformity and quality control in the instruction of those topics and to provide the legal protection that comes from using an approved curriculum instead of making it up by the seat of your pants.
    By 1983, all of those features of modern instruction had been long established. Here are some things that happened after that.
    • Frustrated by the severe limitations on shallow sport diving imposed by the US Navy tables, PADI sponsored research that led to the recreational dive planner (RDP), which came out right after that time. That significantly dropped surface intervals and made modern 2-tank dive schedules possible. Modern computer algorithms are largely consistent with those limits.
    • The gradually increasing use of alternate regulators made single regulator buddy breathing an obsolete art that was considered too dangerous to use when there was a safer alternative. Most agencies made teaching it optional or abandoned it altogether.
    • BCDs were in use by then. (I used one when I took a Discover Scuba class in 1985.) They have grown in quality, and there is a wide range of models to choose from today.
    • It is very rare to see anyone use tables for a recreational dive. It has been more than 2 decades since I have seen one outside of training. Computers are now the norm.
    • Despite what people will tell you, pretty much all essential skills that were part of your OW class are still part of OW classes. As a member of the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC), NAUI must meet certain minimum standards, which you can find here. I am not aware of the degree to which their OW class exceeds those standards; PADI's OW class contains many additional requirements.
    • Modern instruction generally uses the philosophy that students should be instructed in advanced skills (and pay for that instruction) when they decide they need it rather than being forced to learn those skills just in case they need them some day (and hopefully will not have forgotten it when they do). For example, the overwhelming majority of divers will never dive at altitude, so if they think they might need to learn about that, they can choose to take a class in it if they wish, or they can learn it on their own if they wish. They are not forced to learn (and pay for) those details in a massive class along with all kinds of other material they will likely never use. Similarly, divers who intend to do all their diving in tropical resorts are not required to take (and pay for) instruction in drysuit diving, but if their desires change, they can do it then.
     
  3. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Great White

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    I got certified in '69 and went through the course again in '83 (NAUI both times). The main things that come to my mind are: Safety Stops--never heard of it until Maui in 2010. Aluminum tanks were becoming common around '83 but nobody told me they were more buoyant. SPGs were becoming common too. Dive computers became something that might actually be useful, rather than the early attempts such as the Bend-O-Matic. Since the late 80s and early 90s they have decided that they would get rid of the infallable depth sensor and incorporate something that would encourage people to buy a new computer every few years--the early Suuntos and Aladin Pros simply last too long. The Octopus sorta came and went and came back again. Don't Touch Anything has become standard everywhere that I've been. It's not often any more that you see someone with no BC, no SPG, no depth gauge, no computer, and/or no octopus, except maybe at the Sea Hunt Forever event. Nitro--a new gas mixture that makes it safer to dive with a hangover and you can brag that you stlll have some gas left after everyone else has run out, but you still have to get back on the boat with everyone else anyway. I hear that it can kill you if you decide to go too deep. And of course it costs extra.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  4. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    There you go again, quoting facts to people who don't need facts because they already know. Nice try, though.
     
  5. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
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    I really hate doing it. People cherish those beliefs so very much.

    Since the OP was certified in college, I thought I would add some historical information about the NAUI college focus as well. All of what follows comes from a history of NAUI, co-written by NAUI co-founder Al Tillman, NAUI instructor #1.

    NAUI's initial leadership came from the Los Angeles County program, which they wanted to take nationwide (and later worldwide). They could not just expand the Los Angeles County program because it was taxpayer funded. With taxpayer funding, LA County operated as a non-profit, and NAUI tried to do that as well. That means they had to find ways to substitute for tax dollars. One way was to have much of their expenses and their home office donated by a scuba diving magazine. That dried up when the magazine was sold and the new ownership was not so generous. For a while they only survived with a major loan from Bill High, who later formed the PSI tank inspection company.

    Eventually they were in enough financial trouble that they made the decision to withdraw from national activity and focus on California. Accordingly, they canceled a major instructor training program in Chicago. The Chicago branch of NAUI was not pleased, so they formed a new agency, PADI.

    In their effort to find a way to pay for scuba instruction on a non-profit basis, NAUI decided to focus on college course instruction. That way students could simply select scuba as one of their classes, paying for it with tuition money they had to spend anyway. That also gave them the luxury of taking as much time as they wanted while working only with young and reasonably fit adults. They didn't have to pay for facilities, either. Looking back at it, Tillman felt that it was a serious mistake that restricted their development. Even today, NAUI has a major focus in school programs. In Colorado, the only NAUI OW classes offered in the entire state are in the University of Colorado.

    According to Tillman, the other leading agencies at the time (late 60s) decided to go different routes to find students and get funding. The YMCA decided to focus on the club system, which is how things really started in the 1950s. That ultimately did not work out. PADI, NASDS (now SSI), and SSI decided the way to do it was by having instruction offered through the shops that were selling the equipment.

    Finally, that history of NAUI draws the following conclusion: at the time of its writing, decades later, the average student leaving an OW class was a better diver than the instructors who started NAUI in 1960.
     
    Esprise Me, CT-Rich, kelemvor and 2 others like this.
  6. pauldw

    pauldw Solo Diver

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  7. Ghost95

    Ghost95 Barracuda

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    Yeah, and in 20 years it will be the same.:D
     
  8. spc751

    spc751 DIR Practitioner

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    We had safe seconds with NASDS in 1981.
     
  9. dead dog

    dead dog ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: SoCal via Pittsburgh, Pa.
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    Then you can start now.
     
  10. CT-Rich

    CT-Rich ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Summer is finally here.... you can sit outside sipping a mint julep and hear the gentle chirps of the diving trolls, “No! Your training sucked!”

    Training was different in the eighties because the understanding of diving was significantly different at the time. Back then, there was no way to visualize micro bubbles, so ascents, deco and how to to track them was not as sophisticated.

    BCDs with power inflators were just becoming widespread. Swimming skills were more pressing because the instructors were teaching to the lowest common denominator. It was accepted that being a strong swimmer was more important than it probably needed to be. I didn’t get my Assistant Instructor certification because I couldn’t swim swim the length of an Olympic pool under water with no gear (I had a sinus infection at the time). Why the heck was that a requirement?

    Certain skills were still taught because no one had figured out that the practicing of the skills were themselves dangerous. Free ascents are potentially valuable, but people were dying while practicing them. Classes were longer, more classroom and pool time. Better? Not really because, some of the skills learned aren’t considered safe and some aren’t useful and some have become specialty courses. I had fun and it was definitely worth the $125 I spent, but some people probably never tried diving because of the training and the time commitment. Should new divers spend three plus hours learning tables? Eventually, but not right away. Dive computers make relying on tables unnecessary. Good to understand, IMHO, but not essential for OW divers (0-60’).
     
    AfterDark and Esprise Me like this.

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