Diary of a trainee Divemaster Part 2

Diving during lockdown

I am sure that we all had great plans for the 2020 dive season that was just opening up when Covid-19 hit and not only the UK but almost the entire world went into lockdown. Travel both domestically and internationally has been and continues to be extremely limited and there is no clear timeframe for when this will come to an end but come to an end it will.

As divers we like to prepare and plan ahead, whether it’s a question of what equipment to take on a dive or for an overseas trip. Planning is an essential part of the sport that we do – train, prepare, anticipate and plan –after all there is that old diving adage – plan the dive then dive the plan !!

As a trainee divemaster there are some aspects of the course that I can do even though I can’t get in the water and that got me to thinking about the things that all divers can do whilst we are waiting for that all important day when we can get back in the water – wherever that might be. It’s true we can’t book any diving trips as we don’t know when the current restriction will end but there are a number of things that we can do in anticipation of that date. So here goes with my list of things that we can do that will either make sure we get back in the water as soon as we can, that make us better divers, identify further training needs or simply just help to pass the time :-

  • Fitness – we all know that we need to maintain a reasonable level of fitness to dive. Not only because it puts less strain on our bodies but also because we often have to move around heavy pieces if dive kit. Generally speaking the fitter we are the more efficient our respiratory system is so the less air we breath when we dive so the longer our dives can be. Being fit helps our overall feeling of well being whatever the circumstances but in these times that is even more important. Exercise is one of the reasons we are allowed to leave the house so make the most of it and go for that daily bile ride, run or walk. We also need to make sure that we are still eating a healthy diet and not drinking too much alcohol – both of which can be quite challenging when you are confined to the house. Don’t forget the less you weigh the less weight you will need to carry when you are diving.
  • Equipment – dig out al of your kit, check it over and consider whether you need to get it serviced or repaired. Is any of your kit showing signs of excessive wear and tear or in need of repair ? Is there anything that you thought about buying or replacing but didn’t get around to ? f so do some research – what’s available on the market, what exactly do you need that piece of equipment to do / what type of diving are you going to use it for /how often are you going to use it ? The dive centre is able to respond to email enquiries – take some professional advice on it and order it now so that you are not waiting for it to arrive when you should be in the water using and enjoying it.
  • Review your dive theory – like all knowledge dive theory fades from the memory if we are not using it. Dig out all those PADI course manuals that you worked through as part of your training and recap the ground that you covered. The rules of physics in diving is always good to go over as is physiology and dive related first aid. Maybe your review will lead you to consider further skills and courses that you might want to do when the world returns to normal. Consider whether the course can be booked now so that you can work through the manual and knowledge reviews – I would suggest that Emergency First Responder might be a good manual to work though now.
  • Skills practice 1 – as part of the divemaster programme students are required to be able to demonstrate the skills we were all taught on our initial open water course. One thing that is suggested is to stand in front of a mirror to see if you are demonstrating clearly. If you are refreshing your skills there is no need to o that in front of the mirror but there are certainly a number of basic skills that you can practice on your own at home so that you build those movements and processes into your memory e.g. mask removal and replacement, partial mask flood, etc.
  • Skills practice 2 – so your diving journey progresses you learn a range of new skills that you might not use very often. Now is a good time to refresh those skills. In particular things such as knot tying, setting a bearing on a compass, etc. All of these can be practiced on the surface so that they become second nature when you are in the water and have enough other things to think about – why make diving harder than it has to be. For example with the knot tying practice until you can tie the knots without thinking, then try and do them with your dive gloves on and then finally with gloves on and eyes closed – after all we have all been in Vobster when the viz has not bee great !!

As well as referring back to your PADI manuals and DVD’s don’t forget that there are a number of helpful and knowledgeable articles and video’s on the Scuba Scene website produced by the instructor team.

Whilst all of this is not as good as actually being in the water at least following some of these suggestions might help to keep your knowledge and skills up to date and whilst doing so give you time to reflect on the next steps that you want to take in your diving journey whether that be a dive trip abroad or another course to build on your existing skills.