BUYER’S GUIDE

Scuba Diver Ocean Planet - - From The Editor - By Alice Grainger

As far as ad­ven­ture sports go, scuba div­ing is one of the safest. Sta­tis­tics on diver fa­tal­i­ties show that div­ing is ac­tu­ally safer than run­ning a marathon, child­birth, and driv­ing a car. But the fact is, hu­man be­ings are not de­signed to breathe un­der­wa­ter and we rely on our equip­ment, skills and train­ing to let us do it safely. It is also worth not­ing that not ev­ery dive “ac­ci­dent” is a fa­tal one; “mi­nor” ac­ci­dents can take the form of rup­tured eardrums, or soft tis­sue in­juries. Dive train­ing is de­signed to pre­pare divers com­pre­hen­sively for spe­cific en­vi­ron­ments, and to help them avoid avoid and deal with even com­pli­ca­tions.

THE PROB­LEM WITH BE­ING TOO GOOD

It’s true; some peo­ple are nat­u­rals, tak­ing to scuba like, well, fish to wa­ter. They glide around with per­fect buoy­ancy, un­fazed by mask clear­ing, in­stinc­tively blow­ing bub­bles when they’re sup­posed to. But while th­ese types are a joy to teach, as I’m sign­ing their cer­ti­fi­ca­tion cards, I al­ways take a few ex­tra mo­ments to im­press upon them the im­por­tance of fur­ther train­ing. You see, stu­dents who have had to work a lit­tle harder to mas­ter some skills, or who have had to over­come fears to make it to the end of the course, are peo­ple who un­der­stand their lim­i­ta­tions, as well as the po­ten­tial risks. They re­alise that there are en­vi­ron­ments in which they might not be com­fort­able and they have learnt to deal with sen­sa­tions of dis­com­fort, stress, or even fear, un­der­wa­ter. They know that div­ing in un­fa­mil­iar en­vi­ron­ments will need more train­ing so that they can mas­ter the skills to let them ex­plore in safety. “Nat­u­ral” divers with lim­ited ex­pe­ri­ence might never feel fazed un­til it’s too late – un­til they find them­selves in a sit­u­a­tion un­der­wa­ter that they are not trained for, and have no idea how to han­dle.

THE BRAVEST THING IS TO AD­MIT YOUR WEAK­NESSES

It’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that there are un­scrupu­lous, gung-ho guides out there, who will take Open Wa­ter divers in­side wrecks, or down to 40 me­tres, con­vinced that be­cause they have never had a prob­lem, they never will. But com­pla­cency breeds reck­less­ness, and it can also be hard for divers to ad­mit to be­ing un­com­fort­able with a sit­u­a­tion, and to risk los­ing face by sit­ting out the dive or in­sist­ing on a site more suited to their level of skill. There is no shame in recog­nis­ing that some­thing is be­yond your level of train­ing, in ask­ing for help to de­velop the skills you need to go fur­ther, deeper, stay down for longer, or ven­ture into more ex­treme en­vi­ron­ments. Even good divers, who know that they are com­fort­able in the wa­ter, ben­e­fit from ex­tend­ing their train­ing. Like new­bie rock climbers scal­ing a cliff, whose fo­cus on reach­ing the top alive means that they can’t en­joy the view, prop­erly trained divers with ad­e­quate skills are able to bet­ter chan­nel their in­ner aquaphiles, let­ting mas­tery of the re­quired skills mean that they can take in the view, and en­joy im­mers­ing them­selves, safely, in the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing un­der­wa­ter. SDOP

School­ing Fish

COMIC COR­NER

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