What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

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Bronze06
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What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:00 am

I have seen this specialty offered by PADI and when I asked them what they meant by it, I didn't get an answer. By that I mean I wrote PADI and asked; What is the course criteria and what is meant by a "self-reliant diver"? PADI's answer= White Noise and crickets chirping. and NO REPLY!

On the PADI website under Distinctive Specialties, the following is what PADI had:

https://www.padi.com/padi-courses/disti ... alty-diver

"PADI Self-Reliant Diver

Although most scuba dives are made with a buddy, an experienced diver may want or need to make dives without a partner. During the Self-Reliant Diver course, you learn about potential risks of diving alone and the value of equipment redundancy and necessary back-up gear. During three scuba dives, you develop skills for self-reliance and independence, while becoming a stronger partner in a dive pair or team."

REALLY? DIVING ALONE!!!!! OMG, what will the SCUBA GESTAPO SAY???? So, PADI says that after taking this course (after all pre-requisite courses have been duly done) that in fact after some REALLY TOUGH CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION (lol) and three dives, it is OKAY to dive alone ( as long as you Put Another Dollar In!!!!

I asked a South African PADI DI what the hell was meant by being a "Self-reliant Diver" and he kinda shrugged and said it was basically making sure that you had available extras such as a save-a-dive kit, extra fin and mask straps, etc. when you were in "remote areas". WOW, a total let down and not what I would call a self-reliant diver. Your opinions on this first folks and then I will give you my 2 cents worth, to wit BOTH BARRELS :?: :?:
"Where'd ya get that ol' thang, don't cha' know them thare things ill kill ya!"

Live From the Red Sea,

Russ

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antique diver
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:24 am

What does it mean? It means that after all those years of telling divers they should never dive alone, they realized they could pick up some extra $$ with yet another specialty course.

I keep expecting a specialty course in "How to Choose Your Next Specialty Card". Well, I hope this doesn't sound too cynical... I meant this to be light-hearted and a little funny. Actually, I suppose it is really just diver education evolving, as it should. I evolved from beginning as a solo diver (because I only could afford one garden hose on my homemade Hookah rig) to finally diving with friends.

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luis
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:09 pm

Some of the technical diving agencies (like TDI) actually have a "Solo diving" certification and there are many resorts and live aboard dive boats that will "officially" accept solo diving if you have the cert and at least a pony bottle.

PADI didn't want to call it Solo diving.


Note: most dive destinations that I like to go to, don't really care if you dive solo... well at least they just don't make a big deal about it.
Luis

Buceador con escafandra autónoma clásica.

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:33 pm

Ok Russ, I’ll rant back. :D

On one end of the spectrum you have your self-reliant diver, but just because you may have a certification saying you are one does not make you one. The self-reliant diver can plan his or her dive, evaluate water conditions, equip themselves properly for the dive at hand, have the ability to adapt to most any contingency that arises, safely execute the dive, and understands the dive is not over until you are out of the water and out of your gear. On the other end of the spectrum are your basic scuba‘tards who probably shouldn’t have been certified in the first place, who can’t do one or more of the above-listed categories, and who are just not comfortable in the water.

Of course one can go from one end of the spectrum to the other (hopefully in the correct direction) but that takes experience. Whether that experience comes from taking specialty classes or just reading all you can, asking questions of competent people, and diving your ass off, or a combination thereof, it makes no difference. The diver who dives once every year or so while on vacation is likely not going to become truly self-reliant. Even the diver who takes a bunch of specialty classes but does not go out on their own (alone, with friends or in groups) and perfect those techniques will likely not become self-reliant in the true sense of the term.

Back in my piloting days, although flight school and subsequent ratings taught me the theory and the mechanics of flight, I gained a deeper knowledge of how those things translate to the real world and to my safety and to the safety of my passengers with every flight I made. I was fully cognizant that there is a window of danger after so many flights where over-confidence takes over and you basically think, Hey, I got this, no worries. Once you are through that stage you realize you are always learning. Even after you drive your aircraft down onto the runway from final approach you still are not safely back until the aircraft is chocked and engines shut down. The folks who know a great deal about diving, and who, through experience are truly self-reliant, understand that each dive provides the opportunity for continued learning.

Unfortunately, many new divers today don’t have the time, energy or desire to progress to the self-reliant stage, regardless of the number of specialty certifications they rack up. If you are happy diving all of your dives with a divemaster and going on trust-me dives, fine, go for it. If you are only diving once a year or so then that is probably the smartest thing you can do. You are in the majority and somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. At least you know the theory and mechanics and are diving and seeing our beautiful underwater world. Once you start diving on your own (with or without a buddy but without a divemaster) and are out exploring bodies of water you advance along our invisible spectrum. If you want to be truly at the self-reliant end of the spectrum it’s not hard to get there, it just takes time, dedication, practice, a lot of common sense, and a plethora of dives.

Ok, I’ve rambled on long enough. Just my 2psi. Mark

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rhwestfall
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:08 pm

Sounds impressive..... okay, not really :roll:

It is not a solo course, but "advanced understanding" so one can possibly be weened off the teat of Concierge Diving (where the DM does everything for you)

True solo? How could they possibly go 180 degrees from their foundation?

(Full disclosure, I am taking the SDI Solo class this weekend (with a DH). I've been told that as I already have an AN/DP and Ice Diver, it just might not be too horizon expanding. I do think, however, that the instructor might just take some liberties to challenge me.)
Bob

No Longer Awaiting my Kraken.....

swimjim
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:36 pm

I thought a self reliant diver carried his own church key. Not all the post dive beverages are twist offs! :lol: :lol: :lol:

uwstlth
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:53 pm

B4 douchy PADI got the idea:

Solo Diving: The Art of Underwater Self-Sufficiency Paperback
by Robert Von Maier

VonMaier was a trail blazer her in ol' Sandy Ego... back when Watersport Publishing was still around and Ken was still publishing; this book was a staple for divers long before it was a frigin' "specialty" Gawd has diving been weenie-fied by PADI.

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Bronze06
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:04 am

Wow, really cool feedback Folks! Now for my two cents.

You all can be the "Judge" if I fulfill the criteria of what a so-called "Self-Reliant" Diver is. Here is a typical before, during and after-operations expedition rundown of what I and my compatriots do when we go diving every weekend. Remember before you get too anal folks, that we travel anywhere from 100 miles to 200 miles oneway through the real desert off road to remote coastal areas here in Saudi Arabia, redundancy is the watchword. Though we go into the water together, when hunting, we divide up and become solo divers. The average hunting dive is approximately 75 minutes long. Generally, we meet up at the entry point towards the end of the dive, but not always. This is why a good briefing of where you intend to hunt along the reef is important and that everyone knows the plan and contingency plans if things go south. We take great care in our outings to avoid stupid stuff.
One always has the nugget of knowledge that the nearest decompression chamber is anywhere from 150 to 300 miles away (OVER MOUNTAINS that will ensure you have an aneurysm ie; you're going to POP enroute) and that all DAN is good for here is sending a bouquet of flowers to your funeral. Though there are villages within 20 miles generally, they are not high-speed avenues of approach for EMS types, to say the least. Evacs are very rare amongst the expatriate community here just due to the fact that it will take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to get you to medical facilities that really aren't capable of dealing with diving-related injuries, so the Expat community is hyper safe and aware. It is a lot of preparation and maintenance but the diving here is really worth the extra effort involved. We don't do dive trips here, we do expeditions!

1. Fill tanks to standard

a. Ensure that all tanks and valves are fully functional and have been rinsed from the previous user (Salt).
b. Ensure that all tanks have current VIS and Hydro is within the 5-year window.
c. Complete PMCS (Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services, Ron and others know about this acronym) on Bauer Kompressor before, during and
after operations and perform 500-hour maintenance when due.
d. Ensure that all personnel are fully trained in fill operations.
e. Fill tanks to their rated capacity.( We fill our own due to really crappy air fill operations done here locally as well as dodgy tanks and valves if you rent
one.).
f. Ensure that you have the correct amount of tanks for a given trip!

2. Pre and On Site Dive Equipment Checks

a. All vehicles and ancillary equipment checked for serviceability (coolant and oil, tires & tire pressure checked. vehicles are topped off with fuel and tires
and recovery devices (winches, tow straps, tire repair kits, road signal kits, tire pumps, Flashlights, basic automotive tools and ditching shovel etc.) are
correct and on board prior to departure.
b. EOP/DAN kit is up to date complete and fully functional.
c. Dive Medic Bag (Advanced First Aid or in our case a trauma medic bag) is inventory complete and signed by the individual using it. Vinegar and Hot
water heating kit in the bag!

d. In-country passes and company headquarters has been notified as to the route of travel and time duration of the expedition, has point to point
communications for the route of travel to, on and from the dive site and an estimated time of departure and return. Local National security is notified 1
week in advance of trip and travel documentation is secured.
e. Depending on duration, water must be secured on the vehicle. (Day trip; approximately 15 gallons Two Day overnight: 20 gallons etc.)
f. Personal cellular communications devices are fully charged and re-charge capability is on hand.
g. Foodstuff, sleeping and comfort items (Ice coolers, Shaving/Dental kit, Tentage/ Sunshade, Clothing change, camp chairs, cooking utensils and devices,
SunScreen, fire making devices etc.) are on board (trip dependent).

2a. Diving Equipment

a. Function check on all diving regulators components (Ist and 2nd stages, octos, hoses, gauges, PI hoses whether Vintage or modern before
departure.
b. All BCDs (If used) are fully functional with no leaks.
c. Extra/Back-up regulator set is present, checked and fully functional. This is a MUST HAVE!
d. All computers are fully functional and batteries are within tolerance. Extra Batteries and o-rings a must! If diving gauges only ensure that
you have a reliable timepiece (dive watch) and a copy of the recreational dive tables from a notable agency!

e. Tank Pressure gauge present and functional.
f. Regulator repair parts and spares as well as toolbox (HP seats, LP seats, extra hoses, o-rings all types, BC and Wet Suit repair kits, IP gauge, brass
picks, reg. wrenches, etc.) present.
g. Tank packs are serviceable (Vintage)
h. Mask and Back up masks are serviceable with straps in good condition as well as an extra strap in mask case! TWO masks Folks not just
one
!
i. Snorkel present and serviceable.
j. Fins whether vintage or modern fully serviceable with extra fin straps on hand. (I usually have two sets of fins dive dependent.)
k. Weights and weight belt present ( I usually bring an extra weight belt and a butt load of weights for newbies)
l. Tanks (to include Pony bottle) and Tank Transfer Whip ON BOARD. (Wet Towel over tanks due to high heat most of the year).
m. Exposure suit commensurate with climate, water conditions, and temperatures. (repair kit a plus)
n. Gloves (one light and one heavy set)
o. Emergency Flotation markers!!!
p. Day/Night UW channel markers!!! (dependent on the type of dive /terrain for the number needed, I usually bring 4. I use D-cell Engineering markers
that have a 40-hour strobe for night dives and are good to 60 feet.)
q. Dive Lights fully checked and functional with extra batteries and bulbs (if applicable).
r. Compasses, both Diving and Land Navigation on board and functional.
s. Dive knives and game cutting devices serviceable and on board.
t. If applicable, Speargun/Hawaiian sling and any and all back up components and extras functional and safety compliant. (This includes stringers,
game bags, extra rubbers, spear points, shocklines, etc.)
u. U/W Cameras (if applicable), have necessary ancillary components and batteries and are fully functional and watertight!
v. Conduct Dive Brief just before entry and ensure that everyone has a good general compass bearing and is familiarized with the local area.
DO BUDDY CHECKS! ENSURE THAT ALL PERSONEL HAVE THEIR DIVING CERTIFICATION CARDS FOR THE COASTAL DEFENSE POLICE TO SEE!

w. NO ONE WILL DIVE BEYOND HIS CERTIFICATION LEVEL, PERIOD!!!!! No Idiots Allowed!
x. In Water Visual Checks at shallow depth to ensure everything is functional!
y.. Have Fun Diving!

Post Dive and Recovery Operations

a. Headcount of all personnel after every dive!
b. Ensure that all equipment is accounted for and do a thorough sweep (pack out you trash) of the site before departure.
c. Ensure that all vehicles are fully functional and everyone is ready to leave the site. LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND ON THEIR OWN! This is not because
they are diving, it is a security thing.

d. Return to departure areas and turn in Tanks to the Pumphouse after they've been rinsed!
e. Start personal post-recovery care and cleaning of all dive equipment to include rinsing and cleaning BCDs, Regulators, and all other
equipment used for the expedition.Due to the high evaporation rate and high salinity in the Red Sea, normal stateside rinsing is just not enough.
Soak that baby even after a thorough rinsing for at least an hour then set out to dry outside away from direct killer UV sunlight!

f. Check for equipment issues/ damage or address equipment that might not be functioning after return from the site.
g. Flush regulators with fresh tank air after rinse and soak to ensure water( especially in DH regs is expressed out and will not allow even the tiniest
amount of salt to remain the air delivery hose!
h. Pack it all back into your hootch and standby to do it again next weekend!
"Where'd ya get that ol' thang, don't cha' know them thare things ill kill ya!"

Live From the Red Sea,

Russ

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:12 am

Ok Russ, all good but not one mention of the all important church key for opening post-dive beverages noted by swimjim. :D Plus, I'm sure the PADI course not only covers that important aspect but also each and every detail you mention. After all, PADI says they can make you a self-reliant diver in 3 dives. I'm sure that means regardless of whether you get to the dive site by pickup or camel. :lol:

I am envious of your adventures. Sounds like you have a blast. Mark

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ColemanJ
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:50 am

SSI has been offering this course for awhile. You are right, seems like another way to get some more cash from people. I have been meaning to take it just to have the credentials! Almost all charters I go on I take a pony bottle and redundant systems because it always seems that people who are assigned to me end up either going off on their on or cutting the dive short because they sucked their air out in 20 minutes. I'm not paying $150.00 for a dive that lasts 20 minutes. I've been on dives where I was down taking my time looking around and taking photographs and the dive master located me and wanted to know why I was still down after an hour. I usually point to my pressure gauge and computer and he is usually a gasp. When I do come up everybody has been waiting for me and thought something was wrong. Self reliant diving can be safe if some common sense is used and you have plenty of experience and redundant systems. I'm still green compared to a lot of divers like my brother and friends, but they have given me a lot of experience and I continue to learn every day from them. And oh by the way, the double hose always gets their attention and a thousand questions. Dive On!!!

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:05 pm

Welcome ColemanJ !

Appreciate your input. Always good to have new folks contribute. Keep it up. Mark

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couv
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:56 pm

Good one Russ. What solo course did you take?
A sincere THANK YOU to all at VDH who make this wonderful resource available and to all the thoughtful contributors.

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georgeaustin
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:26 am

As a frequent solo diver / solo night diver / solo deep diver night diver, I always remember to bring my wetsuit repair kit when staging my equipment for the event. /s

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Bronze06
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:31 am

ScubaLawyer wrote:Ok Russ, all good but not one mention of the all important church key for opening post-dive beverages noted by swimjim. :D Plus, I'm sure the PADI course not only covers that important aspect but also each and every detail you mention. After all, PADI says they can make you a self-reliant diver in 3 dives. I'm sure that means regardless of whether you get to the dive site by pickup or camel. :lol:

I am envious of your adventures. Sounds like you have a blast. Mark


Mark, you would love it once you get over the culture shock. There is at least 1000 miles of fairly pristine to super pristine reef systems along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. It is like going back to the days of Cousteau when he was exploring the other side of the Red Sea in Egypt and Sudan. Miles of empty beaches, just unbelievable. I have been very blessed to not only get a decent job here, but to have this opportunity to dive this wonderful coast. Word of advice to anyone coming here, learn some Arabic and I mean more than just "Hello" or thank you, as well as social customs, it really smooths the waters with the Coastal Police.
Church keys are truly vintage. I bring a Swiss multi-tool for those non-existent beer tops that we don't have here. They do have actual bottles of Coke and Pepsi in real glass bottles. I was one of the last groups in basic training to get a church key. Most people don't know what one is.

To answer Couv's question, I guess I have been solo diving on and off for years. Never had a class regarding this. This really comes into play with spear-hunting, in that you don't need a "dive buddy" super close scaring away the game, especially if he has a single hose! Now and again me and my South African buddy will hunt together, but it is more like "you take this side of the reef and I'll take the other". We both have a general idea more or less where we are and our general dive times (depth and air supply dependent), but we are super redundant and if stuff looks dicey (vis, current, sharks in the evening after you have nailed a grouper) we tend to "pop smoke" and cut it short. We generally come up within 10 minutes of each other. Solo diving is spooky for the uninitiated and if we have newbies we team them up with one of our seasoned hands for their safety. It really is like the "Wild West " of diving here in that all our sites are remote and you HAVE TO BE squared away gear wise. No dive shops for 200 kilometers or more so you can't pick up a tool or an o-ring or what ever if you aren't squared away.

ColemanJ is SPOT ON when it comes to diving! You pay big bucks only to have the Cattle Rustlers (Cattle Boat DMs/DIs) attempt to herd you up because some fair weather newbies are out of fricken air! If anyone on this forum is diving with an outfit that does this crap, please let everyone else know who the hell they are. Bottomline, a squared away operation will assess a group and find out who is seasoned and who is a fricken newbie. You don't assign a DM to the seasoned people, that DM should give them a brief and a rough return time and pair them up. If two people are out of shape to wit; obese or seemingly lethargic couch potato types, millennial types or metro idiots, team them up together, This assessment SHOULD BE MADE during the Orientation Dive that real dive resorts do. Cocoview does this in Roatan. It works and really helps the staff pair up and ease up making everyone happier., Cattle Boat operations don't do this, I've seen it in Aruba, the North Sea, the Med, the Caymans and many places in the States.

George Austin is all on it, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy! George said a key statement "WHEN STAGING MY EQUIPMENT". In the Army we did what was called PCCs (Pre-Combat Checks) and PCIs (Pre-Combat Inspections), I view diving in the same light. Whether diving remotely or in a group, equipment staging and checks make for a happy and alive dive. Remember, DEEP DOWN, YOU NEED TO BE THE VERY BEST (sorry Scubapro), for yourself as well as those who dive with you, because believe it or not, when you dive it really is just you, regardless of the litigation dampening protocols that the industry implements. Granted, an LDS or Dive Operation has to look out for themselves from "Lawsuit" happy idiots that don't really understand that diving, like many sports has real inherent risks to it. That said, an operation should be doing the right things like checking credentials and doing the important things like orientation dives to smooth out the wrinkles in the operation and making the event far more enjoyable. Staff is important in this in that they all understand this intent and carry it out. A tired or just plain lazy staff will sink a dive operation faster than an iceberg hitting the Titanic!
"Where'd ya get that ol' thang, don't cha' know them thare things ill kill ya!"

Live From the Red Sea,

Russ

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couv
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Re: What the Hell is a "Self-Reliant" Diver???

Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:44 pm

Bronze06 wrote:.......To answer Couv's question, Never had a class regarding this....


Then I refer you to 2a w. NO ONE WILL DIVE BEYOND HIS CERTIFICATION LEVEL, PERIOD!!!!!
How can you solo dive without a solo certification? :P
A sincere THANK YOU to all at VDH who make this wonderful resource available and to all the thoughtful contributors.

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