I’d like to write, in parts, about one of the most important aspects of scuba diving, one that, IMO, isn’t emphasized enough by PADI Instructors and Divemaster’s during the early development of student divers. These practices are what the super stars of diving like cave divers, CCR divers and trimix divers implement religiously into their diving to be able to explore the wonders that are beyond the limits of recreational divers. If you wish to be a real diver, then take a leaf out of these excellent divers and start practicing good gas management protocols.
The importance of strong gas management practices can not be emphasized enough in my world of recreational and technical diving. Now, whether you are an open water diver fresh out of your PADI or SDI entry level diving course or an experienced TDI or TecRec trained technical diver using a Trimix blend on a 65m wreck dive at the awesome Truk lagoon, you have too know exactly how much gas you have to get back ‘home’ safely.
Your gas management should never be taken for granted, cause the day you do that, is the day our old friend ‘Murphy’ turns up on the dive and causes you a problem which will surely compromise your gas supply and most importantly, your safety.
A prudent dive instructor should introduce smart gas management practices very early on during the entry level program of the diver. It’s then up to the diver to put those practices in play every time they are out diving. It’s great to see some of the leading dive agencies introduce some of these practices as standards into their open water courses.
Terms such as turn pressure, ascent pressure and SAC rate are introduced and the student gets to practice these elements of safe diving under the supervision of their Diving Instructor. For me, it has to be stressed to the entry level student, how important this information is too their overall enjoyment and safety when scuba diving. If you think you are out of air / or running out of air, the whole dive experience will turn very sour very quickly. Often i see nearly certified divers ascending on their buddies or dive leaders alternate air source (AAS) while making their safety stop. They’ve clearly not put those learnt practices into play or, even worse, they weren’t taught the importance of gas management and left their personnel safety to chance. Complete madness if thats the case.
In Part 2 of this blog, i will go into more detail on what i believe to be the excellent gas management practices that can be utilized for both the PADI Recreational diver and the highly trained TDI Full cave CCR diver.
In the meantime, do yourself a favor, and watch your gas supply.