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Further Training

Discussion in 'Technical Diving' started by Harvey-NG, May 7, 2018.

  1. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    I'm currently looking at leaving the relative warmth of my BSAC club as a sports diver and thinking of starting to progress more with technical diving - nothing too serious yet, but I'm keen to spend longer on the bottom, trying out some accelerated deco and possibly adding some helium into the mix. This is just so I can dive with less limitations, longer bottom times, and go a little deeper (although not serious deep - I'd buy a rebreather for that.)

    Currently I'm looking at several courses, namely GUE Fundies (which seems to be a very popular course on here) or TDI advanced nitrox then helitrox at a later stage. There's also TDI decompression procedures but by the looks of things, it's been almost replaced by advanced nitrox - covering basically the same stuff. Is TDI intro to tech a good course to take, it doesn't seem to be required for any further TDI training provided the diver is of relative competence anyway? I feel sports diver is a good place to start branching out of BSAC a bit, but maybe I should wait until I've completed DL, who knows?

    I could choose to stay with BSAC, and do the accelerated deco then mixed gas courses, but I'm not sure if that's really the best route, many say otherwise...

    If any instructors teach these courses, or if anyone has been through the same route, and wouldn't mind expanding a bit on what might be the best progression for me to take (whilst ideally not spending an absolute fortune on endless courses) I'd be very grateful to hear what you have to say!


    H
     
  2. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    The route I took and my reasoning. Other routes are available....

    Before you move up the skills ladder your core skills -- finning, trim and buoyancy need to be sorted simply because you'll have to be comfortable spending a lot of time at deco depths. For this there's no better course than GUE Fundimentals. Their quality and teaching skills are second to none IMHO.

    After that spend some time practicing and honing your skills before moving on to the first level technical course.

    When you're ready then look at the technical course. There's lots available and all are similar. I went for TDI's Deco Procedures and Helitrox as much for the instructor as the course. This allows unlimited deco on a single cylinder of up to 100% oxygen and up to 20% helium in your backgas (21% oxygen), so 45 metres. This course is an amalgam of advanced Nitrox (up to 100%), deco procedures and intro to helium. TBH it's perfect for UK diving giving you much longer on the 30 to 40 metre range and access to 45 metres with a bit of helium to keep the narcosis at bay.

    I really dislike IANTD's Advanced Recreational Trimix as it has an artificial 15 minute deco limit plus a really expensive approach to helium -- meaning you'll nearly always be diving outside of your certification, so could have grief with insurance, etc.

    PADI do their set of technical courses -- Tec 40,45, 50. As ever their course standards aren't available on their content-free website. Allegedly they allow some helium for the Tec50. Unless you know and trust the instructor, avoid PADI as they're good at getting people to dive but don't know much about technical diving.

    BSAC ADP (accelerated deco procedures) is another option. I'm not BSAC so that's not available to me.

    Then practice and hone your new level of skills.

    The next level is extended range 'normoxic' trimix which means two deco tins, so much longer bottom times as you plan for one failure. This means even longer bottom times in the 30 to 40 metre range and access to 60ish metres.

    After that it's hypoxic trimix, with several stage cylinders and enormous gas bills. Or lots of reasons to go for a rebreather.

    Talking of rebreathers... their courses are frequently referred to as Mod 1, Mod 2 and Mod 3. Mod 1 is the intro level course which is depth limited to your open circuit limit up to 45 metres (i.e. 30 metres if PADI AOW, 35 metres if BSAC SD, etc.). Mod 2 is basically a Normoxic 60ish metre course and Mod 3 is the advanced trimix course. I did my Normoxic/extended range course with a guy who was doing his Mod 2 as the courses are very similar.


    The key thing is to get your fundimental skills honed before embarking on this journey. Alas this may mean diving with other people if your existing crowd don't have the right attitude. Personally I parted company with my old PADI recreational lot as they just didn't get it. You may well have similar issues with your BSAC club.

    Again, I really recommend GUE Fundies. That's the starting point and will really set your standards for your future training regardless of agency.
     
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  3. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    Once you get into technical diving it’s instructor first, agency second.
    As Wibble says though, the higher your base skill level the easier the courses will be. GUE Fundamentals is one of the best ways to get your basics nailed with high levels of tuition and consistency between instructors.

    BSAC do have some good instructors at that level so it’s always worth looking to see what courses are running and who’s doing them.

    Incidentally Wibs, MOD1 is a 30m air ticket regardless of OC qualifications. You want more than that and you have to bolt on Helitrox or similar.
     
  4. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Thanks Dom - mistakenly thought it was automatic.
     
  5. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    Yeah, I already get funny looks when I try to perfect my frog kick, as for primary donate...

    One more point, could I enter fundies with limited twinset experience and technically no formal training, is that a done thing or would a quick twinset course be necessary - that's probably something I could get a BSAC friend to do with me though so not much of an issue.
     
  6. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    My girlfriend did fundies after having just 5 or 6 twinset dives, he had no idea about shutdowns, the course taught her that.
     
  7. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    The only skill you need for Fundies is the ability to stay still. Not moving forwards, backwards, up or down whilst not moving. Harder than it sounds.
     
  8. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    Actually I taught myself very early on to avoid fighting against moving around and to just let myself move naturally - this saved looking like an idiot in the water, arms flailing about, feet in the air sort of thing. I've never had the need to stay totally still until now!
     
  9. Dave Whitlow

    Dave Whitlow Well-Known Member

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    Very true.
    As a BSAC Instructor (and DO) I went diving outside and progressed as follows:

    IANTD Advanced Recreational Trimix (48m trimix)
    TDI Normoxic Trimix (60m trimix)
    SDI Solo (just so I could solo dive in the local puddle)

    I quickly realised deep trimix was a losers game and a few months later:

    IANTD CCR Rebreather Diver (48m trimix)

    and the following year

    IANTD Trimix CCR Diver (100m)

    With hindight, I'd skip the 60m trimix ticket and go directly to CCR.

    Not so. My MOD1 was a 48m trimix ticket. According to IANTD UK ,MOD1
    "The program qualifies divers in the safe use of a closed circuit rebreather for dives to a maximum depth of 48 msw (160 fsw) if using diluent with helium or 42 msw (140 fsw) if using an air diluent with a maximum of 15 mins of decompression."
     
  10. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    BTW I did Fundies but too early (hindsight is such a good thing). Cannot agree more highly with Dom's point about staying still probably being the main prerequisite. At the time I didn't have my buoyancy under control so left with a provisional pass which I didn't convert in time.

    Despite that I still rate Fundies as probably my most important course as it put me in the right direction, showed me what good looks like and how to practice.
     
  11. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    Ok, so it’s agency specific.

    My TDI MOD1 was for 30m and air dil. Helitrox was an add-on to the course, extending it by 2 dives.
     
  12. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    Fundies definitely seem like the best option to be going forward with for the meantime. Do I aim for the rec pass or tech pass - is it relevant if I'm not planning on continuing with GUE, or is it a good idea to go for the tech pass to get the most out of the course? I imagine it would be, but if anyone has any experience of this...
     
  13. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    You aim to absorb as much of the instructors knowledge as possible. The result is secondary to the tools you are given to work with.

    I was under a lot of pressure to do well when I did Fundies; primarily because I’d been diving with Gooers for several years, but for a couple of other reasons I’m unwilling to discuss. However, I genuinely approached the course as learning experience, determined to take as much as could away from it and not let my teammates down. When Garf waved the tech pass note in front of me while holding a 1m stop, gas sharing and blob up I did a little dance as it was one of the proudest moments in my diving career.
    Sounds trite but that’s the truth of it. I still have the page from his wetnotes, I’d probably have his arm as well if he hadn’t let go...
     
  14. Vanny

    Vanny Active Member

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    Depends on your training availability from BSAC , but if you’ve got access to some decent instructors I don’t see the need to go outside of the club. By all means go to different agencies , getting a spread of experience if that’s what your thinking.

    But the BSAC courses can give you what you want and a bloody sight cheaper. Maybe not as sexy as some but buoyancy and trim , twin set , ADP gets you deeper and longer. Then there’s either ccr or you can persevere with OC trimix courses, if you like throwing £96 of every £100 gas in bubbles.

    Getting through ADP won’t cost that much , where your looking at going commercially must be a couple of grand. Best save that money , do ADP then spend what you’ve saved on CCR and go Diving boom. We all teach the same stuff just which wrapper you like (subject to a decent instructor)
     
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  15. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    It's a good point, but the idea of doing fundies seem like a good one, even though it may cost quite a bit. I'd like to learn how to dive really well, and get technique nailed, it's something I've tried to do basically since day one - perfectly flat trim and all that.

    The issue with BSAC is that the training isn't always amazing, no disrespect to any instructors... I'm sure others may agree, it can be rather varied in my experience.
     
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  16. Vanny

    Vanny Active Member

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    Fair enough , as I say you need to get with someone decent and that depends what area your in or can travel to. If Fundies floats your boat go for it.
     
  17. Dave Whitlow

    Dave Whitlow Well-Known Member

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    BSAC does depend on the instructors, and some are poor divers themselves. Folk in the local club get taught buoyancy and trim from the start but you'd need to be local for that to make sense.
     
  18. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    Garf did the BSAC buoyancy and trim workshop, it’s a shame he didn’t write a course report. It would be hilarious.
     
  19. Dave Whitlow

    Dave Whitlow Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps he failed to meet standards ;)
     
  20. timmyg

    timmyg Super Moderator
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    Just my 2p.

    Regardless of course, I wouldn't bother practicing skills. It's easier for both student and instructor to teach new skills than trying to break bad habits. I would however as a minimum if you don't have any kit, get a backplate and harness, and a decent set of jet fins. But speak to your instructor first. Certainly at entry level (fundies, ITT etc...) the instructor could/should be able to loan some equpment to make sure you only get what is required and that you don't waste your money. At deco level I would expect you to have a full twinset, and you could possibly loan a stage.

    In terms of courses, fundies is a great course and will give you a solid base to start from, but, it's not for everyone. Even as a technical instructor (I did it just to see what if) I still walked away with a few new tips. You could even just do the first couple of days as a primer (I believe).

    With regards to the 2 routes you've mentioned (there are others such as IATD, SSI, RAID), I teach both so can speak without bias.

    TDI.
    Intro-to-Tech. 2 days, 3 dives minimum (usually 4). This is a standalone course but IMO recommended otherwise AN/DP / AN/Helitrox is generally a too larger step. It is TDI's equivalent of fundies but given it's half the length and half the number of dives (and half the cost) do not expect the same standard as fundies. But, it is a great course. I've many students who would agree.

    Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures/Helitrox. Minimum 6 dives, usually over 3, 4 or 5 days. A great course. 45m deco, max 20% helium on the Helitrox.

    BSAC.
    You have the twinset and ADP courses. These are great little courses, and at least in terms of theory are equal to the TDI equivalents but as you've mentioned, the standards can vary based on the instructor. If you want to do primary donate, at the minute, there are limits instructors who can do this.

    Which one, there are obviously pros and cons and the BSAC route is undoubtedly cheaper. But if I had to choose a route I would honestly say TDI because you cover far more 'so whats/emergencies' if you just stick to the basic syllabus. This is despite me being an NI and having more than a soft spot for BSAC.

    This post is not a sell. My last course was last month and my next isn't until July due to a young baby and relocating, so I'm not really in a position to commit until after I move. But, if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

    TG
     

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