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Old 23-06-2014, 09:27   #1
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Question for Scuba Divers

First of all, a tip of my hat to Pete7 of this parish, my friend and crack diver who has already not only given me tons of good advice, but who even dived on my prop in April and fitted an anode to replace a jury-rigged one.

I acquired some scuba gear last year from a cruiser who was selling up, as part of my long-term plan to learn how to dive in order to be able to deal with underwater problems on my boat. The gear is a Mini-B set which has a pony tank in a sleek backpack with built in buoyancy chamber, regulator, etc. I also have weights, fins, mask, etc.

My purpose for diving is mostly what is mentioned above -- to be able to get to my underwater bits without lifting out, in order to inspect, repair, untangle, and maybe clean my own bottom.

I don't really have any other diving ambitions and don't have time to make it into a full-blown hobby, but I love to snorkel and I'm sure that I will enjoy going down in anchorages and playing around underwater, besides just the utilitarian tasks.

However, I do not have any ambitions whatsoever to make deep dives or do anything really more than what has been mentioned. I can't imagine I'll ever want to go deeper than 6 - 8 meters.

It should also be said that the water in all the places I plan to cruise in the near future is cold -- below 20C. So it looks like I will need to be in a dry suit from the beginning.

So now I need to find a course and get certified. I guess what I need to have is a PADI Open Water cert with dry suit specialization.

Any hints on the best way to do this? Pete7 recommended a place called Andark which is just next to my mooring; they offer four-day complete courses for 359 pounds (about $500), or a series of evenings plus two dive days, which is cheaper.

Is this the most efficient way to do it? Is it possible to do the course work by correspondence, online? I am a quick study (once passed a bar exam without studying!) and learn easily by reading; don't really need courses if they're not required. I don't want to cut any corners, but considering my modest goals, I also don't want to spend more time or money than necessary.

And what is a NAUI certification? An alternative to PADI? Is it any good? The dive center in the port where I am spending the summer is NAUI, not PADI certified.
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Old 23-06-2014, 09:39   #2
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

Its hard to learn how to find your regulator when it gets knocked out of your mouth and to put your mask back on and clear it of water after its been kicked off and to continually exhale while doing an emergency ascent without air, from reading a book. These are things that you need to practice in the water with an instructor. Take a class, you'll be glad you did. It's interesting, challenging and fun. Maybe someday you'll end up in some great tropical water where you can really enjoy some dives.
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Old 23-06-2014, 09:45   #3
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

Either PADI or NAUI will be fine. Not much difference, really.

Course work by correspondence is not an option since most of it is done in the water; first in a pool then in open water.

For your purposes you still need certification because no one will fill your compressed air tank before you flash your PADI or NAUI card
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Old 23-06-2014, 09:46   #4
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Its hard to learn how to find your regulator when it gets knocked out of your mouth and to put your mask back on and clear it of water after its been kicked off and to continually exhale while doing an emergency ascent without air, from reading a book. These are things that you need to practice in the water with an instructor. Take a class, you'll be glad you did. It's interesting, challenging and fun. Maybe someday you'll end up in some great tropical water where you can really enjoy some dives.
Obviously I have to do the pool days and the test dives. I'm not trying to avoid that. I was only thinking about the theory parts.
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Old 23-06-2014, 09:51   #5
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

I have been diving for many years, both warm water and cold with two different types of dry suits.

I strongly suggest that you undergo full training from a certified agency. Check who is dominent in your area and use them. I dont believe there is a significant difference in the course materiel.

Diving is a hazardous venture and the first 33 feet is the most dangerous so shallow water doesnt negate the need for training and more important experience and technique. Additional training for drysuit use is critical, think of it as diving in a bubble of air, specific techniques need to be learned and practiced. Picture what happens when you go head down, the air goes to your feet, the fins get popped off, and you doing the poseiden missile route to the surface--- feet first.

Lessons , AND PRACTICE, from a friend who is qualified, with some book study ( the US navy divers manual is still the best) may well substitute for a formal program but wont get you a C card that you need to fill tanks.

Paul
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Old 23-06-2014, 09:54   #6
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

Getting certified is defiantly worth doing. Even at shallow depths it is perfectly possible to get the bends and wind up in a hospital if you don't know what you are doing. $500 seems a little steep, but not unreasonable, I think I paid $300 for my wife's classes a few years ago in Jamaica.

As for skipping the classes, both PADI and NAUI are recognized world wide, and frankly they are pretty similar in detail. It has been too many years since I looked at the differences (I think PADI requires one less dive), but they are comparable to each other. But both exist in part to drive students to instructors. Which means they don't want to offer cheaper ways to get certified since the instructors would starve. And frankly there is value in the hands on instruction, at least to me.
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Old 23-06-2014, 09:58   #7
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

My old club ...
City Divers | Course structure
See the online training courses ...
.... then couple of w'ends in the pool in Town
.... then a long weekend in the Red Sea to finish the Open Water Dives in warm crystal clear waters :-) ... throw in the Dry Suit Specialisation and your done.

... better than a smelly ole English Lake !!

if you need an intro .. PM me...

Good luck ...

PS.. PADI is recognised World over - some other clubs won't allow other certs, as their insurance won't cover it ....
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Old 23-06-2014, 10:01   #8
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

Dry suit is going to be real expensive, take up a lot of room and generally be a PIA.
There are essentially two different types of dry suits, bag and compressed neoprene.
A bag suit is essentially that, a waterproof thin layer that you wear warm undergarments underneath, think ski suit. The compressed neoprene has some insulating properties on it's own, so think polypropylene underwear.
Bag suits have been around forever and are "real" dry suits, if your going ice diving, your probably going to wear a bag suit. But they have a tendency to have a pretty large bubble of air in them as you can't get one skin tight, this bubble of air will move around of course. Go heads down for whatever reason and the air bubble moves into your legs and your stuck upside down. Some people wear gators to prevent this, like a girdle for you legs, some can just deal with it.
Crushed neoprene suits fit tighter and because you don't need as thick undergarments you don't have this bubble of air if the suit is sized correctly, this means you aren't mail ordering a dry suit as it would be just pure luck if you got one that fit right.
A correctly fitted crushed neoprene dry suit swims like a wet suit.
A dry suit is considered pretty technical diving, as such I would tell you to seek out a technical type of diving instructor, and you present Scuba gear is sort of just the opposite as in not tech at all.

Really I'd advise you to get a 7mm farmer John wet suit suit and forget diving dry.

My dry suit is a Pinnacle dry ice suit, which even though it's a bottom line price wise suit works great for me and swims better than any dry suit that I've ever worn, but I cave dive in Norther Florida, so I dive in 68F water, not cold by most peoples standards, but after a couple of hours if your wet, your freezing.

In my opinion NAUI, PADI and others like that are pretty equal. Neither will teach you that much really, but if I had to pick between the two, I'd pick NAUI.
I think for world travelling maybe a CMAS card would eb better?

On edit, if your dry suit diving, your gonna spend thousands not hundreds, so be prepared for that.
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Old 23-06-2014, 10:06   #9
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

I paid 350 euros for one on one with an instructor who took care of all the equipment and transportation on Menorca. The theory takes very little time, nothing saved by doing it the way you suggest. The first 10-20ft or so in depth seems to be the most dangerous, so shallow diving doesn't make your situation safer.

A good wet suit should be fine for your needs. Ask at the dive shop as to what thickness will be required along with gloves, booties and a hood. You're not going to be down for more than an hour cleaning and the temps are much warmer near the surface. Put your money into a larger tank, floatation vest or even a Hookamax instead of the dry suit.
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Old 23-06-2014, 10:15   #10
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

Padi is the most online friendly and will let you do the course work (general theory & physics etc.) for many of it's certs. Saves time in but it's not for everyone. You'll still have to do the pool and openwater dives, but you can have cert in less than week. Check out their elearning site:
https://www.padi.com/elearning-scuba...n/default.aspx
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Old 23-06-2014, 10:16   #11
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

I would focus more on the instructor than the agency. NAUI or PADI seem to be recognized everywhere I've been and I've seen good and bad instructors with both agencies.

As A64 mentioned, a dry suit is a pretty bulky item to store and does have the issues he mentioned. Plus you have to carry an extra tank, regulator, hoses, etc to inflate the suit and if you're really serious about staying warm should use argon for the gas.

I would agree with Kenomac and stick with a 7 mil wet suit. For the time you will be in the water and no colder than 20C should be fine. Do get a good hood to go with it. Makes a huge difference.

If you do end up going with a dry suit I recommend the DUI brand. I've used the crushed neoprene and the tri-laminate. The neoprene fits a lot better and I found it easier to work in. You can still end up with an air bubble but not as much of a problem as the laminate.
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Old 23-06-2014, 10:50   #12
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

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Obviously I have to do the pool days and the test dives. I'm not trying to avoid that. I was only thinking about the theory parts.
When I did my class every session we went in the water. So there isn't really wasn't any theory only sessions.
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Old 23-06-2014, 11:18   #13
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

The Padi Open Water Diver course is comprised of five theory modules and five practical/pool modules. The pool modules will have the instructor demonstrate and teach you the basics of Scuba and will give you the opportunity to learn and to practice the skills. The theory modules cover the theoretical aspects of Scuba and include both the physics of diving and the physiology of diving. The theory modules can be taken on line via "e-learning" and that would leave you needing the five pool modules. Each pool module usually lasts approximately two hours as does the theory modules. Once these have been completed you will need to do four open water dives with an instructor in order to demonstrate that you can complete and demonstrate to the instructor the required skills in order to complete your certification. You have one year from the time you start the training to complete it. In order to be certified for Dry suit diving under Padi you will require at least two dives in a dry suit with an instructor to learn and to be able to demonstrate that you can control the dry suit and also your buoyancy while wearing it. Given what you have indicated as the type and proposed depths that you plan to dive to you shouldn't need to add the expense and complexity of using a separate inflation system for the dry suit. I would recommend that you go to the Padi web site as they will have all the information that you need about the course and will also be able to give you a list of Padi certified dive shops in your area.

Hope this information is useful to you.

regards
Ken
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:03   #14
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

A wet suit is more bulky than a non-neoprene dry suit.
A wet suit is an order of magnitude less expensive than a dry suit.
We routinely go ice diving (32 F) in a wet suit, good for about 20 minutes. Pour hot water in the wet suit just before going into cold water.
A wet suit, as stated above, is way safer to use than a dry suit.

For your application, UW hull work, I think a 7 mm wet suit with boots, gloves, and hood will be more the adequate.

Contrary to what was stated above you cannot get bent if you stay shallower than 10 meters. However, you could embolize if you hold your breath and ascend as little as 6 feet near the surface.

IMHO, a class is valuable, but for just hull work you could read the book and teach yourself if you are strong in the water. The key is ALWAYS breath normally when breathing compressed air. NEVER hold your breath. Learn buoyancy control with all your gear on in water you can stand up in with a helper.

We learned to dive in 1971 by reading the book and then jumping off of a 8 foot high dock into 20 feet of 32 degree water with a wet suit. I have been diving steadily since then.
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:18   #15
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Re: Question for Scuba Divers

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We routinely go ice diving (32 F) in a wet suit, good for about 20 minutes.
My God, why? You must be impervious to pain

I like this ice diving video, took me awhile to figure it out.


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