101 Tips On Becoming A Better Tek Diver
Scuba Diver|Issue 05 - 2020(119)
Technical diving takes divers beyond the typical recreational scuba diving limits, opening up many new and exciting possibilities.
Equipped with years of extensive training and experience – coupled with a strong mindset – technical divers are some of the most skilled and well-prepared divers around. Here, we delve into the evolution of technical diving, and learn about some of the industry’s most accomplished tek divers, who have helped make it possible to explore further, longer and deeper.

Different types of tek diving:

  • Trimix

  • Wreck Diving

  • Mine Diving

  • Backmount Diving

  • Cave Diving

  • Closed-Circuit Rebreather (CCR)

  • Ice Diving

  • Sidemount Diving

  • CCR Trimix

  • Semi-closed Rebreather (SCR)

TOP 10 TIPS FOR DIVING WITH TRIMIX By Julien Fortin

Though there exist various terms like Helitrox, helitrox, triox, heliox and the like, trimix can general term for any diving gas mixture containing helium, oxygen, and usually a certain am While it has been known for a century, and successfully used as early as 1939 for a successfu on the USS Squalus, it still is seen by some divers as something complicated only used by ex

JUST DO IT

Trimix diving may sound daunting, but it's not! Adding helium to the mix basically means you'll have a clear mind and enjoy your dive more. Apart from the cost, there is every reason to use it, once you get proper training

START SHALLOW

Trimix is usually associated with deep diving, but it makes a lot of sense to use it from 30 metres onward. The deeper you go, the more narcosis you have, and the less time your gas is buying. So being clear-headed should never be an option

USE AN INFLATION BOTTLE

When diving with a dry suit, why waste your precious trimix inflating your suit? While the risks of skin isobaric counter diffusion are very theoretical, it can make you colder, and makes no financial sense. Use an inflation bottle with either argon or good old nitrox instead

CHECK YOUR WEIGHTS

Helium is 7 times lighter than Nitrogen and 8 times lighter than Oxygen. Remember to compensate for the gas weight difference by adding the appropriate amount of lead to your kit before the dive, or be ready to experience a very uncomfortable deco stop at the end

CHOOSE THE RIGHT END FOR THE JOB

The equivalent narcotic depth (END) is the measure of how clear-headed you are. While a max END of 30 metres is always a good upper limit, some dives with more difficult conditions or a complex mission might require you to lower it even more

MAKE YOUR STAGES NEUTRAL

Trimix is primarily used to prevent narcosis, but a very good usage for it is also to make your stages neutral when diving with multiple stages, for instance on complex cave dives. One or two additional stages with trimix 30/30 will be nicely horizontal and easier to drag, whether you're swimming or using a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV)

DETUNE YOUR REGS

If your regulators are tuned to be extremely easy to breathe, using a gas with much lower density might make them free-flow slightly. You can easily solve that by detuning your second-stage if needed

THINK QUALITY, NOT COST

Trimix is expensive – sure enough. But so is diving in general, and technical diving in particular. Using trimix increases safety, but also your diving pleasure: You can be more efficient at depth and be more aware of your environment, your team and your equipment. You will also remember the dive much better. And if you want to save on gas, you can always use trimix in your rebreather as well

JUST BREATHE

Helium, being a lighter gas, is also easier to breathe – and reducing the work of breathing reduces your production of carbon dioxide, thus further reducing your narcosis. All in all, you will breathe easier, and enjoy more – especially in more challenging dive conditions

FOCUS ON THE DIVE

Trimix is there to help you focus on the dive by reducing narcosis. Once you get proper training, choose the proper gas, analyse your tanks and plan your dive correctly – forget about it! It's a tool that allows you to realise more complex dives in a safer, more efficient and more enjoyable manner – not the goal of your dive

TOP 10 TIPS FOR WRECK DIVING By Tiffany Norberg and Edd Stockdale

Wreck diving has become an increasingly popular form of scuba diving over the years and the experience one gets from diving amongst historical wrecks is unlike any other. As a diver, we are constantly hunting for the next adventure, and with wreck diving, the thrill of exploring a ship that has lain undisturbed for decades, perhaps even centuries, filled with history

FOLLOW LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS

Many wrecks have historical or archaeological significance, or involved lives lost in their sinking. Make sure you are aware and follow any regulations related to the wreck before you dive it

HAVE A PLAN

Wrecks often sit on the sea floor away from reefs and as such have currents, the possibility of poor visibility as well as lines to descend and ascend. Pre-dive planning should include where the line is on the wreck, navigation to allow return to the ascent point and dealing with emergencies such as surfacing without a line

GET INFORMATION PRE-DIVE

Part of the enjoyment of wreck diving is seeing specific areas of the wreck and knowing its history. As such getting information on a ship’s history, design and how it sits will allow you to navigate and visit points of interest more easily

HAVE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT

Your equipment needs to be reliable, streamlined, and suited to the style of diving you are doing. You will also need additional tools, including lights, reels and other tools such as strobes. The training on how to use these items is also important

DIVE WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE TEAM

Wreck diving can offer many levels of diver great opportunities but can be very dangerous without the required skills and knowledge. No one should go beyond their training and experience levels even if members of their team are able to

RUN A LINE WHEN PENETRATING

You do not need to penetrate a wreck to enjoy diving it, but if you do, make sure you always run a guideline to ensure you know the exit direction

ASSESS THE WRECK BEFORE PENETRATING

A good wreck diver will always identify regions of the wreck they wish to penetrate and assess the conditions as well as entry point prior to entering. This includes silt levels, structural integrity and other hazards

REMEMBER MARINE LIFE

Wrecks can act as artificial reefs and as such many marine creatures live on and in them. Be aware of this both to avoid hurting the marine life and yourself. Use good buoyancy to avoid contact with the wreck even on the outside and check that the hatch you want to enter through does not have someone big living inside

DO NOT REMOVE ANYTHING

Removing items from a wreck at the very least removes the chance for others to see or worse can effect knowledge gain through archaeological research. It might look pretty on your shelf at home but it should remain on the wreck

NO WRECK IS WORTH DYING FOR

Diving wrecks is amazing but none of them are worth getting hurt for. If you is outside your comfort zone, experience or conditions are not suitable then limit the dive or abort. You can always return to try again

TOP 10 TIPS FOR MINE DIVING By Victor Verlinden

Unbeknown to many, mine diving and cave diving are vastly different and co different environments. Mines – unlike caves that are formed naturally over disused places of an industry that have been flooded. Often, they are man-m that date back hundreds of years. Beautiful and fragile, such mines have to care, as their structural integrity has often been compromised due to years Yet, just like exploring shipwrecks, mines contain years of hidden secrets. Co challenge and complexity of overhead environment diving with history and mines are thrilling to explore, but like any other deep dive, hold just as much Verlinden, an experienced mine diver who has been pursuing the sport for m his top tips for mine diving and how to do it safely.

THE RIGHT TRAINING

It is important to follow a training course first – make sure to always have an experienced instructor. Certified cave divers will be ready to take on the challenge

THE TEAM

Assemble your team according to the goal of the dive – consider which type of dive you want to make: introductory, exploratory and/or photographic. Depending on the goal, the composition of the team may differ, depending on experience level

THE PLAN

Make a clear plan and discuss it with the team members. Most importantly, duration and depth will need to be agreed upon. Never deviate from the plan (unless strictly necessary)

PHOTO AND VIDEO

If there are photo and video opportunities, carefully plan which shots you are going to take. Doing a drawing in advance can help. A photographer or videographer pays much less attention to safety and therefore should have a safety diver present to guide him

THE EQUIPMENT

Always use the right equipment for the dive you want to do: rebreather, sidemount, or open circuit. This will depend on the conditions in the mine and the kind of exploration you want to do. Never compromise on the quality of your equipment

SPECIAL LIGHTING TECHNIQUES

If you want to use special lighting techniques (i.e., slave strobe) try them first in a swimming pool before the main dive. Avoid having to change your camera settings during the dive

THE RIGHT LENS

Use the best camera and underwater housing you can afford, and don’t compromise on the quality of your lenses. Putting a cheap lens on an expensive camera makes no sense. A good wideangle lens is usually your best bet

STAY WARM

Make sure your drysuit is in good condition and is able to keep you warm and comfortable throughout the dive. If you are cold, you will be less attentive to your safety. You’re move likely to have a successful dive if you’re comfortable

POST-DIVE DISCUSSION

After the dive, discuss with the team what was good, but also what could be improved. Encourage them to put forward their own initiatives in order to achieve a good result

COMFORT ZONE

Never do a dive that you don’t really want to do – also report this to the group. Make sure to always dive within your own comfort zone. The most important thing is that you go home safely. If you don't feel well then don't dive!

TOP 10 TIPS FOR BACKMOUNT DIVING By Yvonne Press

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