Rebreather travel artcile published in X-Ray Magazine. Any thoughts?

X-Ray magazine published an article I wrote about rebreather travel a couple days ago. It is a bit long but if you would like to read it please let me know your thoughts. 

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Sidemount Instructor Training

I started diving sidemount back in 2009 while in the Canary Islands, have read a few books about it and have some open water sidemount dives under my belt. Now it was the time for instructor training. 

A nice view of Seattle's skyline and SM tanks
I have spent the last 3 days in an open water sidemount clinic with PADI CD Al Schumer in Seattle. Al has taken me trough the distinctive specialty Frank Gutierrez and Andy Phillips wrote and we have been discussing many things about configuration, procedures, etc. 

Al coaches Wayne on regulator adjustments
We had four students including Al's son Alex, Jinx, Wayne and Chuck in two confined water sessions, two open water sessions and an additional module for instructor training. 

Confined water sessions at Underwater Sports

Chuck fine tunes his rig

This has been a great experience for me. My sincere thanks to Al for his dedication to instruction. I'm taking the best impression of this PADI CD after this trip. Next week, Al and I will be in North Florida for some cave dives and will use sidemount as our dive configuration of choice. After the caves and DEMA, I will teach the first sidemount diver course in Ecuador with a few friends. 

Will keep posting. 

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Notes from 2011's DAN fatalities report

I'm taking a look at the 2011 DAN Fatalities Proceedings document. Some lessons and conclusions (mostly copied) from it follow: 

 1. Pre dive is key: Spend time in dive preparation. 

Time spent in this area could have prevented 29 percent of the analyzable fatalities in the study. Dive preparation involves ensuring equipment is properly serviced, correctly prepared and properly fitted. 

Conduct rigorous buddy checks; don’t let familiarity lead to cursory checks. A proper buddy check will need to ensure that all divers understand the dive plan and actions to take if things start to go wrong. 

2. Honor the "Plan the dive, and follow the plan" mantra. 

This means to regularly check gas supplies and take action early to avoid running low, don’t progress the dive into unplanned directions (in terms of depth, penetration, etc) and avoid becoming separated from your buddy. 

Be alert to developing problems with yourself and your buddy, and be ready to act early and effectively. Practice the key diving skills, and keep this practice up-to-date. Good diving skills could have prevented or arrested 16 percent of the analyzable fatalities in this paper. 

Stay well within your personal comfort zone, and be ready to call off or abort a dive if necessary. Do not adopt a brave stance and assume that the dive must go ahead. Awareness of this point could have prevented 9 percent of the analyzable fatalities in this paper. 

3. As a diving professional you need to provide safety and advice: 

From a dive operation perspective, buddy inexperienced divers with experienced divers and avoid “nonpair” diving. Also make sure you monitor the progress of a dive effectively. Care in this area could have prevented or arrested 18 percent of the analyzable fatalities in this paper. 

 Ensure that proper ascent rates can be achieved with ease. Ensure that divers are able to achieve surface buoyancy easily and quickly so they can secure themselves at the surface in an emergency situation. Have them practice out-of-gas procedures so they are second nature. 

When diving with trainees or less experienced divers beware of this point from their perspective, and advice and guide them accordingly. 

 4. You need to know where you stand today

Build up your experience gradually, progressing to more challenging environments at an acceptable pace and in the company of more experienced divers. Be prepared to rebuild this experience after a layoff from diving. 

Do not assume that you can start from where you left off. 

 For further reference, you can find the complete document at the Rubicon Fundation Repository

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DEMA 2011

I will attend DEMA Show 2001. If you have any questions or comments, want to learn more about rebreather expeditions in the Galapagos, technical diver training in the Islands, underwater exploration in the region or please just let me know. Leave a comment for the Guest Book trough Facebook