Mental Preparation and Self-Sufficiency

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Discussion about diving preparation and diver’s self-sufficiency

We have noticed that the lack of self-awareness in the matter and a poor stress and risks management are often hidden causes of scuba diving accidents and fatalities.

As the exigencies of the diver become stronger as for the choice of a diving school that would provide with adequate training for a specific type of diving and adapted to the diver personality, other exigencies are also considered when it comes to choosing diving gear which must comply with technical, comfort and estheticism criteria. We believe that the diver should be in the same way exigent in the preparation of his/her dives. Cave divers are pretty familiar with a well-detailed pre-dive preparation, technical diver agencies are pushing this way, but this is not always the case with recreational divers. “Safety is our concern”.

The training trap

The real “trap” is not the training itself but rather the manner in which the fresh certified diver has been taught the main key points, and how well they were understood. In other words, is the diver capable of returning the essential learned? Although self-evaluation, calling into question and upgrades are essential values in the risky activity of diving, they are quickly forbidden once the training time is over.

A newly certified diver with his/her experience and habits is generally competent (satisfied of his/her competences). Cautious at first, then when everything goes well, little by little the diver becomes more confident and settles up into his/her own marks. Consequently the next dive will be similar to the previous one. This approach of diving will become a mirror of diving in the general sense until an unusual event makes the diver aware of another reality, surprising, worrying, hard, and sometimes tragic. Later the diver comes up with questions and answers about whether considering the idea of whether the responsibility in the preparation of the dives is missing or not.

Nevertheless, this is the right time to assess the risks and make the right choice. Of course this information is mentioned during the training courses and should be part of the usual techniques of diving. We believe that most of the instructors emphasize the necessity of taking the necessary time to understand all the teachings, to recall them, to regularly repeat the exercises and to do step by step practice. However, I believe only a few students follow these procedures after training is completed, for the only reason that it requires a personal involvement, a choice, a decision, a responsibility, though it involves the fact of being self-sufficient. Among the goals of a diver randomly sorted, prevails the envy of diving. Enjoying these too short moments underwater.

Amidst the priorities, we also find some professional « mandatory issues »; then, at last, comes the demand for security. Those needs precede and sometimes harm the essential progression of the apprenticeship (training and experience) causing worrying unbalance.

To be continued……

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Georges Gawinowski

Georges Gawinowski has been teaching full time scuba diving for 18 years. He is located in North Florida in "Cave country". He is IANTD's Training Director for the US South-East coast, member of the IANTD Board of Advisors.

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