I was a padi instructor for about 10 years in Nova Scotia Canada and have trained over 500 OW divers, plusw Advanced and Rescue divers. I had always thought that there was a bit too much emphasis on depending on your buddy in an emergency. Although I think it's absolutely necessary to teach every possible way and procedure involving your buddy in diving, way too little is taught about how to be self-sufficient whislt u/w. There's also a certain confidence eroding psychology going on for the average diver, because of things he's heard about the dangers of diving alone. The general recreational dive community would have the average Joe believe that the second he jumps into the water without a buddy the shit will hit the fan! This fear of solitude, in my view as a long time instructor, really lodges in the brains of divers, to the extent that if an average buddy diver even gets separated from his partner, he will begin to grow very anxious which of course leads to errors and accidents. Besides being an instructor & u/w photographer, I've also been a commerical sea urchin diver in the Bay of Fundy, and have over 2000 dives doing this. Despite the fact that there are 4 divers in a crew on an urchin boat, each of was busy doing our jobs and were separated, often by hundreds of metres, so were really diving alone. What was telling to me was when new divers were hired as a replacement who were traditional buddy divers, they were very nervous and error prone until they got some experience in the strong currents. It was with the divers who had come from a buddy system that we saw the most accidents (fortunately nothing major), not those divers who had extensive experience diving alone, even if they were new to the tidal environment.
I really feel that the training agencies should revamp their attitudes towards solo diving and build an element of self-sufficiency (and the redundant equipment that's an important part of that) into the open water course. Yes, continue to teach how to dive safe with a buddy, but not how to rely
on a buddy. But, of course, the buddy system sells more gear and certs!
Me, I like nothing more than solo photo diving, and can't really see how it could work otherwise for me.
Edited by scottleslie, 11 October 2007 - 12:01 PM.