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PADI goes solo

solo diving gaining momentum

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#1 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 08:18 PM

We have had lively discussions on solo diving on wetpixel in 2003 and 2007, including comments that PADI abhors solo diving like nature abhors a vacuum. So I was surprised to find out that PADI has recently introduced an official solo diving specialty course, although they call it the self-reliant diver course. Ironically, I found out while taking the SDI solo diver course. I can't comment on which course is better as I don't know much about PADI's offering, but did like the SDI course, especially the in-water part of it. The good thing about the PADI course is that it may make dive operators more willing to allow divers with the appropriate training, equipment and demonstrated skills to go it alone.

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#2 Timmoranuk

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:10 AM

Generally here in the UK, I've found that dive boat operators are OK with solo diving provided you have a qualification, ie. SDI solo. It's the overseas operators who are often unwilling to allow solo diving. I usually attend the two major dive shows in the UK; LIDS and the NEC, where many resorts and liveaboards have trade stands. Almost all will not allow solo diving often citing insurance as their rationale for their refusal to allow.

May I suggest we start a pinned thread where we post about dive operations which do subscribe to solo diving?
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#3 MortenHansen

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:37 AM

Having more awareness on the issues of solo diving is for sure great!

As far as I have understood from googling a little: The PADI Self reliant diver course is not a solo diver course, it is meant to teach someone the skills to avoid getting into a sticky situation if they by accident get separated from their buddy.

I think these courses are excellent, teaching people to be more independent rather than relying on someone else to plan, think and dive for them.

The only thing that I am strongly opposed to is the minimum course entry requirement of only 100 dives.
In my short time as a diving instructor/guide/manager I have seen a billion and one people who can not dive at all with 100 dives.

If you think about it, 100 dives are only 4-6 diving holidays and since a lot of people only do one dive holiday every 2 years that means that they've maybe averaged 10-15 dives/year for the last 7-12 years. That is in my opinion not enough to be a self reliant diver (for the vast majority of people).

If they would put up the minimum requirement to say, 400-500 dives + proof of doing a minimum of maybe 50 dives/year for the last 3-5 years. Now that would be a different story.

Anyways, that's the way I see it.

enjoy, and be safe! -Morten

#4 scuba_d

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:41 AM

May I suggest we start a pinned thread where we post about dive operations which do subscribe to solo diving?


This is a very good idea.

I tried to do solo dives at some inland dive sites here in UK and when you ask to do so they look at you as an alien.
I am really curious to see these inland training facilities where you can get the solo qualification and yet not to be allowed to do a solo dive in their dive sites.

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#5 adamhanlon

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:14 AM

Hi all,

Disclaimer: I teach both users and instructors the PADI Self Reliant Diver course.

PADI have an aversion to the "Solo Diver" title, as this implies that diving on your own is acceptable under all circumstances. Hence the title is "Self-Reliant". It does aim to equip people to dive without a buddy, as well as to be more self sufficient within a traditional buddy or team structure.

Rightly or wrongly, PADI requires instructors to have a minimum of 100 logged dives, so I guess this entry requirement is seen as being stringent enough. At the end of the day, it is still up to the certifying instructor to gauge whether the student is able to dive safely within the parameters of this or any course. If someone does not have enough experience or skill to do so, I would not certify them until they had gained that experience or skills.

In terms of recognition, CDWS in Egypt does recognize the qualification, so the majority of Egyptian Red Sea operations should be OK with it. The inland site with which I am am affiliated will allow you to dive as long as you stay within the guidelines of your qualifications. Hence, if you hold a qualification that allows you to dive independently, they will let you do so...If you do not hold a qualification they will not Posted Image

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#6 scuba_d

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:34 AM

Hence, if you hold a qualification that allows you to dive independently, they will let you do so...If you do not hold a qualification they will not Posted Image

Adam


This is the way it should be.
Unfortunately, you can not do a solo dive at Stoney cove or Gildenburgh water even if you hold a qualification.
I think, they should reconsider their policy in the near future.

Pete

Edited by scuba_d, 19 December 2012 - 02:36 AM.


#7 Scubysnaps

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 05:43 AM

The PADI self reliant course is now 18 months old, I did it in July 2011, as my instructor said, who teaches both, it is basically the same training as SDi, sometimes either can be altered to suit the individual's needs. It a very good course that every UWP'er should carry out for your own safety. Most, if not all, south coast UK dive skippers allow me to solo dive, and none have ever asked for any certification to be shown, I think its a matter of trust in how much they have seen you on their boat before. I think its a lot safer for them to do this rather than let a solo diver start asking to join a buddy team who they have not met before, on the way out to the dive site.
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#8 Walt Stearns

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:02 AM

As a SDI/TDI Instructor, all I have to say is that Self Reliant Diver Course is for better words the appropriate description/title for what the course entails be it SDI/TDI, SSI or now PADI. No matter whether you are in the water alone, with a buddy, or even surrounded by 20 other divers, you are still better off with the knowledge gained through proper training in how to be more self reliant.

Day in, day out, the first person you can rely most on is yourself.

#9 ehanauer

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:29 AM

You learn to be a solo diver by diving a lot, not by taking a course.

Every dive master and instructor is a solo diver. Has to take care of others as well as self.
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#10 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:48 PM

You learn to be a solo diver by diving a lot, not by taking a course.


It is not just the quantity but also the type of diving you do and the types of divers you get to interact with. From 2001 to 2011 I only made tropical dives and it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security because most dives are simple. In addition, a dive master typically guides the dive so you don't practice navigation or judging dive conditions and typically you don't learn a lot from observing your fellow divers, except from occasionally seeing how not to do it. Based on my observation of PADI AOW diver attitudes and abilities I did not believe I would benefit much from taking that program. In contrast, the SDI solo diver training has made me a better and more responsible diver with or without buddy. Not just in terms of skills but mostly in terms of a different mind set towards respect for diving and gear, self evaluation, and the need to regularly practice skills. Another very simple but important realization is that as long as you have access to air and can maintain your buoyancy, you can take your time to solve a problem under water or decide to terminate the dive. All my emergency drills improved a lot after that very simple fact started to sink in.

So if you think you are a capable diver but haven't been really challenging or practicing your skills regularly I think you will find the solo diving course a very good learning experience, whether you want to dive solo by choice or distraction or just become a better and saver diver.


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#11 SwiftFF5

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 07:46 AM

This has been a very interesting discussion. As someone who routinely dives solo in very challenging situations (although usually with a rope tether to a tender on shore), I tend to agree with Bart (Glasseye Snapper). The SDI/TDI Solo Diver course, as well as the ERDi I and II classes will help make you a better diver, both solo and with other divers. It changes your attitude toward your gear, and gives you more confidence in your skills and ability to solve problems underwater.
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#12 tdpriest

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 07:58 AM

Technical dive training has been teaching the skills of solo diving from the outset, emphasising personal skills self-reliance and equipment redundancy. It is possible that a diver with a less well-developed skill set and less familiarity with their equipment could be permitted to dive alone when an experienced technical diver is not...

... simply from the name of their qualification (for myself: IANTD Normoxic Trimix). With apologies to Alex M. (and, latterly Shannon Conway), technical diving training has helped my photography more than any photo workshop!

Edited by tdpriest, 20 December 2012 - 08:01 AM.


#13 Tim Digger

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:30 AM

There seem to be two issues here.
One is a solo diving (call it what you will) certification a good idea, IE will it improve your safety as a photographer U/W. For which the answer is undoubtably yes unless you are already mega experienced.
The second is will you be allowed to dive in a given geographical location without a buddy if you have one of these qualifications. This will undoubtably depend on the social and legal constraints operating in that area, and how they are perceived by those having admittance rights to a given patch of water. On a dive boat skipper and chief guide rule, they will be aware of their likelihood of financial problems if the worst happens. Hence, Red Sea, Indonesia, little chance of financial penalty finding it's way through the legal system, only those moral imperatives (not letting a complete numpty kill himself on a dive obviously beyond him, or the thoughts of the better organised and qualified boats) are likely to be enforced, or UK inland waters where it is perceived that the owners have responsibility for the use of their land with all sorts of paperwork and costs if there is a problem, or somewhere in between, Mexico, much but not all of the Carribean where the USA hedgemony has influence where it is unpredictable even in the presence of local law what will be applied. One other hidden constraint is the ownership of the boat which may well be in a jurisdiction that will influence behaviour.
Thus it is difficult to predict where one will be allowed to make use of the second aspect of such a certification, Caveat Emptor is the watch word here. Ask before you book. Any sticky thread should include the date at which diving took place as this will undoubtably be a fluid situation for sometime to come.
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#14 Scubysnaps

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:57 AM

Hi Tim, long time no hear :)
one other major factor is that are you yourself prepared (kit wise) to go solo, I haven't done many dives solo without my indie twin set up, at home or abroad. I always negotiate the hire of 2 standard cylinders for each dive no matter where I go. I bring full kit required to use them, doesnt weigh much either.
Cheers
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#15 John Bantin

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:41 AM

I've never had a problem being allowed to dive alone. After the first dive as part of a buddy pair, nobody wants to dive with me!

Edited by John Bantin, 23 December 2012 - 04:42 AM.

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