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Shipwreck PLM 27 bow of the ship with starboard anchor and port anchor chain cascading down to the bottom

Dive Newfoundland Bell Island WWII Shipwrecks

Dive Newfoundland Bell Island Shipwrecks, Humpback Whales, Bell Island Mine and more!

Join us July 22 – 29, 2023 as we dive the majestic Bell Island Shipwrecks , tour the historic Bell Island Mine or even make a day of diving in it as an upgrade and see just how beautiful Newfoundland is and become an honorary Newfoundlander on the last night too with a Screech in!

Pic your adventure with DDS and see why we keep going back. This trip also includes options to Snorkel with migrant Humpback Whales, Kayak through Sea Caves, Stand Up Paddle Board, go Cod Fishing or take a Bike Tour on land! There’s always the potential to still see Icebergs in July as well. Join this amazing and memorable trip to the east coast of Canada and see why we love Newfoundland so much.

Newfoundland is home to some impressive WWII shipwrecks that were sank by German U-Boat’s in 1942. This is the only place in Canda you can see WWII history up close and intact. The Bell Island wrecks are time capsules that feature some beautiful and colourful soft corals and many of the original artifacts including a Marconi Radio Room. With five days of diving, you’ll discover the secrets of all four of the famous Bell Island shipwrecks. Intact and upright on the bottom, over 400 ft long, and in virtually the same conditions as the day they were sunk by German U-boats in 1942, these wrecks are sure to have you coming back again.

DDS is so impressed with Newfoundland that we have booked it over 6 summers in a row now!  Join us for a phenomenal week of diving with our friends at Ocean Quest Adventures . One of the reason’s we keep going back is because Rick and his staff provide outstanding east coast hospitality at their Ocean Quest Dive Lodge. When you dive Newfoundland you realize that this place is special and the diving is some of the best in the world.  It’s worth every penny of the cost and then some.

You’ll see why many of our guests return year in and year out, it’s that great and Rick and Debbie make it feel like home.

Now Booking for 2023!

The Logistics:

Saturday (check in) to (Saturday check out). All packages includes 7 nights accommodations and 5 days activities. This includes your choice of two dives per day or 1 on land activity. It also includes all transportation on activity days, airport transfers and twin or king shared accommodation at Ocean Quest’s luxury dive lodge.

Choose Your Own Adventure Packages:

Diver Package Includes Divers can choose single tanks, twin back mount, side-mount, or rebreather. Stages, Pony’s, and hardware included at no extra cost. Ocean Quest provides the following gas options: Air, Nitrox 28% and 100% O2.

Adventure and Dive Combo For those travellers who want the BEST of both worlds. Pick 5 days of activities diving or non-diving

On Land Adventure Package for Non Divers 5 days of non-diving activities. Perfect for the non-diving partners. Land lubbers can choose from any of the tour options available during the time of stay. See the Tours section of the Ocean Quest Adventures website for more details.

2023 Rate: All packages are $2699.00 + NL HST

Add On: Mine Quest Diving in the Bell Island Mines $300.00 + HST additional. Requirements: Minimum 4 divers per group with FULL CAVE or MINE DIVING Certification. BI Mine Diving will replace 1 day of Wreck Diving.

Additional Adventure Packages add $100/experience.

Prices do not include flight, meals, spa facilities.

Divers need a minimum Advanced Certification, and at least 25 cold water dives. Drysuit is highly recommended.

Trip Arrangements Provided by:

Ocean Quest Adventures

40 O’Leary Ave, St. John’s, NL A1B 2C7

www.oceanquestadventures.com

Ocean Quest

TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course

TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course

Join us for your TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course and see how much more exciting it is when to be diving deeper, longer on bigger and better dive sites!

When it comces to technical diving, deep diving isn’t just setting a dive computer, seeing deco and calling yourself a tech diver, there is a lot that goes into becoming a technical diver, both mentally and physically.

Technical 1 Divers doing a Helitrox Dive on Dufferin Wall in Tobermory, Ontario

Through our TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course classroom and watermanship teachings, you’ll learn what technical diving is, advanced decompression theory, dive planning, gas management, decompression gas planning, as well as tracking both CNS and Pulmonary Oxygen toxicity.

You’ll learn how to follow a decompression schedule, handle emergencies, contingencies, plan for over staying your dive plan and ensuring you have enough gas to safely get yourself back up to the surface.

Decompression is a course requiring sound thinking and judgement. Decompression divers cannot simply ascend when they have a problem.  All issues must be solved underwater, especially with a decompression ceiling above you.

Students will complete a series of eLearning and classroom sessions, as well as local diving shore dives, dive charters followed by a completion of open waters and certification dives in 1000 Islands with us as part of our Rockin’ Rockport Trips.

Dates:

June/July (An Expedition Came Up Matt Can’t say No to for the May/June trip…sorry)

October 8,9,10,14,15,16, 2022

Prerequisites:

Naui Intro to Tech
50 logged dives
Physically Fit
Must be able to swim 400 meters <10 mins.
Breath swim hold 50′

Availability:

This course is available privately for individuals or groups as well either locally or wherever you are located.

Your training will include a minimum of 7 dives (on air/nitrox not exceeding 130′) or 11 dives (with Helitrox not exceeding 170′) including planning and executing staged decompression dives conducted over a 4-7 day period.

Training Agency:

TDI

Additional Details:

Technical Decompression dives will be conducted on air/nitrox to a maximum depth of 40 meters/130 feet, or up to 150′ for those divers wishing to participate in the Helitrox Diver upgrade.

Divers can benefit from a clearer head, due to reduced narcosis and CO2 loading, maximizing gas elimination  gradients and hyperoxic decompression.

This course is your first step beyond the normal recreational sport diving limits.

This course introduces the prospective technical diver to many essential skills which will become instinct in a real technical diving environment. Some examples include: Emergency procedures and Failure drills, Gas Management, Bail out and Contingencies, Proper buoyancy and Fin Technique introduced during your Into to Tech Course, proper gas switches not exceeding MOD and more.

The Prospective Technical Diver must have the proper mind set and educational background and experience level to become a SAFE technical diver. Remembering that the technical diver cannot just simply surface in an emergency situation.

If you’re interested in this program a CD is available upon request with a wealth of information

Students will be expected to have maintained their skills at a level of at least NAUI Intro To Tech prior to the Start of this intensive training process or above.

Students will have to show up ready to dive properly and dive well or you will not pass this course.  All foundation skills must be completed with proper trim, buoyancy, time requirements and in the right gear configuration.

Cost:  $799+HST TDI Advanced Nitrox/Deco or $1199+HST for TDI Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures with NAUI Helitrox Diver (Hyperoxic Trimix >170′).  Course cost includes Certification Fee, Student Materials, online TDI eLearning code, NAUI Student Manuals and RGBM Dive Tables Booklet.

Accommodations, Park Entrance Fees, Gas Fills, Transportation and Dive Charter Fees are Extra.

What gear will you need?

You’ll need a Technical Diver setup with double tanks, decompression bottle (properly rigged with MOD).  Gear is to be Simple and Streamlined, complying with equipment configuration requirements.  A full gear list will be given to all candidates.

Where do I go from here?

Here are some popular examples of courses commonly taken by graduates of this course:

  • Helitrox
  • Technical Wreck Penetration
  • Cave1
  • Cave 2
  • Trimix Level 1
  • Advanced Trimix
  • Extreme Exposure Trimix
  • CCR or pSCR Diver

TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course

TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course

Join us for your TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course and see how much more exciting it is when to be diving deeper, longer on bigger and better dive sites!

When it comces to technical diving, deep diving isn’t just setting a dive computer, seeing deco and calling yourself a tech diver, there is a lot that goes into becoming a technical diver, both mentally and physically.

Technical 1 Divers doing a Helitrox Dive on Dufferin Wall in Tobermory, Ontario

Through our TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course classroom and watermanship teachings, you’ll learn what technical diving is, advanced decompression theory, dive planning, gas management, decompression gas planning, as well as tracking both CNS and Pulmonary Oxygen toxicity.

You’ll learn how to follow a decompression schedule, handle emergencies, contingencies, plan for over staying your dive plan and ensuring you have enough gas to safely get yourself back up to the surface.

Decompression is a course requiring sound thinking and judgement. Decompression divers cannot simply ascend when they have a problem.  All issues must be solved underwater, especially with a decompression ceiling above you.

Students will complete a series of eLearning and classroom sessions, as well as local diving shore dives, dive charters followed by a completion of open waters and certification dives in 1000 Islands with us as part of our Rockin’ Rockport Trips.

Dates:

June/July (An Expedition Came Up Matt Can’t say No to for the May/June trip…sorry)

October 8,9,10,14,15,16, 2022

Prerequisites:

Naui Intro to Tech
50 logged dives
Physically Fit
Must be able to swim 400 meters <10 mins.
Breath swim hold 50′

Availability:

This course is available privately for individuals or groups as well either locally or wherever you are located.

Your training will include a minimum of 7 dives (on air/nitrox not exceeding 130′) or 11 dives (with Helitrox not exceeding 170′) including planning and executing staged decompression dives conducted over a 4-7 day period.

Training Agency:

TDI

Additional Details:

Technical Decompression dives will be conducted on air/nitrox to a maximum depth of 40 meters/130 feet, or up to 150′ for those divers wishing to participate in the Helitrox Diver upgrade.

Divers can benefit from a clearer head, due to reduced narcosis and CO2 loading, maximizing gas elimination  gradients and hyperoxic decompression.

This course is your first step beyond the normal recreational sport diving limits.

This course introduces the prospective technical diver to many essential skills which will become instinct in a real technical diving environment. Some examples include: Emergency procedures and Failure drills, Gas Management, Bail out and Contingencies, Proper buoyancy and Fin Technique introduced during your Into to Tech Course, proper gas switches not exceeding MOD and more.

The Prospective Technical Diver must have the proper mind set and educational background and experience level to become a SAFE technical diver. Remembering that the technical diver cannot just simply surface in an emergency situation.

If you’re interested in this program a CD is available upon request with a wealth of information

Students will be expected to have maintained their skills at a level of at least NAUI Intro To Tech prior to the Start of this intensive training process or above.

Students will have to show up ready to dive properly and dive well or you will not pass this course.  All foundation skills must be completed with proper trim, buoyancy, time requirements and in the right gear configuration.

Cost:  $799+HST TDI Advanced Nitrox/Deco or $1199+HST for TDI Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures with NAUI Helitrox Diver (Hyperoxic Trimix >170′).  Course cost includes Certification Fee, Student Materials, online TDI eLearning code, NAUI Student Manuals and RGBM Dive Tables Booklet.

Accommodations, Park Entrance Fees, Gas Fills, Transportation and Dive Charter Fees are Extra.

What gear will you need?

You’ll need a Technical Diver setup with double tanks, decompression bottle (properly rigged with MOD).  Gear is to be Simple and Streamlined, complying with equipment configuration requirements.  A full gear list will be given to all candidates.

Where do I go from here?

Here are some popular examples of courses commonly taken by graduates of this course:

  • Helitrox
  • Technical Wreck Penetration
  • Cave1
  • Cave 2
  • Trimix Level 1
  • Advanced Trimix
  • Extreme Exposure Trimix
  • CCR or pSCR Diver
tdi-trimix-course

NAUI Trimix Course

NAUI Trimix Course

Our NAUI Trimix Course builds on the foundation skills and on the dive experiences of your previous technical courses, but with the addition of learning how to dive with more than one deco cylinder on dives requiring substantially more decompression time at deeper bottom depths.

Our course gradually steps you deeper and deeper as deco stops get deeper and longer and your dive sites get bigger and deeper.

You’ll learn how to manage Normoxic trimix mixes with a narcotic depth range of 100-130′ containing a bottom concentration of as low as 18% oxygen and as high as 23% oxygen through a series of training depths based on a maximum PO2 of 1.3-1.4ata for bottom mix and 1.6 for decompression mixes to a maximum training depth of 200′.

This course will be conducted locally and in Presque Isle, MI

Prerequisites:

Rescue Diver
NAUI Technical Decompression/TDI Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures Diver or equivalent
100+ logged dives

Availability:

This course is available privately for individuals or groups available locally or wherever you are located.

Training Agency:

TDI

NAUI Technical

Additional Details:

Our NAUI Trimix Diver Course is for technical divers wishing to dive to a deeper depth taking advantage of the benefits of a true Trimix diluting the partial pressure of Nitrogen (reducing Narcosis) and in deeper diving dilluting the PPO2 to avoid CNS O2 Toxicity.

This course covers topics such as Helium, Oxygen, Nitrogen for breathing gasses. Argon, CO2, Carbon Monoxide, advanced physiology, physics and chemistry of diving (kinetic energy, specific heat capacity, tissue solubility and more), dive planning, table model comparisons, Isobaric Counterdiffusion and variations of trimixes are just a few of the many topics to be discussed. To enroll in either Trimix course, you must be certified as a diver with Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Techniques, Helitrox, Heliair.

The Trimix Diver Course consists of two levels. These courses will give you the skills and knowledge needed to minimize the risks of utilizing helium-based Trimix breathing gas mixes for dives to a maximum depth of 200′ (TDI) or 240′ (NAUI) requiring staged decompression and utilizing EANx mixtures and/or oxygen during decompression. This Team driven program offers some of the most challenging skills found in technical diving and test the diver more than any previous course to date in the students technical diving path. Upon Successful Completion of the course you will be able to plan and execute technical dives that require staged decompression and utilize helium-based trimix breathing gas mixtures and EANx and/or oxygen for staged decompression to depths within normoxic trimix ranges.

When the Diver gets to the Trimix level they are the most experienced technical divers. Extensive experience in double tanks is needed prior to enrolling in this course. We expect a minimum of 100 dives, 25 of which should have required mandatory decompression. Trimix Divers wishing to upgrade their skill sets, depth rating, knowledge and procedures will move into our Trimix Level II course.

Course does not cover cost of dive charters, gas fills, lodging or food.

Course Cost $999+HST

DDS Diver Grace doing a CCR Trimix Dive in Bon Echo Park

When Should You Get a Rebreather

When Should You Get a Rebreather
by
Matthew Mandziuk

Lately people have been asking us about rebreathers and when they should consider going that direction…So I figured “When Should You Get a Rebreather” would be a fun topic to write about.

Rebreathers are a simple concept.  A rebreather is in essence like breathing from a “sealed bag” is filled with a breathable gas mixture.  As you breath each breath, you deplete the oxygen in the “bag” through the process of metabolizing the oxygen and putting back in the lung exhaled breath with a lesser partial pressure of oxygen until the “sealed bag” or “lung” would go hypoxic (think of breathing in and out of a paper bag as a concept), meaning not enough oxygen is in the gas you’re breathing to sustain life.

You would have to replace the depleted oxygen with more oxygen, but in addition to this, you’ll also have make sure that carbon dioxide is also being absorbed/eliminated from your rebreathed gas, so we need to “scrub” the CO2 out with a CO2 “scrubber”….Sound simple?  It is overall.

Below we will discuss who should dive a rebreather, the different basic designs and features, key elements, dive planning and more.

There are 2 types of rebreather concepts.  Semi-Closed and Fully Closed.

fathom rebreather rigged up as the tech version with faber LP50 tanks, Lola valves, atomic regulators, custom black camo halcyon evolve jj wing with maroon center, spg on left hip with diluent injection through the left hip d-ring
Fathom MK2.5 CCR Tech Rigged

Semi-Closed is less popular for the vast majority because it’s a glorified gas extender with an efficiency ranging from 8:1 to as high as 10:1 efficiency.  They can use the same lung that a life-support patient breaths from which passively allows excess gas to vent from the bottom of the unit while the lung is refilled.

The Passive Semi-Closed Rebreather is very popular for depths where open and closed circuit scuba are less reliable.  PSCR Divers often use larger cylinders.

Fully Closed Rebreathers utilize smaller tanks, a greater degree of efficiency as high as 40:1 that of open circuit because when the efficiency is met, the diver recycles the entire exhaled breath and only has to inject the oxygen when the PO2 drops.  They can be more complicated but are more popular at the time of this writing

Rebreathers ARE NOT For Everyone

With the Cost of Helium increasing, more and more people are looking to breath more efficiently, however, diving a rebreather requires a higher level of awareness, technique, buoyancy, trim, knowledge of the machine and what can go wrong and how to troubleshoot problems.

It’s only a matter of time until Rebreathers become more common practice to the masses, however, now is not the time for most people because they don’t have the training or the experience.

Helium keeps going up and up, but that doesn’t mean unqualified Divers should be jumping in blind and bypassing all the experience and fun that is had learning and logging the experience dives that makes a person a better Diver.

Here are illustrations of a basic rebreather design and semi-closed rebreather design courtesy of the NAUI Rebreather Instructor Guide.

SCR Rebreather
SCR Rebreather
Closed Circuit Rebreather Diagram
CCR

Types of Closed Circuit Rebreathers

Choosing the right rebreather for the individual is key.  There is no perfect one rebreather of everybody.

Automatic: Some Divers prefer an automatic rebreather than much like a dive computer, runs the dive for them setting a constant PO2 (oxygen set point) for them on descent and maximum depth injecting oxygen using a solenoid .

Unless the Diver remembers to set the computer to a lower set point on ascent, this can cause problems for the Diver as the unit will continue to inject oxygen as the depth reduces because as the diver goes shallower, the Po2 will drop, so if the Diver ascends from depth at a PO2 set point of 1.2ata the rebreather will try to keep filling the lung with oxygen, whereas, the diver needs to set their set point lower to 0.6ata and they can ascend without worrying about an out of control ascent and manually adjust their set point to their desired level.

Continuous Mass Flow and Needle Valves: Some rebreathers use what’s called a needle valve which uses a “Mass Flow” orifice on the regulator of the O2 tank. The Diver can set their oxygen set point based on their metabolic oxygen rate by adjusting the Needle Valve.

The needle valve will gently flow oxygen into the counterlung so if the diver becomes task loaded and isn’t watching their Po2 (which should never happen), they needle valve will prevent the Diver from going Hypoxic.

You’ll find the Mass Flow a great option which is why the original KISS Rebreathers are still one of the simplest designs, while the updated Needle Valve design of Fathom CCR  is becoming so popular.

The Continuous Mass Flow system is limited by depth.  The intermediate pressure of the regulator first stage can reach the same as ambient pressure meaning an intermediate pressure in the first stage of 10BAR/145psi will not put out any more gas past 81msw/260fsw.

The Fathom System corrects the by modifying a diaphragm sealed first stage with a stronger spring which allows for safe boosting of the intermediate pressure up to as high as 205psi/14BAR which is capable of diving to depths of 120msw/395fsw.  The pressure can also be increased up to 290psi/20bar for up to 585fsw or 177msw!!!

Excerp from the Fathom Page: “Smaller fixed-orifices can also be used for deeper depths with higher intermediate pressures but the risk of a blockage is increased and the options are limited by orifice availability. A fixed-orifice requires that the first stage intermediate pressure be adjusted to achieve a flow rate that corresponds to the diver’s metabolic needs, typically around 0.6 to 0.8 L/min. Conversely, the needle valve allows the first-stage intermediate pressure to be set to any pressure since the needle valve handles the flow adjustments. More importantly, the needle valve minimizes the risk of a blockage from debris since it can be opened up to allow small particles to pass. The oxygen MAV, which contains the needle-valve, is ported directly into the exhaust side of the head so oxygen must travel through the scrubber and mix with loop gas before reaching the diver.

1 (145 psi/14.7 psi/ata – 2 ata) x 33 fsw/ata = 260 fsw  (Note: always subtract 2 ata when calculating the maximum operational depth of a CMF system.)”

Diving the Bell Island Mine with Explorer and Rebreather Instructor Matt Mandziuk

Manual CCR: Manual Rebreathers are simple, easy to use, but require more attention to the instrumentation and require the operator to constantly inject oxygen based on their needs depressing an oxygen injection button allowing the Diver to adjust the oxygen as slowly or quickly as needed, in a similar fashion to how a diver would inflate their bcd.

When Diving a Manual CCR, the Diver will have to remember to monitor their Po2 and maintain the desired set point.

One of the more fun skills is “Volume Drop” which the CCR Diver will do in their initial training course to see how long it can take their mix to go near hypoxic from their targeted set point.

Keeping a consistent set point that mirrors a backup computer if there isn’t a second computer handset or NERD on the unit is a desired option.

Being diligent with keeping the oxygen level consistent is a must.

Simplicity and Reliability Should Favour Bells and Whistles

The more high tech of a rebreather, the more complacent some Divers get.  Whether you’re flying an automatic or manual system you should always be aware of your set point and Do Your Pre-Dive Checklist!

A Rebreather is a very Serious Piece of Equipment.

PSCR Rebreather
Semi Closed Rebreather Rigged and Ready to Dive with double 80’s in Mexico

A rebreather is essentially a nitrox or trimix gas mixing system that is designed to deliver a constant oxygen set point that acts as a gas extender to you diving more efficient.

With each exhaled breath you make on open circuit scuba, there is no way to get that exhaled gas back.

A rebreather recycles your exhaled air, which is typically 5-6% less oxygen than you inhaled.

When you exhale into a rebreather, you’re exhaling into a scrubber canister, which is essentially a “filter cartridge” that is filled with a carbon dioxide absorbent, a granual that traps the CO2 on granules that resemble kitty litter called Soda lime, which is used to remove CO2 from breathing gases to prevent CO2 retention and CO2 Poisoning.

The filtered gas enters a counterlung that allows you re-breath this recycled gas and as it continues to be re-breathed, oxygen has to be added on occasion to prevent hypoxia (not enough oxygen)….Some have said that a rebreather is “essentially slowly trying to kill you, so maintaining the oxygen levels is essential.”

With each breath in we drop our oxygen PO2 so as the levels drop, we need to add oxygen to “bump” up the levels or the oxygen percentage you’re breathing can go hypoxic meaning you don’t have enough oxygen to sustain life and can go unconscious and die.

White Arrow Axial Rebreather Scrubber Canister
White Arrow Axial Rebreather Scrubber
fathom rebreather scrubber regular and large size canisters
Fathom Radial Rebreather Scrubber by Golem Gear

Think of the Scrubber and counterlung as your cardiovascular system.

Radial vs Axial Scrubber

Radial Scrubber allows the gas to pass through he canister body and provides a lower work of breathing, but is more difficult to pack than Axial Scrubber canister.

As the Co2 Absorbent becomes wet through moisture/condensation, the absorbent can clump, which can make it more difficult for the gas to pass through it, thus increasing the work of breathing.

Axial scrubber size/length needs to be long enough to prevent channelling of gas and short enough to keep the work of breathing low enough.  A longer Axial scrubber will increase work of breathing.

For longer dives, a longer radial canister is much preferred as the work of breathing remains excellent on most designs.

There are also pre-packed scrubber cartridges available for some models of rebreather for the Diver who doesn’t want the responsibility or liability of packing a scrubber canister.  These are more costly, but effective.

Rebreather Fatalities are (approximately) 10 Times More Common than Open Circuit Scuba Fatalities

Diving a Rebreather is very different than diving traditional Scuba. You can’t control buoyancy the same way and they don’t deliver gas the same way. Some even have a very complicated bunch of electronics or bulky, dangling bits everywhere and a huge, bulky counterlung.

Many CCR Divers can’t do a “try dive” on the unit they think they want to buy, so unfortunately, we see many people making Very Poor Choices in their Selection.

Your best rebreather is ultimately the one you think you want, but honestly, the simplest, most reliable and mores streamlined rebreather is the one for you.

Avoid Bells and Whistle’s, and run the unit in “manual” mode instead of an automatic rebreather. Be In Control of Your Oxygen Levels, don’t trust the machine to do it all for you.

Get as polished as you can be and as experienced as you can be before you jump into a rebreather.

Who Should Dive a Rebreather?

If the CCR Diver is wanting to dive the a pair of shipwrecks within recreational limits and dump their scrubber after the dives are completed, the cost of absorbent and gas fills will cost more than Nitrox fill in doubles would, so unless that Diver is planning a longer than “No Stop” recreational time limits, or saving the absorbent after the days diving wraps up for another day of diving, there is no benefit to using a rebreather on those dives, other than practice.

Cave Divers can spend hours underwater just on a single dive, as can shipwreck divers, technical divers and research divers.  This is who a rebreather is best suited for.

NEVER ABANDON HOGARTHIAN/DIR/NTEC PRINCIPLES AND VALUES

Your rebreather configuration should be as streamlined as your doubles setup. Simple, Streamlined, Reliable, Familiar. Long hose is always off the right post, necklace (or BOV)  is always off the left post so they don’t roll closed when swimming through a restriction like a cave or shipwreck.

Most CCR Divers Don’t Mirror Open Circuit (Long Hose, Backmounted Diluent, SPG Left Hip, etc.), which makes the system more complicated and in a situation where task loading can become a problem, that’s never good.

200′ Trimix Dive with LP50’s, argon, Nitrox 50 and Oxygen

You should NEVER have to re-orient your stage bottle rigging (Always Valves Up Not Valves Down), positioning of your stages (Always Left Side). Running your valves “Valves Down” means your regulators are going to hit first when you do a stage drop.  Those diving in the Great Lakes also have to worry about Zebra Muscles slicing into your hoses.  It’s also easier to do a bubble check when your stage bottle valves are facing you.

Valves Up? or Valves Down on the Main Cylinders?  Diving 3L Cylinders you will trim out better with the valves upright like a standard K Valve, but the Valves Down is acceptable for some configurations too.

When Diving CCR with Aluminum 40’s or Faber LP50’s Valves Up is the Most Modern and Most Reasonable Option.

Diving PSCR Valves Up is the Only Option as well, since the cylinders are larger and your’re mirroring your Open Circuit Doubles Configuration.

You can also get a Sidemount Rebreather in PSCR or CCR.  Many of them do not breath well.

Remember the DIR…NTEC Principles are based around the concept of “Doing it Right”.

Not Enough Bailout Gas

One of the most common problems with rebreather divers is that they do not carry enough bailout gas!

You’ll sometimes see a cave or trimix diver doing a technical dive with 1-2 aluminum 40 cylinders.  In the unlikely event the diver is equipped with 3L (FX23 cubic foot) tanks, they should have a minimum of 2 stages.

Some Divers are also starting to use a Sidemount Rebreather as a bailout option.

Cave 1 Divers require a minimum of 140ft3 of bailout, while a Cave 2 level Diver requires a minimum volume of 225ft3.

This means that the average CCR Diver doing a cave dive with an aluminum 40 or a pair of 40’s isn’t carrying enough bailout in the event of a full failure of the unit where they’d be required to swim their bailout from the deepest point in the cave.

Even an AL80, AL40 and the 3L tanks aren’t generally enough for a cave 2 level dive, 2 80’s and bailout in fact aren’t either as that + the 3L cylinders is only 200ft3 of gas.

A recreational diver doing No Stop Diving can use a single AL40 from 40msw/130fsw.

A Technical Level 1 Diver 50msw/150fsw would require an AL80 and an AL40 to ensure they can hit the obligated deco stops ascending from max depth to first deco stops and in the second bottle should have at least a 50% nitrox mix to breath.

A Trimix 1 Diver (2 deco bottles in Open Circuit) generally certified to 60-72msw/200′-240′ should have at least 1 AL80 worth of bottom gas to ascent from max depth to first deco stops. A second AL80 to ascend form the 150-70′ range and then enough gas to get from 70′ to the surface.

A Trimix 2 Diver diving beyond 70msw/240fsw requires enough bailout to ascend from max depth to first deco stop, and then each additional phase of decompression.

A 91msw/300fsw would require roughly 150ft3 of open circuit bailout to the first required deco stop, which would be a trimix of a 21/35 or 23/25.  That would have to last the OC Diver up to the next required deco phase which should be 70′ and 50% Nitrox or a hyperopic trimix like 50/25, while others may opt for a 30/30 trimix breathed up to 20′ which would require yet another AL80 for the decompression phase.

You’ll start to see why the little 3L tanks aren’t enough for deeper trimix dives unless you split the bailout cylinders with your team member(s) to minimize what you’d have to carry.

For “Light” recreational dives, double Aluminum 40’s are a wonderful option offering 80 ft3 of bailout on the back.

SCR Rebreather
Try and Discover Rebreather Experience Today

A pair of Faber LP50’s filled “Florida Style” with a bottom trimix is more preferred for experienced rebreather divers.

For the Same Dive the LP50’s would bring the diver into the 55msw/180fsw range easily, switching to the 21/35, then up to the next deco phase at either 21msw/70fsw or 30msw/100′ and up to the 9m/20fsw phase where another AL80 of oxygen would be required.

It’s so important to plan ahead and plan for the worst, as you don’t want to be left with any surprises, and while a flooded rebreather or a total loss of your PO2 monitoring equipment is rare, which can happen, as can regulator failures, burst disc ruptures and more, but that’s why they call them a failure.  They’re unplanned.

Being Proficient in at minimum of 2 AL80 Stages is why I always encourage Divers to get to at least the Cave 2 or Trimix 1 level.

Maintenance

The pre-dive setup and post dive teardown of a rebreather could take far longer than the planned dive. Some units are easier to assemble and teardown than others, which should be a consideration.

Maintenance, pre-diving evaluation of all components which should be frequently inspected, as well as changing of the oxygen sensors every 6-12 months, servicing the regulators, fittings, o-rings, injection equipment should all be factored in.

If a leak is detected in the unit, it can cause more problems in the event of an emergency, as a flooded rebreather can have an unfavourable effect if the scrubber becomes wet, causing a “caustic cocktail” which can be an instant retching action that can cause the diver to go into a choking reflex as you ingest this corrosive, alkaline cocktail.  If a Diver tries to bail out to open circuit on a separate regulator they may involuntarily inhale more water, while simultaneously retching and possibly drown, this is where a Bail Out Valve or BOV is a very smart piece of equipment.  The BOV has a switch on the rebreather that allows you to open the breathing loop from closed circuit to an open circuit regulator.

The diver will then be able to breath or barf and breath through the second stage as they take sanity breaths for a couple of minutes.  Students are taught to purge empty the rebreather from water on their CCR Course.

Instead of a BOV, some rebreather divers use a DSV (Dive Surface Valve) to allow them to breath surface air topside.  This could be more risky in a caustic environment as the diver doesn’t have the ability to switch off closed circuit to open circuit in the even of a caustic cocktail, so utilizing a necklace under the chin reminiscent of how modern divers dive with a long hose/short hose configuration is the only reasonable option to get breathable gas if the unit is flooded.

People love the “Cool Factor”, but I wholeheartedly caution those who don’t cut it at the recreational or entry-level technical diving level to wake up and seriously ask yourself if you’re ready for all that CCR Diving entails.

A friend of ours who passed away recently ago used to say he never dove a rebreather because he had friends who were Doctors or Lawyers with more letters that were in front of their names who died on them.

Diving a Rebreather is more commonplace now, but unless the dives are super deep (below 150’ or more) or super long like those maybe a Marine Research Diver would be participating in, the reality is that diving Open Circuit is the more efficient choice for the average person.

Rebreathers require a much higher degree of attention, diligence and understanding of how the unit works.  The simpler the unit, the easier it may be to fix on the fly in the event of an equipment related issue.  You should always have multiple ways to receive breathable gas in an emergency, so always do your positive and negative checks, and test out the mushroom valves, regulators, fittings and practice drills regularly to keep your problem solving skills sharp.

Have a well stocked rebreather Save a Dive Kit of spare o-rings, regulator parts, breathing hoses and sensor(s).

Keeping Your Rebreather in “Dive Ready Condition” is a Must.

Pre-Dive Checks, Calibrating the Instruments, verifying flow rates (if applicable), packing your scrubber, then cleaning and disinfecting the unit is all part of rebreather diving.  Don’t be lazy and don’t be complacent.

Diving a Rebreather requires diligence and being familiar with all the inner workings of the unit.

Things to Consider.

Which Side does the oxygen inject in from?  Before or after the gas is analyzed? Does it have an ADV or a T-Block Piece?  How many different ways can you get breathable gas if you need it?  How does the unit breath flooded? Is the unit reliable?  Does it work in cold water or just warm water?  Is it lightweight for travel? Do you need to wear weights with it and how much?  Is the cost of the unit agreeable?

What are the entry requirements to training on a Rebreather?  Agencies who make it “too easy” don’t get the big picture.  Train harder, skill up and then go to a rebreather.  Don’t Take Short cuts.  See my previous blog post What’s The Hurry, What’s The Rush?.

You’re making a decision that can cost you over $10’000.00USD.  Do Your Research, but more importantly talk Us.  We do get Demo Units as well sometimes as trade-in’s.  We currently have a Sentinel CCR up for grabs.

Book a Try Dive with Us and see why our way is the best way.

All too often Divers go blindly into purchasing a rebreather and it’s not until they start putting the hours on their units do they realize they purchased the wrong one.

In Closing

Rebreathers are a lot of fun, as you can extend your dive times, see more creatures up close and more personal, it buys you time in an emergency if you’re trapped in a shipwreck or a cave to find an exit in the event of a collapse making them a safer choice for extreme cave diving and the deepest shipwreck diving.

50-100 Trimix Dives will more than pay for the rebreather and the training, so get your hours up in Open Circuit, get proficient with multiple stage bottles and let’s help you become a Rebreather Explorer.

TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course

TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course

Join us for your TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course and see how much more exciting it is when to be diving deeper, longer on bigger and better dive sites!

When it comces to technical diving, deep diving isn’t just setting a dive computer, seeing deco and calling yourself a tech diver, there is a lot that goes into becoming a technical diver, both mentally and physically.

Technical 1 Divers doing a Helitrox Dive on Dufferin Wall in Tobermory, Ontario

Through our TDI Advanced Nitrox Decompression Procedures Course classroom and watermanship teachings, you’ll learn what technical diving is, advanced decompression theory, dive planning, gas management, decompression gas planning, as well as tracking both CNS and Pulmonary Oxygen toxicity.

You’ll learn how to follow a decompression schedule, handle emergencies, contingencies, plan for over staying your dive plan and ensuring you have enough gas to safely get yourself back up to the surface.

Decompression is a course requiring sound thinking and judgement. Decompression divers cannot simply ascend when they have a problem.  All issues must be solved underwater, especially with a decompression ceiling above you.

Students will complete a series of eLearning and classroom sessions, as well as local diving shore dives, dive charters followed by a completion of open waters and certification dives in 1000 Islands with us as part of our Rockin’ Rockport Trips.

Dates:

June/July (An Expedition Came Up Matt Can’t say No to for the May/June trip…sorry)

October 8,9,10,14,15,16, 2022

Prerequisites:

Naui Intro to Tech
50 logged dives
Physically Fit
Must be able to swim 400 meters <10 mins.
Breath swim hold 50′

Availability:

This course is available privately for individuals or groups as well either locally or wherever you are located.

Your training will include a minimum of 7 dives (on air/nitrox not exceeding 130′) or 11 dives (with Helitrox not exceeding 170′) including planning and executing staged decompression dives conducted over a 4-7 day period.

Training Agency:

TDI

Additional Details:

Technical Decompression dives will be conducted on air/nitrox to a maximum depth of 40 meters/130 feet, or up to 150′ for those divers wishing to participate in the Helitrox Diver upgrade.

Divers can benefit from a clearer head, due to reduced narcosis and CO2 loading, maximizing gas elimination  gradients and hyperoxic decompression.

This course is your first step beyond the normal recreational sport diving limits.

This course introduces the prospective technical diver to many essential skills which will become instinct in a real technical diving environment. Some examples include: Emergency procedures and Failure drills, Gas Management, Bail out and Contingencies, Proper buoyancy and Fin Technique introduced during your Into to Tech Course, proper gas switches not exceeding MOD and more.

The Prospective Technical Diver must have the proper mind set and educational background and experience level to become a SAFE technical diver. Remembering that the technical diver cannot just simply surface in an emergency situation.

If you’re interested in this program a CD is available upon request with a wealth of information

Students will be expected to have maintained their skills at a level of at least NAUI Intro To Tech prior to the Start of this intensive training process or above.

Students will have to show up ready to dive properly and dive well or you will not pass this course.  All foundation skills must be completed with proper trim, buoyancy, time requirements and in the right gear configuration.

Cost:  $799+HST TDI Advanced Nitrox/Deco or $1199+HST for TDI Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures with NAUI Helitrox Diver (Hyperoxic Trimix >170′).  Course cost includes Certification Fee, Student Materials, online TDI eLearning code, NAUI Student Manuals and RGBM Dive Tables Booklet.

Accommodations, Park Entrance Fees, Gas Fills, Transportation and Dive Charter Fees are Extra.

What gear will you need?

You’ll need a Technical Diver setup with double tanks, decompression bottle (properly rigged with MOD).  Gear is to be Simple and Streamlined, complying with equipment configuration requirements.  A full gear list will be given to all candidates.

Where do I go from here?

Here are some popular examples of courses commonly taken by graduates of this course:

  • Helitrox
  • Technical Wreck Penetration
  • Cave1
  • Cave 2
  • Trimix Level 1
  • Advanced Trimix
  • Extreme Exposure Trimix
  • CCR or pSCR Diver
DDS Divers Swimming Over the Reef in Roatan

Challenges Will Reward Your Longterm Scuba Diving Goals

Challenges Will Reward Your Longterm Scuba Diving Goals
by
Matthew Mandziuk 

In life nothing good comes easy without a fight or working to earn it, unless you win the lottery.  The same can be true moving through a more Progressive Scuba Diving training philosophy where the divers are taught a higher level of knowledge, skills and techniques. Your Personal Challenges Will Reward Your Longterm Scuba Diving Goals.

At DDS we pride ourselves on staying ahead of market trends and instead we lead the charge forward towards better diving.  For nearly 20 years we’ve taught our open water divers about the benefits of learning and buying the right gear and the right skills and techniques after over 20 years of doing it the old school way.

We pride ourselves on teaching divers a different (better) way to do things at the open water level where they can move forward with better skills, finesse and discipline allowing them to struggle less, maintain the visibility of even the siltiest environments or most fragile coral reefs, while continuing forward progressing successfully into deeper, more advanced courses, environments and experiences with more comfort and efficiency as they challenge themselves with training that is more exciting, more disciplined, more regimented and more rewarding than some of the “more traditional”  courses which have become stale or outdated as we power ahead into a new age of diving.

As human beings we can always learn more and the same is true in scuba diving, except most dive training has become outdated and boring.  All divers should be more aware of their dive profiles, gas requirements with proper gas reserves built in, no stop time limits and what is happening within their bodies as they spend more time underwater and as they ascend or descend.

Many of these common concepts are lost on the masses because theory is passed over quickly as we tend to suffer from a condition that demands “instant gratification” and dive shops that depend more so now on eLearning doing the work of the instructor for the shops and instructors, so the personal element of sharing stories and experiences with the students is lessened (or in some cases completely lost as there is no classroom sessions), so the students don’t create an emotional bond with their instructors, classmates or Divemasters.

Bad Diver Lots of Silt
A poorly trained diver in silts out the bottom as they have no buoyancy, trim, awareness or cares in the world. Don’t Be Like This Diver.

Train Hard

If divers took more time to learn about dive planning, gas calculations, gas consumption, decompression theory and dive sciences, they would be much more ready to take diving to the next level.  This knowledge can help us not just in diving, but also in every day life.

Divers who are taught to manage stresses underwater are more able to handle the every day curveballs life throws at you on a daily basis, as well as how to focus better on challenging tasks, yet the number of divers who progress through Advanced and Rescue diver courses drops as students seem less engaged in some graphic regions than before.

Where a diver can go training wise and the training opportunities available to them make or break the likelyhood of creating a “Lifetime Diver”.  If a diver only dives once a year or 3, they’re better off just doing Discover Scuba Diving Experiences.

A certified diver who goes from Advanced, Nitrox, Drysuit  to Rescue is doing things better, but the key is to find a trainer who can teach you what you need to really know.  If as a diver they tell you it’s okay to be standing, kneeling on the bottom, to rely on holding onto an ascent line and be vertical on an ascent or safety stop as you take up 6-7′ minimum of line with your fins dangling down kicking the divers below you, that’s okay to overweight yourself so you sink or that violating thirds (your gas rule you should be ascending at), that it’s okay to flutter kick and silt out the bottom, wear flimsy floaty plastic fins, split or hinge fins and have stuff dangling off you like a Christmas Tree, it’s time to find a new instructor.

A diver who progresses towards more foundational skills classes like our NAUI Intro to Tech program will have the chance to perfect themselves better than any recreational diver, regardless of if they ever become a tech diver or not, as Foundational Skills Development courses like “Intro” offer the most through and engaging training possible with a combination of dry land drills, confined water drills and open water dives.

Divers who learn the foundational skills to make themselves a better diver and put the time in to become proficient in all aspects of their diving often become a much safer, more aware diver with superior team diving skills, refined buoyancy, flawless horizontal trim, proper ascents and descents, better fin techniques (utilizing a modified frog as their primary kick, modified flutter, ability to turn 360 degrees and do a reverse frog kick to go backwards) rather than flutter kicks, and exceptional problem solving skills.  You even master surface marker deployment, rescue techniques, valve or regulator failures and more.

Your biggest assets in diving are TIME IN THE WATER and BUOYANCY, BUOYANCY, BUOYANCY.

DON’T try and fast track your way through training.  Learn the foundational skills, start diving in the proper gear, train and dive with divers who are better than you are.

NAUI offers the highest standards of any training agency in foundational, technical, cave and overhead training, which is the reason they’re our primary agency for those courses, but we offer training from several other agencies too.

A Properly Trained Diver with Good TrimA properly trained DDS Diver working on trim and buoyancy during a NAUI Cavern/NAUI Intro to Tech Foundational Skills course.

Fitness in Diving

Some new divers complain that lead weights and tanks are heavy, while more Technically Advanced Divers dive with Sidemount or back-mounted double tanks.

Diving with a drysuit creates more buoyancy, drag and resistance while swimming through the water, so there is an element of fitness required to dive.  Carrying tanks to the water, stage bottles, rebreathers, camera systems, scooters, all these things have weight to them.  It’s part of diving, so get fit and get ready to handle the gear you’ll be using.

To get more comfortable handling these items a strength building program to strengthen arms, legs and abs are very beneficial.  30 push-up’s a day, 100 ab crunches and a light jog even 1-2km a couple of days a week will help make a difference in your strength and overall well being, while also improving cardiovascular health.

Swimming will help give the body a resistance free total body workout too and if you can’t take the impact from running or rowing, may be a better option for you and its fun!

Some dive courses require a specific distance to be swam before a specific time, don’t lose out on some great diving because you can’t make the cut.  It IS worth it and it WILL take time.

How Did We Get Here?  It Wasn’t Over Night

Dan’s has become the go to shop for recreational, advanced, technical diving education over the last 20+ years. DDS was established in 1974.  We are Canada’s Oldest PADI Dive Shop and 2nd oldest worldwide currently.

With the help of a Canadian Diving Pioneer John Reekie (passed away several years ago) we helped introduce the Canadian Diving Market to Technical Diving and Cave Diving gear and procedures as early as 1986!  We were one of the first North American Dive Stores to offer Nitrox as an alternative breathing gas in 1992 when the traditional agencies were Anti-Nitrox and causing riots at dive shows because they honestly believed Nitrox to be Voodoo Satan Gas!  True Story!

By the mid 1990’s we were offering old-school technical diving and rebreather courses.  By 2000 we were introduced to more progressive diving and upgraded our training, which allowed us to see a different side of diving, one that was less limiting and more progressive.

DDS Divers enjoy a cleaner, more streamlined gear body, gear configuration and ability to share air more effectively than traditional short hose divers

We began offering Progressive Doing it Right based (DIR Diving) training and equipment, including the offering of backplates to new open water sport divers a part of basic training and introducing recreational divers to the long hose/short hose regulator configuration or the Hogarthian method of diving.

In 2007 we began offering more modern and progressive Sidemount training.  We are happy to be offering training on several different rebreather configurations, especially the modular and most versatile machine on the market, White Arrow Explorer Rebreather System, capable of any configuration.

Every recreational diver can benefit from our experience, the new skills that we offer and every day diving techniques that we introduce from basic open water programs. Horizontal Trim, Buoyancy, Team Awareness, S-Drills, Bubble Checks, SMB Deployments, Air Sharing horizontally in neutral buoyancy with a long hose regulator, Team Diving Protocols and more.

backwards frog kick intro to tech
Learning your foundational kicks without fins or gear on is the first step to perfecting your forward, turn and backwards kicks during an Intro to Tech Course

While not every diver is introduced to this from every instructor around the world, we also offer Foundational training to start experienced divers off right as well, as many of the concepts we teach aren’t taught elsewhere unless the divers have been taught by a certified cave or technical instructor. At the end of the day we want everyone to learn to be better and dive with more confidence, comfort and awareness, so we offer workshops like NTEC which is a great way to prime yourself to learn the foundational skills you should know in a class and pool setting showing you a better way to do things in the right gear.  This also prepares you for a glimpse into your diving future should you want to progress towards Wreck Diving, Cavern or Cave, Ice, Technical and more.

Our experience in expeditions and exploration projects have also helped shape our divers into the best divers in the water.

Get More Technically Correct

When a diver starts to get more “technical” it helps them become a more complete diver.  It doesn’t mean they have to aspire to achieve a new super deep world record sort of depth where they hang for hours on decompression stops, however, it does break through the misconceptions, boundaries of conventional training and opens you up to a lifetime sport with the ability to go anywhere with your diving.

We believe Technical Diving is simply extending your range both with respect to knowledge, but also extending the scope of your abilities beyond what is known and offering new challenges along the way.

Our NAUI Intro to Tech Course has been called the “Best Dive Course” by nearly everyone who’s taken this amazing foundational skills class.  Regardless of whether a student completes the course successfully the first time or not, “Intro” is where better diving begins.

Our Intro course begins with the tightening up of the divers buoyancy and trim, cleaning up and streamlining the entire equipment configuration, introducing new surface protocols and pre-dive regiments like safety drills, SADD checks, Bubble Checks and Heat to Toe checks which improve safety and awareness.

Intro also begins to stress the team concept of diving, which is something talked about but rarely enforced in traditional recreational diving.  We introduce the benefit to 3 person buddy teams, which are often taboo in traditional training as well, as we believe a second set of hands to help and eyes to see are very important should a diver require assistance.

NAUI Intro to Tech Students Air Share
NAUI Intro to Tech Students working on trim and buoyancy while sharing air during their confined water session.

After classroom sessions are complete students are introduced to a combination of dry land surface drills that allow the instructor to demonstrate skills such as trim, fin kicks, flat horizontal body posture, air shares, valve shutdowns, diver rescues, lift bag deployments and many other skills topside as they can talk about each skill attribute and show it off before the students are expected to demonstrate it both on the surface and then the skills are executed by instructors and students under the water in a shallow pool or confined water area suitable for this sort of training.  Upon successful completion of the pool sessions candidates are then taken to open water and will complete all skills in a shallow open water environment where No Stop Times are not an issue.

During Intro to Tech a staff member will video record the students skills throughout the program so they can break down their progress frame by frame and discuss thoroughly throughout the course dives in debriefing sessions.

Students love the fact that this style of training is done intensively as repetition helps them improve and learn at a quicker rate, especially upon review of each dive during de-briefing when we break down all of the skills done that day with video review.

Through clear and concise de-briefings the students know exactly what it is they need to work on and how to improve as we take corrective action with them and continue to show them how to properly execute each skill breaking down the skills as clear and concise as possible.

Just the Beginning

Many divers love the challenge that Intro brings and those divers who work hard and succeed will enrol in their next challenge.

Divers will be using more equipment which creates a need for better fitness, stiffer fins, stronger dive abilities and confidence.

Imagine being perfectly neutrally buoyant without a bottom below you as you stare below into the abyss without any fear or concerns

Intro to Tech is a stepping stone to bring divers more safely into the realm of deeper diving or overhead environments as the foundational skills and trim learned here ensure that those divers are going to be able to perform the rudimentary skills like horizontal buoyancy, frog kick, modified frog kick and to be able to fin backwards for 10′ without hitting the bottom or silting out the dive site because Zero Impact Diving is such am important skill to possess as it saves the reef, fragile clay patterns, maintains the water clarity (especially in a wreck or cave where a diver will have to navigate safely back out of a zero visibility environment) and makes the diving more pleasurable for all.  The other important skill is something we teach at Open Water and again at Advanced Open Water and Intro to Tech, which is being able to deploy and send an SMB up to the surface ascending on a reel stopping every 10′ and then ascending to 15′, 12′, 9′, 6′, 3, surface many of those divers will engage in their next adventure.

Intro to Tech is simply the holy grail of recreational diving because you see what is lacking when you compare it to someone who’s been coaxed into taking a different more traditional Master Scuba Diver sort of approach.  Rather than being taught to dive properly, most divers are taught to pay for an instructors time, a paper manual and a plastic certification card.  While there are some phenomenal recreational specialty courses (Nitrox, Equipment Specialist, DPV, Cavern, Drysuit) most dive stores don’t have the talent or the ability to teach some of these more useful classes and favour a quick payout instead of committing their divers to more in-depth training.

The most popular courses Intro graduates challenge themselves next with range from Wreck Penetration to a Cavern/Cave 1 class, DPV class, Technical Decompression with Helitrox (Tech 1) Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures.

Growing Your Experience

Regardless of the certification level a diver achieves it requires regular diving to maintain that level of proficiency and regular dives to that highest level of certification.  We usually recommend 20-25 dives annually at that level before moving to the next level.

At DDS, We are NOT a certification factory that tries to push our divers from Intro to Tech to Trimix Rebreather in a month.  It’s not about numbers, its about the quality of the diver and those divers that are making poor choices have no real world underwater dive skills and often lose buoyancy, panic or are a complete embarrassment to the sport.

DDS Divers are some of the highest trained divers in the country and they show a lot more finesse and discipline than most.  Those divers who choose to work hard and grow their diving abilities are often asked to join in on bigger, better dives, as well as for support projects both local and abroad.

Expedition projects are conducted yearly and it’s always great when new members can be integrated into the Divers Edge family, which is our training and exploration group.  We have partners worldwide through several organizations that we do international projects with for caves and shipwrecks.

Get Involved

Regardless of your goals the key in anything is to keep involved and dive with divers who share the same views and the same goals in training and equipment.

We have taught and continue to teach divers from around the world and are more than willing to put on a presentation for groups, clubs, other shops as we’ve been doing for decades.

If you’d like to get involved and benefit from better training, equipment configuration and future diving opportunities, reach out and let’s get you involved with DDS Today.

We have trips, charters, training year round. Your first step is to reach out and make contact, the rest comes easily from there.

Vertical Diving SeaHorses Sucking it Up

Diving Dry with Doubles

Diving Dry with Doubles
by
Matthew Mandziuk

Diving Dry with Doubles.  Have you ever noticed that the most active divers on the dive site are the one’s who are Diving  Drysuit with Doubles?  Quite often its the same 10-12 divers who sign up for a lot of the same trips and who often prefer diving together with the group.  The reason for that is comfort, with their kit, with the group, with themselves in the water, whereas the other 10-12 guests are a revolving door of divers with a ranged diving background.

In this blog we are going to talk a little about the benefits of diving Diving a Drysuit with Double Tanks.

By the end of this reading you should have a clearer understanding of the partnership between diving with a drysuit and doubles, the benefits of diving with a drysuit and doubles, some of the training offerings with divers in a drysuit and doubles and where diving in a drysuit and doubles can take you.

Why should you start Diving Dry with Doubles? 

At first it sounds a little much, diving a nylon or neoprene full body suit, hood, gloves and then more weight than we even used in a wetsuit?  Drysuit divers wear approximately 6-8lbs minimum in fresh water (more in salt because of the added buoyancy)  more weight than a diver in a single piece 7mm jumpsuit (or about the same weight as they’d wear with an old school farmer John and Jacket).

That added weight can be inconvenient at best.

Where does one put that extra weight?

Most of our DDS Divers utilize a backplate and harness system which promotes better horizontal trim, posture and streamlining , it’s expandable and fully adjustable to accommodate the drysuit much easier than a jacket bcd can and is far more comfortable.

To learn more about backplates in general, please click the hyperlink above.

Divers diving in Canada with a single tank often times use a stainless steel backplate with a weighted single tank adapter, that system has a total negative buoyancy weighting of approximately 10lbs.  Nearly enough to sink anyone in a 7mm wetsuit with 2-3lbs maximum per side additional, however a drysuit diver is going to require an additional 6-8lbs minimum depending on the undergarments they wear.

In an attempt to  promote proper horizontal trim, the diver will want to re-distribute the weight evenly around the body with a maximum of 4-5lbs per hip pocket and up to that much weight on each of the single tank straps for a total of up to approximately 20lbs of weight plus the backplate system = 30lbs. Doesn’t that seem like a little much?

In an attempt to minimize the weight the diver wears, many will go to a single steel tank which can be 2-8lbs negatively buoyant by todays standards diving with a Faber steel cylinder.

A few years ago Worthington cylinders were preferred for their additional negative buoyancy characteristics with the X7-100 and X8-130 being the 2 most popular options.  In Faber the FX100, FX133 and LP85 are our most popular sizes.  Strangely enough the 100’s and 130’s were also the most suitable tanks for doubling up for deeper dives.

Faber FX100 swings from -8.41lbs full to -0.59lbs empty.
Faber FX133 swings from -9.08 full to +1.45lbs empty
Faber DVB85 swings from -3.8 full to + 2.32 empty

Worthington X7-100 had a swing of -10lbs to -2.5lbs
Worthington X8-130 had a swing of -11.7 to -2lbs

Having a tank that is negatively buoyant allows divers to reduce overall weight required and keeps some of that negative buoyancy behind you which helps improve your trim rather than having all that weight on the hips, but you don’t want to overweight yourself with tanks too heavy and underwear too thin.  Try and find the balance.  Many divers will even favour aluminum tanks for shallow shore diving with thin garments.

Adding an extra tank minimizes or eliminates the need for additional weight while adding a safer configuration that builds on our progressive single tank system utilizing a long hose/short hose and spg on 24″-26″ HP hose and it gives divers  the ability to solve a catastrophic failure thanks to redundant regulators.

Aluminum twins are popular option for divers looking for a great wetsuit set that can be used with a drysuit, however, they are more suitable for use on shallow dives.  When worn with a drysuit the diver will have to wear a heavier steel plate, a v-weight with lead down the centre of the tanks and a compact and streamlined wing.  They are easy to dive with little learning curve.

Steel tanks will take the diver further through deeper dives, caves, wreck penetration and offer more reserve gas on the divers back to deal with emergencies.

Vertical Divers with all the weight on the waist in a jacket bcd with dangling everything
DDS Diver John displaying perfection with great trim, buoyancy, control and style as he swims around the Tugs in Tobermory, ON

Many divers prefer the additional gas capacity of the steel tanks as well as the larger sized tanks allow divers to dive deeper and stay longer in comparison to the standard aluminum 80 tank which is still the most popular scuba diving tank on the market.

 

Drysuit Divers and DDS Divers have better trim because a drysuit surrounds the entire body with a little bit of air (less is better).

Redistribute weight, minimize weight and enjoy easier diving.

 

As divers tend to dive more off the dive boats and spend more time on their favourite dive sites, divers start looking at how to get more bottom time.

Diving Nitrox allows divers to gain up to 50% more bottom time on sites around 100′ and deeper, while yielding even more bottom time shallower, however, the limiting factor at that point tends to be their breathing rates and the sizes of tank they use, so a steel tank will in fact increase their bottom time an allow them to achieve their dive plans up to the Nitrox NDL most dives.

For divers who find even on Nitrox, the NDL isn’t always long enough, extending their range into decompression diving often is the trick, as a diver learns how to properly and safely plan their dives with a little bit of decompression utilizing advanced nitrox mixes to accelerate decompression times.  This is where doubles are most beneficial.

DDS Divers practicing bottle handling

When a diver combines the drysuit for maximum exposure protection and comfort along with a set of twin tanks, they no longer have to worry about switching out their tanks on that rocking dive boat in between dives, they no longer have to worry about adding weight to their hips or anywhere usually on their body, and they can certainly benefit from the increased balance and comfort that doubles offer.

You’ll also find divers enjoy just going out and working on foundational skills is easy to observe as our divers are always out in open water honing their skills.

Diving Dry with Doubles allows for more even balance in the water as the tanks are placed over top of each lung rater than down the spine like a single tank, while giving the diver a more comfortable suit to don and doff.

Drysuits are easier to put on than a 5-7mm wetsuit.

Drysuits are more effective for warmth retention.

Crushed neoprene or trilaminate Drysuits don’t compress with depth like wetsuits which get thinner with each atmosphere making the diver heavier because of the initial weight they start the dive with, as well as making the diver colder because those thick suits become much thinner every 30ft/10meters they descend.

Are Doubles For You?

If you can carry them on your back, reach your valves and dive with them comfortably, the answer is yes!

 

Look at the number of  accidents that have happened in recreational diving situations with single tanks, especially on deeper dives.  Most recreational diving accidents occur in a single tank with no redundancy (pony bottle, sidemount, h-valve, doubles) or lack of training.

A diver breaths their tank empty, their buddy runs out of air and they didn’t reserve enough gas for them and their buddy to ascend, they went in cold water and the regulator froze up, they hit the regulator or tank valve off a shipwreck or overhead environment creating a catastrophic failure, the BCD freezes, their dive computer blows off the end of their high pressure hose (another reason to wrist mount your computer) so they panic seeing bubbles streaming out of the high pressure hose, etc….

Minimize the risk, Increase the Fun and Learning and be more mentally and physically prepared with more advanced training.

If you’re interested in diving deeper than 80′, cavern or cave diving, technical diving, ice diving, mixed gas diving or wreck penetration, you should do it on doubles.  To many people did it wrong and it cost them their lives.

Be the best diver you can be.  Get involved with DDS and we’ll make you the best diver you can be with our training, experience dives, trips, charters and exploration offerings.

We’ve found these factors to be some of the most beneficial tools to extend your diving into a more fun and exciting world:

Dive Planning: Plan Your Dive, Follow Your Plan, Have an overplan, bailout plan, but don’t deviate from the main dive plan

Gas Management: 1/3 down and around, 1/3 back, exiting water with 1/3 of your gas supply 

Redundancy: Doubles allow the ability to shut down your regulator in the event of a failure, free flow, freeze-up, burst disc failure etc. Isolation manifold allows to shut down and switch over by isolating and shutting down the offending post or just shutting down the offending post.

Narcosis Management: Don’t Dive Deep On Air.  You’re narc’d at 130ft/40meters whether you know it or not.  Don’t dive deep on air, it’s silly, outdated and unsafe with education and helium training available now.

Team Diving: Serious Diving requires divers you can trust in an emergency and in an pinch. Don’t just dive with the randoms you find on a boat down south, they’re usually once a year divers with horrible habits and inferior training.  Dive with divers you have a positive history with or as ask us and we can refer you to more progressively minded shops

No Solo Diving on Deep Dives: Solo Diving is popular now, we’d likely choose this option if diving south with random divers instead of having to buddy up with people that we don’t feel comfortable diving with, however, deeper dives require piece of mind, extra equipment and a proper plan with lots of “what-if’s” to be safe guarded against.  It’s not worth solo cave, solo deep (exceeding NDL) or solo overhead environment without buddies

Analyze Your Mixes: Always, Always, Always analyze your mixes when you pick your tanks up, make sure they’re labelled and if diving with a fill that was “just filled” and you have to grab and go, analyze it again before your day of diving begins.

Practice , Practice, Practice: Complacency Kills.  Work on trim, buoyancy, bottle handling, dealing with simulated emergencies, smb deployment, alternate fin kicks, etc.  Be the most polished and best diver you can be.

Fit is Everything

Don’t just jump into drysuits and doubles blindly.  It requires the right fitting suit and undergarments first and foremost.  Many brands of drysuits are inferior in fit and quality, even the brands offering “custom fit”.

You’ll notice most shops try and pedal the cheaper suits that are like garbage bags or garbage bags wrapped in lycra to cover up the garbage bag look. This is like buying a drysuit from McDonald’s!  Don’t Waste Your Money

If you truly want to LOVE your drysuit and want to enjoy using it, take the time to get properly measured and properly fit.  Don’t just let the dive store hand you a suit off the rack and tell you that it’ll fit you perfectly, we’ve had that happen to several students from out of town that couldn’t complete their required skills during Intro to Tech Training and ended up renting suits from us to finish the class, then ultimately buy a brand new suit from us.

Do it Right.

We are partial to Diving Unlimited International because they offer the best quality, service, workmanship and there is an actual after sales service with them.  They are our top choice for hard to fit people too.  It’s all about comfort and fit with them.

DUI have great value priced suits with their Coronado, San Diego and Yukon II suits and the new Cortez (2019) suits obliterate most brands “top of the line suit” for quality, features, performance, as well as coming with user replaceable quick change ZipSeals, meaning you don’t have to send the suits away for service unless you damage the suit or zipper!  No brand can compete with that!

Santi offers a great quality and great looking suit.  We do their stock and modified stock suits.  You’re allowed up to 4 alterations at no extra cost with them and they do offer custom too.  Suits are very tough and stylish with a beautiful Euro look of elegance and colour.  They do take some time 2-3 months typically (sometimes less sometimes more).

Fourth Element offers the most flexible drysuit on the market.  It’s durable and looks great and they’re using technology to their advantage instead of dive stores who can miss measure someone by using BIOMAP technology to digitally create an image of the person to cut the suit for.  Great suits for a great price with great service…it might just take a bit more time to get the suits made 2-3 months typically.

BARE offers a great stock suit at a good price depending on what you get with the suit from your LDS.  Just but it from DDS and you’ll be happiest.

The Drysuit Underwear is as important for fit and mobility as the drysuit itself.  Santi offers modified stock and custom underwear, DUI offers DuoTherm ultra stretch polartec suits for custom fit as well as a great selection of stock sizes in up to an XM450 material which is exceptional underwear for cold water.  Fourth Element offers an amazing range of suits for a range of conditions made with some of the nicest feeling and fitting materials.

Learn more about diving doubles by stopping in or sign up for a Discover Doubles NTEC night with us.  

NTEC will introduce you to the doubles configuration, foundational skills you should master, emergency drills and more. It’s a perfect prep-workshop that introduces divers to the principles that will help lay the groundwork moving forward towards more regimented training with the right guidance, education, exercises and more to help ready you for our NAUI Intro Class.

Our NAUI Intro to Tech Course is a Rudimentary Elements of Diving Course that will highlight the foundational skills and develop them from a recreational perspective that will dovetail into more advanced and technical diving activities and show recreational divers a preview of what their diving can be like by testing and honing a divers finesse, comfort, trim, buoyancy, effortless skills, problem identification and reactions, team diving, smb deployments, buoyancy refinement, fin techniques and so much more.

2 divers swimming across an old wooden shipwreck
Tiller Wreck, Port Dalhousie

NTEC and Intro are the 2 most exciting, modern, challenging classes that will help improve your skills and enjoyment in the drysuit the most. Tie in NTEC and your PADI Drysuit Specialty Course together and see diving with a  different mindset than what you’d hear/see/learn in a traditional PADI system of diving education.

Diving Dry allows for longer bottom time in cooler water or more dives per day. A more comfortable gear up experience from a boat.

When you look at our DDS dive trip pics on Facebook or Instagram you’ll notice aside from a pool or an open water course weekend, the majority of the divers you see on our trips and con-ed classes are all in drysuits and you’ll notice that a lot of the same divers come out year after year on our charters and trips because their level of enjoyment is substantially higher than a wetsuit divers.

A friend of ours had a shop in Massachusetts and they trained their divers exclusively in drysuits.  They offered by far the most expensive open water course from NY-Maine and everywhere in between, yet their continuing education rates were 400% vs a national industry average of about 25% of divers who go diving and train after open waters.

So they found enormous success training their divers and promoting colder water diving trips because like DDS, they realized the best diving in the world was around the Great Lakes, Atlantic wrecks, Florida and surrounding areas. They were right.

In Closing

Drysuits will last you longer than a wetsuit, will give a diver buoyancy control that is easier to maintain when you where a little “squeeze” on the suit vs a wetsuit which compresses and changes depth the deeper or shallower you go.

Drysuits will allow for colder water immersion and more dives per day, while in between dives the divers will warm up faster, so the energy that is rejuvenated is much higher, especially with todays’ warmer Thinsulate’s and heated systems.

Combining a drysuit with a set of doubles sets a diver up for a lifetime hobby where anything is achievable.

The divers can spend more time under the water enjoying their hobby.  They don’t have to change tanks awkwardly on the boat in between dives like single tank divers do.  They add a larger gas source to deal with emergencies such as low on air or an equipment failure, while also adding redundancy in the event of a regulator or valve failure.

Aside from a little extra weight on land, there isn’t much difference between a single tank and a lot of lead to sink a recreational diver and a set of doubles.

For divers who can’t wear a set of doubles, try Sidemount!  Sidemount is a great option for divers who don’t have the ability to reach back to shut a valve down or who have had back surgery or a physical limitation that negates the ability the wear doubles on their back.

At Dan’s we believe in a more fun progression, so training our divers the right way from the very beginning is so imperative and gives them so many more options moving forward beyond Open Water, Advanced, Drysuit, Rescue, Divemaster and Instructor.  Don’t get caught in the boring progressions that the recreational agencies endorse, there is a much more fun, challenging and enjoyable progression ahead.

Experience more in the world of scuba diving instruction with Dan’s and let us show you a better way to do things that makes more sense and creates better divers.

Dan’s is an innovator of progressive recreational and technical diving, bringing the most modern skills and philosophies forwards before anyone in Canada as we continue to lead and offer the highest standards and most exceptional dive training for recreational and technical diving and have helped shaped some of the finest explorers in the world of scuba diving too.  Train with Dan’s and see a brighter diving future.

padi_open_water_certification_courses_ontario_canada

PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course September 2019

PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course September 2019

Learn to scuba dive this autumn and explore the amazing dive sites in your own backyard with our PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course September 2019.  Get your PADI Open Water Diver certification and you will enjoy the greatest sport in the world.  

Learn to scuba dive with one of North America’s most respected, most experienced, most progressive and visionary dive shops.  At Dan’s we teach you the right way to dive from day one of our PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course.  More knowledge and higher skills are just the start.

At Dan’s we offer you a more thorough and modern approach to your scuba diving education. We believe in teaching you how to maximize your potential and see where the tides take you.We pride ourselves on offering you a higher level of training aimed at taking you further through the life long adventure sport of scuba diving. 

DDS Divers are the most skilled and respected recreational and technical divers  in the water because they are taught to be more comfortable, utilize precision buoyancy, possess higher skill and techniques underwater, with more academic and team awareness.

Prerequisites:

Minimum age 12yrs old. Must be able to swim non-stop 200 meters free-style or 300 meters with mask, fins, snorkel and be able to tread water for 10 minutes.

Agency:

PADI

Class Schedule

You complete the Open Water Diver Course classroom component on eLearn . We will have you complete all academic portions of the PADI Open Water Diver Course and videos at your own pace and will meet up for Classroom with your Instructor as we fill in many of the gaps left in traditional dive training with a more informative and beneficial dive training experience. Students will complete additional classroom and Pool Training sessions on September 28 – 29 and then complete the PADI Open Water Certification Dives the following weekend, October 5 – 6. 

Saturday September 28th, 9am-9pm

Sunday September 29th, 9am-2pm

Saturday, October 5th 9am-4pm

Sunday, October 6th 9am-4pm

Costs:

PADI Open Water Referral Course, Class/Pool Only $350+HST

PADI Open Water Certification Course Only $500+HST ALL INCLUSIVE

PADI Jr Open Water Certification Course Only $600 + HST ALL INCLUSIVE

All Inclusive Open Water Course Price Includes: PADI eLearn with Deluxe Multimedia Crewpak (digital dive tables, virtual log book with PADI Scuba Earth and more!) additional classroom, pool training, open water dives, full scuba equipment rental (no snorkelling gear) and certification fees.

Private Courses available at an additional fee.

What gear will you need?

All students will need to purchase their own Mask, Strap Fins, Snorkel, Boots, however many of our students prefer to purchase the rest of their kit too. You’ll want to buy the right gear, so please have a read through our DDS Student Diver PDF and learn more about the specific gear requirements and training differences we offer, as well as some incentives.
You don’t need to purchase a weight belt and weights, at DDS we don’t believe in over-weighting our students. Weight belts are an outdated piece of gear that has not been used by us in training since the late 1990’s.Our divers are taught to use little to no weight.

Financing is available: Finance your course, snorkeling gear and even your scuba equipment package at a very reasonable rate. Ask staff for details and learn diving in the best equipment you can…..your own personal dive gear, or ours.
DDS will include all scuba equipment for the course, however, you will enjoy your diving experience much more in your own personal dive equipment.

How can you enroll?

Come visit us at 329 Welland Ave, St Catharines or call 905 984 2160 or email info@dansdiveshop.ca.

 

Our Cancellation Policy: If less than 14 days notice is given there is a $100 fee to cancel or reschedule. No shows forfeit all course fees. Redeemed eLearning is non-refundable.

PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Course

PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Course 

PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Course doesn’t love more bottom time to enjoy what we love the most?  More Bottom Time!  Join us for a midweek PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Course January 26th 9am-5pm. 

What will you learn?

Dive Longer, Feel Better, Upgrade your course to an Enriched Air Nitrox Open Water Course
Dive Longer, Feel Better, Upgrade your course to an Enriched Air Nitrox Open Water Course

Enriched Air Nitrox is the most interesting academic diving course with a greater understanding of what’s happening to your body:  decompression theory, gas laws, physiology, dive planning, managing oxygen exposure and so much more.  

Nitrox is a great course for divers who want to learn more about dive science and benefit from a more efficient breathing medium that allows more bottom time, allowing divers to see more, dive more and do more dives per day with shorter surface intervals.

Prerequisites:

Minimum age is 12 years, however,  we feel 15 years of age is more suited to the scope of the academics, unless doing a simplified computer based nitrox course.

Take this course as part of your Open Water course or your Advanced Open Water Course.

Training Agency:

PADI

Additional Details:

Nitrox is the most popular dive specialty available now on the market.  Divers looking to advanced their diving to a more skill and theory oriented style of diving can use Nitrox as a stepping stone towards deeper, more advanced, technical, cave diving applications, as well as rebreather diving.

Diving Nitrox Allows Divers to:

  • Do more dives per day
  • Reduce Nitrogen Uptake  by reducing the risk of Decompression Illness.  By giving your body much needed oxygen to supply tissue/oxygen demands if diving nitrox as air, you on-gass less N2 and increase safety reducing the risk of DCS by up to 46%.
  • More Bottom Time increasing NO Stop dive limits. * For Example Diving an EAN40 (40% Oxygen/60% Nitrogen) gives a diver 240 min’s of No Decompression time at 60fsw vs. 60ft for 55min’s on regular air diving tables.
  • Reduce Post Dive Fatigue.  No more feeling burned out after air dives. Nitrox will make you feel better and more awake after dives.

At Dan’s we teach the Highest Quality Nitrox Course around.  No one has as much experience in the field of mixed gas and technical diving than Dan’s, so learn from the best.

Our facility has been the top nitrox and technical dive training facility since the 1990’s.  If you want the most thorough Nitrox training course, ours is the one you’ll want.  

In Class Cost: $229.95 with books and certification or $249.95 eLearning Only.

Where can I go from here?

Here are some popular examples of courses commonly taken by graduates of this course:

  • PADI Advanced Open Water
  • Deep Diver
  • Wreck Diver
  • Drysuit Diver
  • Underwater Photography
  • NTEC or Intro to Tech
  • Cavern Diver