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Shortly before releasing he’d just floated up from 25m to 5m in 10 seconds clutching his camera…

 

When you’ve been monkeying around in this business for years and teaching in different countries and environments you learn, like a diving detective, to identify traits, characteristics and cues with divers. To sort the new divers from the old. To quickly spot the experienced from the inexperienced. The cocktail divers from those who have spent time in a more demanding environment. It sounds harsh, but it’s part of the job. Making sure your dive group is safe may depend on it.

So, what are the ‘tells’? What are diving professionals looking for? What are the stereotypes?!… Stick around, take the test and I’ll let you see behind the curtain… It’s not a complete list by any stretch of the imagination, but it will give you a few ‘give-aways’ as to what kind of diver you may be dealing with on the dive deck. Write down your answers. See how you do! There’s a poll at the end.

 

Part 1: Equipment

1. My regulators are:

a) Whatever I’ve been given. I’m not sure.

b) A bargain. I got them off ebay/a friend secondhand.

c) MK2/11 Scubapro, Aqualung Titan LX, Cressi MC9, Mares Prestige 12s…etc.

d) MK17/25 Scubapro, Aqualung Legend, Mares Abyss, Apeks XTX200…etc.

e) Mares Carbon 42s, Poseidon Xstream, Apeks XTX200 Tungsten.

2. My BCD is:

a) Decent quality semi-wing/BCD style device such as a Mares Hybrid/Dragon, Scubapro X-Black/T-Black, Aqualung Axiom, Hollis HD200…etc.

b) Wing and back plate. Twin Bladder.

c) Scubapro T-One, Aqualung Wave, Mares Prestige…etc.

d) No idea.

e) Buddy Explorer/Commando. 2001 model.

3. My computer is:

a) What computer? I’m not bothered – I’m not even wearing a watch! – I’ll just stay close to the group. Or, a Mares Puck your partner bought as a present and you don’t know how to use.

b) A 15-20 year old Suunto Favor or big grey UWATEC Aladin that should be on ‘Antiques Roadshow’; the algorithm is so out of date that at 35m on a repetitive dive it gives you a bottom time of 73 minutes.

c) The size of a laptop and with a lurid multi-coloured screen.

d) A solid Zoop/D4/Geo2/Vyper/Veo 2.0

e) Suunto D6i/D9/DX/OCi

4. My fins are:

a) Aqualung Slingshots, Mares Avanti 3/Quattros, Scubapro Twin-Jets, Beauchat Powerjets – all with spring-clips…etc.

b) Jet fins. End of.

c) Size 43 full foot. But I’m shopping online for some Scubapro Seawing Novas – in white.

d) Aqualung Express, Scubapro Jet-Sport, Mares Wave, Tusa Imprex…etc.

e) Original Mares Plana (green/black).

Part 2: Dive Style.

5. Pre-dive I put my mask…

a) On the back of my head.

b) On my forehead.

c) On my face

d) Around my neck until I’ve jumped into the water (which I usually do minus mask and regulator). I’ll put it on when I’m waiting for everyone else.

e) I don’t know where my mask is. I may have sat on it.

6. I put my computer

a) In a console with my air gauge.

b) I don’t know how to use my computer. My boyfriend/girfriend bought it for me as a gift.

c) On my left wrist.

d) On my right wrist.

e) On show where everyone can admire it and it’s flashing lights.

7. On the surface at the end of the dive I…

a) Signal the boat with my SMB and keep everything in place until I’m back on the terra-firma.

b) Put my mask on my forehead and complain about the current.

c) Put the mask on the back of my head and talk about your computer readout/runtime etc. during various stages of the dive.

d) Put my mask around my neck and fin back to the boat’s ladder cheering and whooping.

e) Get ready to take off my enormous weight belt and pass it up to the crew.

8. My air gauge is…

a) Tucked in my pocket on a 3-in-line combo and it’s readings are top secret. If you ask me how much air I have during the dive, I’ll be offended.

b) Neatly tucked under my arm and/or in a clip on the left hand side. It’s just a simple air-gauge.

c) On a super thin miflex hose and miniature metal gauge and is only my business.

d) No idea. I didn’t set up my gear.

e) Standard issue Aqualung/Scubapro 2-in-line on a standard hose.

9. In current I…

a) Get blown away and/or am unable to adapt my style to the environment.

b) Complain when I get back to the surface.

c) Plan the route around the site carefully to take shelter where possible with one eye on the group.

d) Hope to see something big swimming by!

e) Hope it won’t mess up my dive plan that I made on V-Planner.

10. On a dive site I…

a) Have a list of things I want to see so that I can take photos to show my friends on Facebook.

b) Search for the ghost pipefish for 40 minutes (even though the group with a combined total of 35 dives will have no idea what the ‘stick thing’ is).

c) Grab the reef when it suits or use a metal ‘pointer’ to prod at things when it suits. Why not.

d) Monitor my plans. Plan the dive, dive the plan.

e) Try to ensure the group are safe and bring them all to a safe ascent point with a margin of gas.

11. No stop/deco limits are:

a) Extended if you use some nitrox, but please keep one eye on your computer and let me know when you get to 5 minutes from your limit so I can manage the profile.

b) Something I learned about in training.

c) Something imposed by PADI/SSI etc. Pain in the arse.

d) On my computer. I’ll try to stay within them as we’re doing 4 dives today but if I see something a little deeper I’ll bend the rules and hope my computer sorts it out…

e) For inexperienced divers. I’m going with a couple of stages the richest one is 80%.

12. On safety stops I…

a) Hover vertically and blow air ‘rings’ for my customers.

b) Flap around and look at my computer in a confused manner, before popping to the surface like a cork before insinuating there’s something wrong with the equipment and that was the reason for floating away…

c) Film my friends so we can examine our positioning after the dive in the pub, talking earnestly and stroking our chins.

d) Try to stay horizontal and stable so I can off-gas efficiently and turn easily to keep an eye on where the group/boat is.

e) Make up the minutes left as my vintage Aladin slab/computer is simply showing ‘99’ – and I have no idea what that means.

13. My SMB is…

a) I don’t carry one – it’s something for the guide to worry about. I’ve never deployed one in my life despite having an ‘Advanced’ qualification.

b) On a chunky metal Custom/Kent Divers reel with a sausage big enough to lift an outboard motor from 20,000 leagues under the sea.

c) A cheap n’ cheerful plastic sausage on an 8m line with a bolt tied on the end. It has a smiley face drawn on it in permanent marker.

d) On a lightweight finger reel, but I keep a spare around just in case.

e) Faded and in my BCD pocket. It’s the same one I bought in 1986.

14. I love to dive…

a) In tropical areas or warm waters. I don’t like current. Diving in colder water is rubbish. And I expect to see exceptional things.

b) Where there’s some great Macro-life so I can get some decent shots. I love hunting for Pipefish, Seahorses and Harlequin Shrimps.

c) Everywhere. I love to blow bubbles. Everywhere in the world has it’s magic.

d) On wrecks. Deep. Dressed in black.

e) Wherever our committee says and is cheapest.

15. On the surface interval I…

a) Sleep if I can.

b) Tinker with my equipment.

c) Check my group are OK, speak with colleagues and prepare for the next dive.

d) Moan about what I didn’t see and how expensive the diving is.

e) Sit on the boat smoking and play verbal ‘Scuba diving ‘Top Trumps’’ with other guests (e.g. “I saw the ******, did you??”)

16. GoPro Hero cameras…

a) …are cool. I carry a camera just in case I see something on the dive.

b) …I don’t have time for one. I’m concentrating on the dive and the task at hand.

c)…make my heart sink. I know my work is going to be cut-out trying to make sure the user doesn’t lose the group or get a bend chasing something instead of monitoring their depth. Why don’t people buy a computer or continue their diving education instead?

d) …I don’t want any of that modern jibba-jabba! I reluctantly parted with money for my computer 20 years ago (which is still on it’s original battery). I’m not wasting any more money!

e) I bought one and take it everywhere. I film everything and post it to a social networking site as soon as I’m back on land. It was the first thing I bought in basic training (before mask, fins, computer…)

So, who are you?! Where do the majority of your answers fall? Recognise yourself? A friend? A dive buddy? Written down your answers?….scroll down for the reveal!

 

Cocktail Diver (Answers: 1a, 2d, 3a, 4c, 5e, 6b, 7b, 8d, 9a, 10a, 11b, 12b, 13a, 14a, 15e, 16e)

You dive only on holiday in warm waters. Or alternatively, it’s something you learned to do while ‘travelling’ as something to enjoy alongside elephant trekking or surfing. You have progressed to a maximum of Advanced Open Water level. You have less than 100 dives and in-water you dive for you, not as a buddy team and are prone to disappearing on your own or holding up the group. You expect the best and if you don’t see what it said on google for that area (e.g. Manta/Whale Shark/Turtle) you’re very disappointed. You like “big stuff”. You like to post diving footage from your GoPro on Facebook. You flutter kick and can’t cope with current. You have limited equipment (if at all) and what you may have bought is a mis-match of contrasting styles bought on special offer at the dive centre or dive show (as your ‘experienced mate’ said it was a bargain) or, alternatively, bought because the colours match – not for function. You have no idea how to use an SMB and are still scared of having water leak into your mask. Technically, you’re not unsafe but your skill level is still low. You measure your ability on what you’ve seen as opposed to how you dive.

 

Warm-Water-Spotter-Instructor/Part-Time DM or Instructor on holiday (Answers: 1c, 2c, 3d, 4d, 5d, 6c, 7d, 8e, 9d, 10b, 11d, 12a, 13c, 14b, 15a, 16a)

Hard working and with a passion for diving, you did your DM/IDC in the past 2 years in nice, warm, calm conditions. You have between 80-500 dives. You’re on a tight budget and your equipment is tough, mid-range gear that gets the job done – certainly no Tekkie gear although you like wearing a wing sometimes as you think it looks cool with your boardies. You like to party in the evenings and have been known to post ridiculous pictures of yourself making a peace ‘v-sign’ or ‘wicked/awesome’ hand signal underwater with your reg/mask off on Facebook. You’ve never taught/dived in a tough environment and focus more on ‘spotting’ creatures than group safety, dive management or coaching. You’re diving for you and may even carry a camera – even though you’re supposed to be guiding/teaching. Your mission each dive is to ‘out-do’ the other guides by finding more exclusive creatures than them to brag about back on the boat. You’re good with people but forget some of the safety aspects of diving sometimes if there’s something good to see, or at the surface. You’ve never seen a diving injury or accident and certainly not had to deal with anything as serious as a fatality. Teaching to standards is generally done, although you bend the rules a little sometimes to suit.

 

Old-Skool-Clubbie (Answers: 1b, 2e, 3b, 4e, 5b, 6a, 7e, 8a, 9b, 10c, 11c, 12e, 13e, 14e, 15d, 16d)

You’re a member of BSAC/CMAS etc. and think PADI/SSI etc. are money-grabbing charlatans who don’t know how to dive. A diving traditionalist, your equipment and procedures are 20 years behind the curve but, ironically, you’re so set in your ways that you wouldn’t accept any advice even if it was offered. You expect special service but also a discount (?) and think dive centres are out to rip you off! Equipment is rarely serviced – if at all – and you consider that if your equipment is old, faded and beaten-up it just makes you look experienced, right? You have limited buoyancy control and environmental awareness – and think nothing of grabbing the reef or wreck to get a photo. You wear too much weight, have between 100-500 dives, but still have high gas consumption – however you won’t pay a supplement for a 15L tank and would rather compromise the dive for the rest of the group.

 

Weather-Beaten-DM/Instructor (Answers: 1d, 2a, 3e, 4a, 5c, 6d, 7a, 8b, 9c, 10e, 11a, 12d, 13d, 14c, 15c, 16c)

You’re a Divemaster or Instructor who’s been around the block. With >1000 dives in different environments you don’t pretend to know everything, but you’ve got some tales to tell. You’re on a dive professional’s salary (square root of f*ck all!) but you have the best equipment you can afford. You know your life depends on it. Safety is your first priority over spotting the creatures – although you’re passionate about aquatic life – and you’ve seen enough cock-ups in your time to know that little mistakes can add up to a big incident if you don’t pay attention. Warm water, cold water, reef, wreck, current…you’ve seen a little of everything and try to adapt your style accordingly. It drives you crazy when people (including other professionals) are unsafe in the water or have no respect for the environment.

 

The Tekkie (Answers: 1e, 2b, 3c, 4b, 5a, 6e, 7c, 8c, 9e, 10d, 11e, 12c, 13b, 14d, 15b, 16b)

You’re not a full-time diver but a wealthy person who has a serious day job. You take yourself and your diving very seriously and are prone to considering yourself a class above standard recreational divers. You’re about 75% likely to be male. You have around 200 dives and consider yourself to be a great diver (the reality is you’re average and having been seen flapping around or getting lost like a student on dive holidays). You have all black dive gear. You love wrecks and have no time for “fishy sh*t”. Twisted metal is where it’s at. You love to talk gas mixes, shutdowns, SAC rates and run-times loudly to whoever will listen. You read the diving press religiously and buy the very best equipment online after drinking your local dive centre dry of coffee and not buying from them. Your equipment makes working DMs/Instructors drool but you don’t know quite how to use that flashy equipment to it’s full potential. You’ve never gone down the coaching/DM/Instructor route as you don’t have the patience or personality. You wear a twin-set even when you’re only doing a 12m dive in a lake as you love the kudos. Diving’s about you and your gadgets and some of your best dives occur during tall stories in the the pub.

 

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Comments
  1. Stew says:

    Maybe stick in a “I use a Bottom Timer and my Brain” in Q3.

  2. not really any of the above half way between old-skool and weather beaten instructor…

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