On a recent dive trip part of our dive team had a thought provoking situation that could have ended rather badly. It’s important to know sometimes the experts are not always expert and learn to trust your training and skills and not be pressured to do things against your better judgment.
One thing I have noticed is divers love to share their experience and wisdom of what they have discovered in diving. Sometimes it can be information such as a favorite dive site in Bonaire or a favorite piece of Scubapro gear. Perhaps a helpful warning of an unpleasant travel experience can also be a great tip such as give plenty of time to catch connecting flights at certain airports and why it’s a good idea for trip insurance.
Related: Dive Bonaire
Most divers I believe feel exhilarated and a little nervous when diving a new spot. We are taught during our open water training when at a new dive area, hiring a guide is recommended. Local guides generally know of any hazards and typically where the most interesting dive spots are more likely to be found.
We had been in the water just two weeks prior to this trip so our dive skills were fresh and our wetsuits had barely dried when we loaded up the car for our next adventure.
The dive conditions were similar to our last bit of diving in regards to temperatures so gear configuration was not going to change. At the dive resort, however the dive guides convinced our divers due to the destination, more weight was needed.
Our divers questioned the reasoning and physics behind this extra weight and the guides were rather adamant about how the diving here was different and required the extra weight. Against what they felt was correct they accepted the advice of the resident expert dive guide and added 8-10 more pounds to their BC. They had a horrible dive, were super over weighted resulting in burned air like crazy.
Experts are usually experts in their field but sometimes they don’t have all the information or are generalizing based up on past experiences. Doesn’t make them right. As a diver YOU are the one responsible for yourself. Ultimately you have the final say in diving. Don’t let others talk you into doing something you know doesn’t sound correct. My friends really didn’t think they should add the extra weight but the guide really insisted.
Playing the devil’s advocate, the guide was probably used to warm water divers who typically don’t wear 7mm suits, hoods and gloves. Most warm water divers don’t realize how buoyant a 7mm wetsuit really is. Complacency can be very dangerous when dealing with depths and diving. The dive guide was probably not paying as much attention as he should have when he was told same gear configuration as 2 weeks ago.
When we lowered the weights on the divers, the diving became more fun, and air management much easier. It is very important as divers to know and trust your training. Listen to your dive briefs and make informed smart decisions about the dives. If your dive guide tells you something that doesn’t sound right, question them to make sure you understand, and perhaps get a second opinion. Again it is you who are diving and you’re responsible for yourself.
Related: Buoyancy Clinic
The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy class is a great course to help fine tune your diving. Also the Playground Dive Shop offers Buoyancy Clinics which spend 2 hours focusing on your buoyancy in the pool. These are great tools you can utilize in winter months to keep your skills fresh. They also allow you the opportunity to tune your buoyancy with different types of scuba gear and wetsuits.