Specialties and Levels
Learn a little more, be a lot better...
Most divers complete their training and have only touched the surface of what they can learn. Learning some new skills with a specialty class can improve your comfort, confidence, and diving opportunities. By the time you're done with your Open Water training you will have completed six Open Water dives. If you're going to dive in the Pacific Northwest, you will want to dive in a drysuit. Adding the Drysuit Diver Specialty will add one more day and two more dives. By taking on this commitment, you will finish your program at a place that some divers don't see until their second year. You will be extremely prepared for the best that diving has to offer and others will recognize how much more advanced you are!
This is actually the way it used to be done. Changes in the economy and easy access to other sporting activities have caused the industry to change their minimum requirements and even their standards. I intend teach you, "the way it used to be done" -- to create the most competent and highly proficient diver!
Below are some of the extra specialties you will want to learn. Most start off with Night, Deep, Nitrox, and Drysuit. My favorites are: Perfect Buoyancy, Navigation, Wreck, and Equipment Techniques! Most specialties only take an hour or two, a dive or two, and you get to start putting your new skills to work right away. If you don't have any of the specialized equipment that you might need, I can help you find it at some of the dive shops that I've got a relationship with. Not only will they appreciate the business, but most of my specialty classes are only $50 right now! This is a great time to learn some fantastic skills, get some cool tools, and become an even better diver.
Night Diver: Done during the hours of darkness. Experience a different set of marine animals. Specialized light configurations and equipment. I love diving at night! I saw my first "Sailfin Sculpin" on my first night dive. The Giant Pacific Octopus often hunts at night, too. I once saw a GPO in her den, and then on my way back she was gone! I bet she was out hunting.
Limited Visibility Diver: Techniques in high silt, particulate, or turbidity which can reduce the ability to see to zero. You could say that you'll be diving by feel. Low Vis is cool! New divers often swim by all the really cool small stuff. In very low visibility, you have to go slow and this forces you to look at what's in front of you!
Drysuit Diver: Open diving opportunities in 30 degrees to 80 degrees waters and dive all year long. Reduce hypothermia and decompression sickness risk potential. Dive longer and improve buoyancy. I love my drysuit! I've been told by some of my students that they're buoyancy is better in their drysuits and it wasn't as hard to learn as they thought it would.
Boat Diver: Safety, etiquette, entries, exits, and non-shore diving opportunities. I have relationships with several boat charters in the Pacific Northwest. We do boat diving all year long and with over a thousand miles of coastline in the Puget Sound, there are diving opportunities for everyone!
Computer Diver: Increase bottom time, monitor ascent rate, manage N2 and O2, record dive profile, and do more dives. Dive computer technology has come a long way! Computers can do everything now, and dive computers are so easy to use. Many of them have alarms to tell you if you go outside of your planned dive criteria and most will allow you to grow with them. Most computers today allow you to download your dive profile so you can see all the information about your dive on your home computer, laptop, tablet, and smart phone. My dive computer allows me to dive with up to eight different gasses and do decompression diving! Wanna learn...?
Enriched Air Nitrox: Decrease nitrogen on-gassing, increase bottom time or depth, reduce decompression sickness risks, and nitrox is your gateway to decopression diving. As we get older, some of our risk factors increase. It's inevitable, guys and gals... So, if we reduce the risk factors when we dive, it's like we're young and invincable, again. Well, almost! Nitrox can be one of those tools to reduce risk. You'll find great deals for nitrox diving all over the world, too.
Search & Recovery: Discover lost treasures, lift bag and SMB deployment, line use, search patterns, location identification, and more. I find cool stuff all the time. Would you believe that I found a block of cement with two boot in it in Lake Mead! Really! I used recovery techniques to take move it to a spot that everyone could enjoy seeing it. Las Vegas has some interesting history... I didn't find anything inside the boots, if you were wondering.
Deep Diving: Extend your range, deep dive planning, redundant breathing systems theory and usage, decompression theory, risks and rewards. My deepest dive to date was to 241 feet. I dove it on Trimix, a gas combination of oxygen, nitrogen and helium. The descent took me about five minutes, I spent 15 minutes exploring the USS Monitor, and then my ascent took 90 minutes! It was one of the most technical dives and definitely one of the most fullfilling I've ever done. I started by learning advanced nitrox techniques, then decompression diving techniques, and after many dives and lots of practice, I took the trimix course. I'll be teaching these soon, too. Watch for updates!
Equipment Techniques: How does my regulators work? "Woops... I disassembled it and need help putting it back together." No worries, learn how it all works and be even more confident in your scuba diving equipment. I'll teach you how to clean, assemble, maintain all your gear. Keeping your equipment in perfect condition is important, after all, it's your life support. Even if you can't service it yourself, the mechanical process is very interesting. I love servicing scuba diving equipment.
Underwater Photography: Still life composition and equipment techniques. Lighting, perspective, and preperation. I spent many years as a concert photographer, back in the old days before digital technology. But, you know what, the most important parts of photography, that is -- "painting with light" are still true today. Let me show you all techniques that help to create great photographs in and out of the water. Underwater photography equipment is affordable for any budget. Let me show you what's out there!
Stress & Rescue: Risk, stress, and aid. assessment, management, and techiques. Emergency and crisis management, first aid, oxygen administration. You never know when an emergency might arise, and being prepared for it -- before and after -- is important. Stress & Rescue is a requirement for your Master Diver certification, too. It is a fun class and you will be put through great challenges. See what is going around in your environment and be an agent to reduce risk. This is an all day specialty and costs $100, but it will be the best money you've ever spent on education.
Navigation: Orientation and equipment techniques. Reciprocal and geometric heading and courses. Compass procedures utilization, and function. I would say that underwater navigation is the most underestimated skill, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Getting back to the shore seems pretty straight forward, but if you go in the wrong directions, then what...? I carry a compass on me and use it on every dive! The best part of navigation is that you get to where you want to be a lot sooner and spend less time wandering around looking for what was on your dive plan. Compass techniques are just the beginning, too. Natural navigation is a major part of knowing where you are at any given time. This is one of the core classes that I would recommend that everyone take right after open water certification.
Waves, Tides & Currents: Atmospheric and gravitational factors that can influence diving. Risks, procedures, and conditions. You wouldn't want to start your dive and then realize that the tide is taking you further out than you expected. Struggling against tides and and currents can be exhausting and futile. The ocean doesn't get tired, but you will. Starting your dive into the oncoming tide is one of the keys to this kind of diving. You'll learn a lot more and be able to apply these skills on your first dive. If you ever been white water rafting, imagine doing it under the water. That's drift diving. It is as close to flying that you'll ever get. I've done drift diving down the Colorado River below the Hoover Dam in Nevada. Spectacular and exhilerating!
Wreck Diving: Navigation to, on, and around sunken boats, ships, planes, vehicles, and debris. Risk of overhead environments, collapse, entanglement, and entrapment. Some of the best wreck diving is right here in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. All skill levels and sites are out there. Remember, your compass will probably not work around a large steel vessel, so understanding the wreck, how to navigate it, and how to get back to the mooring line is key! I've dove around the B29 in Lake Mead and I never realized how big it was! WOW...!!! You come up onto the tail first. It has to be 20 feet tall.
Line & Reel:Lines and reels or spools are carried with me on every dive. I am cave certified and would never enter a cave without knowing the way out. Similarly, getting to a site quickly by following laid line, having line that takes you back to your entry point, and line to help with ascents and descents are invaluable. Using line isn't straight forward, though. The risk of entanglement or fouling is a possibility. If you have other divers with you, what does the line mean to them? Learn all about line and reel work and you'll never do another dive without them.
Diving Emergency Management Provider: A dive emergency is rarely a single event. More often than not, separate small problems compound to create a larger emergency.
Divers interested in understanding first aid care for dive emergencies can take the Diving Emergency Management Provider (DEMP) course from a DAN Instructor. This program integrates the knowledge and skills from several DAN training programs into a single course -- at a significant time savings without sacrificing any skills.
The DEMP course includes the knowledge and skill development from each of the following DAN course: Basic Life Support: CPR and First Aid, Emergency Oxygen for Scuba Diving Injuries, Neurological Assessment, and First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries.
BLS/CPR and First Aid: Basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and triage. Scence assessment, organization, and prioritization. Mouth-to-mouth, Automated Electronic Defibulator, chest compressions, and overall general emergency management. Not only a good idea for the diver to know, but great for parents with children and would you believe I even heard of someone performing chest compressions on their family dog after being electricuted. Thess are the skills you hope you never have to use and if you've been trained in the past, standards have changed. Learn the most up-to-date skills and techniques and prepare for, "the worst case scenerio." All of us can be hereos...
Emergency Oxygen for Scuba Diving Injuries: The DAN Emergency Oxygen for Scuba Diving Injuries course is designed to train and educate interested individuals in the techniques of using oxygen as first aid for a suspected dive injury. In addition, this course will introduce the fundamentals of recognizing diving injury warning signs, response and management. This program also provides an excellent opportunity for experienced divers and instructors to continue their education.
Neurological Assessment: Approximately two-thirds of divers with decompression illness experience damage to their nervous system. These signs are often vague and can go unrecognized by the diver, causing the symptoms to be dismissed as insignificant or not dive related and delaying treatment.
Additionally, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability. Recognizing signs and symptoms of a possible stroke and activating EMS can minimize lasting effects.
The Neurological Assessment course focuses on how to obtain essential information about an individual involved in a dive emergency or suspected of having a stroke and what information to relay to emergency medical services.
First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries: Although serious hazardous marine life injuries are rare, most divers experience minor discomfort from unintentional encounters with fire coral, jellyfish and other marine creatures at some point in their dive careers. Learn how to recognize and minimize these injuries.
The First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries course is designed to provide divers with knowledge regarding specific types of marine life injuries and the general first aid treatment for those injuries. This course introduces students to identification of potentially hazardous marine life as well as how to avoid injuries.
LEVELS AND RANKING:
Unlike other agencies that only require four open water certification dives, I feel that more are necessary. I've heard many of my students proclaim that their last dive was the best! So, why stop on dive number four when you're already at the water's edge and dressed to dive. The best way to get better is to dive often and regularly. So, with that said, I have it planned for us to do anywhere from two to four more dives on our open water weekend. That means that you'll have to take an extra day off from work and spend it in the most beautiful place on earth! Is that so bad?
Open Water Diver: 6 dives
Advanced Open Water Diver: Open Water Diver, with Drysuit, Nitrox, Deep, and Night specialties.
Master Diver: Advanced Open Water Diver, with Stress & Rescue and DEMP.
Divemaster: Master Diver and Leadership training... This is the first professional ranking in Scuba. Be the best you can be and get paid for doing what you love, too!
Schedule & Fees
Specialties & Levels