Tuesday, May 30, 2017

DAN: Divers Alert Network ~ CPR, First Aid, AED, HMLI, and O2

Everyone can save a life...!!! Don't put these skills off until after it's too late.

DAN: Divers Alert Network

• BLS/CPR & First Aid
• Neurogolucal Assessment
• Hazardous Marine Life Injuries
• Oxygen Administration for Scuba Diving Injuries


#scuba #DAN #DiversAlertNetwork #CPR #BasicLifeSupport #FirstAid #EmergecyOxygen #HazardousMarineLifeInjuries

Finbert learns about solo diving

#finbert #solodiver #solodiving #scuba

solo diving course is now available... check it out here: https://jcaelitescuba.com/solo/diver.htm

Monday, May 29, 2017

Watch "The movie Kill Bill and scuba diving lessons have a lot in common -- see for yourself" on YouTube

#scuba #killbill #learntodive

Business as usual... if you aren't making enough money from your customers, lie to them...!!!

5/28/2017: UPDATE
email received (even though I unsubscribed): Sun, May 28, 2017 at 11:53 PM
image of the email: https://jcaelitescuba.com/human-factors/email-5-28-2017.jpg

"I have yet to receive negative feedback from either of the courses. So why not spend less than 5 mins of your time to help improve others' diving safety and performance by letting them know what you thought of the classes?"


Yes, I am the ONLY one, but sending an email out that says you have yet to receive negative feedback, that is a lie! As far as your wish to "save me from the undue negative attention," I don't need to be protected. I've been very vocal about what is wrong with the dive industry and how to fix it. The problem continues to be that many are focused on "business as usual" and to change anything would result in negatively impacting their pocketbooks!

You have just did exactly that which I
detest; you lied to your customers!

At this point, I am literally ready to give up on scuba diving education! Your program is successfully moving through all of the major players in the scuba diving industry. Now, you have people making video reviews about their experiences with you! Here is a video review from Terrence Tysall, NAUI Training Director: https://vimeo.com/219218352

You have found a niche that I really think that needs to be addressed, but again, I can't emphasize enough to anyone that is actually going to hear it, this is NOT new. Where my frustration lies is that you are traveling around the world and sharing these insights and crap is still hemorrhaging out of the dive community. This doesn't mean that you are going to single-handedly going to be the catalyst we've needed, but that I want instructors, agencies, and dive shops to start treating students like people and get the target off their wallets. I believe everyone has the right to make a living, but if the part of industry that is responsible for divers dying won't do anything about it, scuba is dead!

5/7/2017: UPDATE ~ https://vimeo.com/216437186
Vimeo: Why ‘human error’ is a poor term if we are to improve diving safety. NAUI ICUE

"Presentation given by Gareth Lock and NAUI's ICUE 2017 event held at the Long Beach Scuba Show, LA. This thought-provoking and controversial presentation will focus on the need to change attitudes to human error in diving. Using audience participation exercises and diving case studies, he will show that the factors that we attribute to incidents and accidents are only really visible after the event because we are biased with hindsight and know what the outcome was, therefore we are able to join the dots to create the incident. However, in many cases, divers are unaware of which dots to look for, let alone that they will create a picture once joined up. Fundamentally, if ‘human error’ or ‘diver error’ appears in the conclusion of an accident or incident report, the investigation stopped too early. He will go on to explain how training which he has developed by taking the lessons learned from aviation and healthcare can improve individual and team performance in diving, making it a safer sport."

            (my original video commentary)

#scuba #naui #humanfactors #TerrenceTysall #nauiICUE #HUMANinTHEsystem #humanfactorsskillsindiving #humanfactorsindiving #caveatemptor #garethlock

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Comment on, "Edgewater diver who drowned at Blue Spring still had air in tank" The deadly quarter turn back!

Yes! Always open the tank valve all the way...  NO quarter turns backwards. #scuba #tankvalve #noquarterturnback NAUI has this written in their literature for some reason, but I teach to not do this...

The deadly quarter turn back!

An Edgewater diver who drowned at Blue Spring State Park had plenty of air in his tank but, its air valve was only partly open, according to a report from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

By Frank Fernandez / frank.fernandez@news-jrnl.com

An Edgewater diver who drowned at Blue Spring State Park had plenty of air in his tank but its air valve was only partly open and he was not certified to dive as deep as he did, according to a report from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Samuel Slack, 36, drowned on Oct. 9 after he had a problem with his air supply and an attempt at buddy-breathing failed with his diving partner, Daniel Vansickle, 37, of New Smyrna Beach, according to reports. Slack "showed no signs of apparent or obvious injury" and the autopsy determined his death was an accidental drowning, the report states.

Keith Sterner, the owner of Sea Dog Dive Shop in New Smyrna Beach where Vansickle earned his open water and advanced certificate, said an out-of-air diver can quickly panic.

"It’s scary to see people panic," Sterner said. "You see grown men do things you wouldn’t think they’d do. A lot of times you can’t control someone in a panic and the best thing you can do is to save yourself."

Slack was the first diver to die at Blue Spring in Orange City since 2009 when Robert A. Jones, 38, of Zephyrhills drowned while "free diving" without air tanks.

Vansickle told investigators the men had been diving for several minutes and were about 80 feet deep when Slack made a "throat slash" gesture to show he was having trouble breathing, the report said. 

Vansickle said he passed his regulator to Slack so he could breathe from it. 

But when Vansickle motioned for the regulator’s return after about 30 seconds Slack held on to it, the report said. Vansickle told deputies he then pulled away from Slack, got control of the regulator and swam to the surface. 

Once he surfaced, Vansickle yelled for a maintenance person to call 9-1-1, then dove back down and found Slack motionless in about 100 feet of water, the report states.

Vansickle could not be reached for comment.

Vansickle worked with Slack’s wife, Krystal, at The Garlic restaurant in New Smyrna Beach and had known Samuel Slack for about a year and a half, the report said.

Slack’s tank had about 2,100 pounds of pressure/air, the report states. 

Corbin McKeon, an employee at Spruce Creek Scuba in Port Orange, said in a phone interview that depending on the type, tanks can hold from 3,000 to 3,500 pounds of air. 

Slack’s tank valve "only turned less than one quarter (1/4) of a turn to shut off, this is not a normal operating position," the sheriff’s report states. Another part of the report said it turned only a quarter turn. Sterner said he teaches students to open the valve all the way, which can take several turns, and then turn it back a half-turn. 

"If the valve isn’t open all the way, it can create labored breathing," Sterner said.

Slack had a novice open water diver card, meaning he was not certified to dive any deeper than 60 feet, the report states. Both Slack and Vansickle initialed a document at the park that they would not exceed the limit of the least certified of the two, meaning that they should not have exceeded the 60-foot depth.

Vansickle was certified as a cavern diver and his gear included an extra regulator to be used by a buddy to breath during an emergency. 

But the additional regulator was under the chest straps of Vansickle’s "buoyancy vest, making the regulator unavailable if needed," the report states.

Each man’s wrist-worn dive computer showed they dove to 116 feet to the bottom of the spring and remained there for about 2 minutes. 

They ascended to about 80 feet where both computers showed that they stopped for about a minute. 

Slack’s computer shows he then descended to 90 feet and remained there for 8 minutes, the report said. Then Slack "immediately" rose to the surface.

Vansickle’s computer shows the same depths and then Vansickle rising to the surface as Slack remained at 90 feet. 

The computer shows Vansickle immediately descending to 90 feet and then immediately returning to the surface. The computer information is consistent with Vansickle’s account and his decompression sickness.

An investigator tried to formally interview Vansickle, but on advice of his counsel "he refused to cooperate further during the investigation."

Looking for a Great Scuba Instructor is Like Looking for a Great Real Estate Appraisal

I currently have a student that is a real estate appraiser. He's been doing it since 2004. Today, we had an opportunity to talk about his business and how appraisals work. I found a lot of correlations between being a scuba diving instructor and an appraiser that I'm going to talk about in this blog.

I worked in the banking industry from 1996 to 2006 so I'm not unfamiliar with the appraisal process. During that time, as many of you might remember, home prices rose at an unprecedented rate! As all "bubbles" eventually burst, so did the housing market. 2008 was a bad year for home owners that needed the equity in their homes. Knowing how much a home is worth is dependent upon the real estate appraiser.

Contrary to common beliefs, appraisers go through a rigorous training process including a two year long apprenticeship. It's not just about spending time on the internet looking in the neighborhood for what others have sold their homes for, but for comparable upgrades, downgrades, landscaping, neighborhood conditions and many, many more aspects that are often unknown by the general public.

The appraiser is sometimes thought of as the "bad guy" because they are often the bearer of bad news. While experience creates consistency in the process and techniques an appraiser uses, once that foundation of experience exists, it can be counted upon to be consistent over time and not be compromised. In the process of buying and selling real estate, if someone wants to sell their home, in the end, it's only worth what someone is willing to pay. This "market value," especially today often comes at a premium to "appraised value" due to a lack in the supply of homes in areas well established without the land for new constructions.

Home buyers want values to come in low so that they pay less. Home sellers want their values to come in high as to make more money... All the while, banks want the value to come in where it should be as to minimize the risks involved in the fluctuating loan to value of said property. The appraiser's job is to be impartial so that everyone's best interests are insured, but the best interest of the economy is very important as well. Here are some similarities between the real estate appraisers and a scuba diving instructors I found fascinating.

When the consumer (prospective student) is ready to sign up for scuba diving lessons, often, one will do a search for and compare prices of lessons in the market they live in. Market prices sometimes influence what the dive shops (or independent instructors) can sell the lessons for. While prices vary in different parts of each respective town, they also vary from state to state, especially in land-locked states versus states (and to that extent, cities) that are near water.

One of the topics we talked about was the value of homes versus what people were paying for them. As home prices rise and availability decreases, buyers are often willing to pay more for a home than it's worth. Years ago, the purchase of a primary residence often meant that one would count on living there until the home was paid off, children were raised, moved out, off to college, etc. It is not unheard of that today's buyers will jump from home to home as they jump from job to job. Because of this, it is realistic to expect that the value of a home (a place to live, a place to raise a family, a place to retire to) -- the intangible investment that comes with home ownership -- is replaced by believing that a primary residence can be an investment vehicle! As what I expected would happen in 2008 saw my departure from the banking industry in 2006.

There is a preponderance of home buyers today, again are starting to believe that a primary residence makes a good financial investment. Family structures, career goals, financial goals, and changes in communities are occurring quicker the events that ran concurrently with home ownership that encompassed a traditional 30 year fixed-rate mortgage. In years past, home owners had time to wait out the highs and lows of market fluctuations. As the decades pass it was likely that one would expect a return on the cost of financing a home over a 30 year time frame. Today, there is little to no expectations that one will stay in a home for 30 years. Relatively speaking, it is unheard of! As lifestyles changes decrease from decades to years, so does the expectations of waiting out the tides of housing and financial markets.

Scuba once was an activity that took considerable more time to complete than the programs of today. The ability to choose from activities never before open to the general public that were few and far between, today are open to everyone. The instant gratification that comes from promises of learn today, dive tomorrow is because the industry created programs to meet "market" demand. The unfortunate side effect of speeding through an activity like scuba diving is that more drop out, more are less qualified, and more end up having to unlearn bad habits that might not have been learned in educational programs decades before.

There has been a movement in the industry to undervalue the price associated with learning how to scuba dive. While it is logical to conclude that when groups of students get larger and thus would influence the price of what each student pays, regrettably the prices have dropped but the cost of running the programs have not -- in fact they've gone up! What that means for the industry is that in order to finish the program and award certifications, programs that once had extensive training requirements and the months to learn, don't line up with today's students with limited time on their calendars. This means that programs ultimately became condensed and instructors took shortcuts. Programs that don't get the students in and out are thought of as outdated or inefficient.

While it is still possible to get adequate instruction at current market prices, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. It's no difference in real estate and it's especially true in scuba diving. It is reasonable to find that most dive shops will make so little profit on education that if it wasn't for equipment sales, they would no longer be in business. In order to maximize time and value, what ended up happening is that selling equipment became the priority and teaching became superfluous.

Value for services that are undervalued only result in one thing -- divers that don't know how to dive -- we are seeing it in today's students.

Here are some other correlations:
  • Banks want to pay less to appraisers in favor of "automated value models" (electronic appraisals)
  • Agencies become more receptive to e-learning and electronic methods of instruction

  • Real estate agents put pressures on appraisers for higher and unjustified values so commissions are higher
  • Dive shop owners put selling pressures on instructors to sell equipment as education doesn't have immediate or perceived value

  • When experienced appraisers (receiving higher compensation) leave the industry, less experienced appraisers settle for smaller paychecks just to get a job -- get into the industry
  • Dive shop owners pay less to their instructors due to increased operating costs, passing those expenses onto "up-and-coming" new instructors that settle for lower wages because of the touted "benefits" that come from working as a dive professional

  • As experienced appraisers leave the industry, newer inexperienced appraisers enter that may be manipulated by lenders and real estate agencies
  • As experienced instructors retire, they are replaced by younger instructors without the experiences that the wisdom of decades of diving and various situations brings

  • Home buyers are paying inflated home prices that are contrary to prudent financial planning because of the belief that the benefits of "home ownership" are greater than the actual costs (and savings) associated with renting
  • Dive shops entice prospective students into signing up with all inclusive (resort-style) training and pricing -- one low price that covers everything -- no investment in themselves as a diver that can't be continued upon returning home

  • State and Federal regulators are influenced by banks, lenders, and the real estate markets to approve riskier lending and financial products with questionable underwriting standards
  • Certifying agencies fail to hold their instructors accountable for failing to follow standards and training guidelines without repercussions because they are in the business of selling scuba, not making divers

Response to Cave Diver Harry's Facebook Post, "You may have noticed a couple things"


• While I’m often critical of certain common teaching practices that can have an adverse effect on the environment or diver enjoyment, I seldom (if ever) label a particular teaching methodology as “unsafe.”

That being said, it begs the question, "Are a preponderance of divers that are seen in these videos FROM a 'certain' agency?" If so, why does this correlation exist?

• I also never comment on actual incidents that may have resulted in diver injury or fatality.

As social animals, it is inevitable we want to know what happened and why... we slow down on the highway to rubberneck all the time. As far as the number of fatalities, while scuba is dangerous, so is: rock climbing, bungee jumping, hang gliding, skiing, auto racing, bicycling, football, horseback riding, polo... Zero fatalities would be great, but that is unrealistic.

There is something to be said about "accident analysis" that can be used to help us not make the same mistakes we did before. Accident analysis was part of my cave training and I find it an invaluable tool in all fields, not just scuba. We think we won't make the same mistakes we did before, they did, or make the mistakes poorly trained divers make. This is called "hindsight bias." Because we saw, read, heard about that kind of accident/fatality that we won't repeat it because we know about it, but it continues to happen...

• Why is that? It’s because our friends in the legal profession regularly cruise social media looking for ammunition they can use when suing dive instructors. And we are all paying for it.

I think the industry's insurance is expensive because insurace companies want to make mconey. To that extent, if instructors stop doing stupid shit, if fatalities fell into the category of freak accident, then scuba liability insurance might not be as expensive as it should be.

As I write in one of my blogs, I think that families pursuing financial compensation to activities their loved ones entered willingly is wrong as well. I've made it perfectly clear that in the event of my death while diving, no one should pursue legal actions. I fully accept the risks involved, I even understand that a few out there might even cut corners, however, I have done my due dilligence, I have made educated decisions, and I chose to go diving! If I die diving, I ONLY want to be remembered for the things I contributed to scuba, not the one mistake I made.

• I just got my bill for liability insurance for the coming year. As expected, it is going to be in excess of US$1,000. And even though this is nearly twice what I was paying just a few years ago, I’m not complaining. I’m just happy to be able to get it at all.

I think mine has doubled in the last 10 years too, however my automobile insurance has always gone up and I have no tickets, accidents, or claims. It is the cost I have to pay to drive.

Similarly, when I did my crossover from SSI to NAUI, my course director went over the costs of being an instructor. I never got that at SSI. If the instructor doesn't make a business plan setting dollars aside for unforseen repairs, annual dues, liability insurance, program supplies, to what extent do they expect to remain in business? Some do a better job of running a business as a business, while others insist on teaching for free or close to it. I will make money teaching scuba. I will not do it for free!

• The number of carriers willing to insure diver training have been steadily declining. It wouldn’t take much for it to simply become unavailable. If that happens, few of us are likely to be willing to teach scuba when the cost of doing so could be everything we own and everything we are likely to make for the balance of our lives.

If the insurance industry left us, wouldn't it be prudent for the certifying agents to create their own form of safeguards against potential damages? Perhaps union style dues? That money to be set aside like insurance monies are? Maybe even partner with everyone in the industry to work on legislation to cap claims on financial awards? We have attornies creating the liability releases... What is the purpose of those?

• So, by all means, keep posting about how “unsafe” you think certain instructors, dive operations or training agencies are. Keep playing armchair quarterback, passing judgement on recent fatalities about which you actually know very little.

That does make for an interesting dilemma. I don't recall industries evaporating because of people's opinions but I have seen how reviews from sites like yelp have impacted individual businesses... I see reviews two different ways. Are merchants providing the services the consumers are looking for which warrant only 5-Star reviews? Bringing to the industry and emphasizing what the consumer can expect... or, are the reviews a reflection of what has already happened in the industry -- the merchants have disenfranchised the consumer with expectations beyond what can actually be delivered? -- that everyone can become a diver this weekend.

Reviews also don't seem to turn the consumer away when others warm them of certain business practices. In all, I believe the relationships people develop with each other will be the greatest hedge against frivolous law suits. Integrity, trust, accountability, and respect are earned -- NOT GIVEN!

• It doesn’t matter that, in so doing, you may be contributing to the end of diver training as we know it. Because, when that happens, people will just teach themselves by watching videos like this on You Tube.

Perhaps, however mentors, artisans, masters, and the exceptionally skilled have always been sought out even when cultures might be moving in a different direction. The Socratic Method is a great way to teach and to learn.  I do have to say, I don't find a plethora of videos showing and criticizing GUE, IANTD, NSS-CDS, NAUI, TDI, BSAC, or even YMCA... I believe there is a reason for it.

Today's culture has strongly moved towards the inclusion of "everyone." In the workplace, education, social dynamics, and religion, I think this is a good thing. But, to include everyone in scuba is wrong. The primary reason is that many can't do it well enough to not hurt themselves. Sorry, but if it is likely you are going to kill yourself or others undergoing an activity, you should not do it and if your feelings are hurt when you don't get that c-card, too bad. I will not award anyone a certification card just because they paid for training.

Thank you for the continued perspectives, Harry!

Friday, May 26, 2017

My "Oscar" just got taken away from me! However, its happened to me 10 times... #scuba #yelp #oscars #jcaelitescuba

Real People. Real Reviews

My "Oscar" just got taken away from me!

However, its happened to me 10 times...


The link above is where you can find my primary yelp review for my business, JCA Elite Scuba. I've been in business since around October of 2013 although I've been teaching since 2008 and diving since 2006. Scuba is fun! It is also incredibly rewarding to see someone do something they never have before. When they get it, a world opens up to them that still many can never appreciate. With that said, when one of these people go out of their way to write a review and then an "algorithm" decides that it doesn't meet preconceived notions of quality, character, content, or even legitimacy, then it really is the machine writing the review.

Yelp states, "We get millions of reviews from our users, so we use automated software to recommend the ones that are most helpful for the Yelp community. The software looks at dozens of different signals, including various measures of quality, reliability, and activity on Yelp. The process has nothing to do with whether a business advertises on Yelp or not. The reviews that currently don't make the cut are listed below and are not factored into this business's overall star rating."

The reality of this is that the software was written by people as were the reviews. A software engineer can never be impartial unless they are writing a random number generator program. Even then, when the software is an industry "trade secret," a level of personal bias cannot be disproved. There are other entities that collect customer's reviews of their experiences without "sanitizing" them before revealing them to the public for their safety.

Anyway, here is what I've got hidden in the section called, "Reviews for JCA Elite Scuba that are not currently recommended." They follow with, "Note: The reviews below are not factored into the business's overall star rating," however that doesn't make me feel any better about having the reviews hidden from the general public.

Kamel B. HIllsboro, OR

Kamel B.
Hillsboro, OR
1 friend
4 reviews
5.0 star rating 5/24/2017

You'll rarely see an instructor with Carlos' level of passion and focus. Very knowledgeable and you'll end up learning more than what you expect.

Liset L. San Diego, CA
Liset L.
San Diego, CA
1 friend
1 review
5.0 star rating 4/23/2016

I don't dive myself, but I referred my sister to Carlos to learn scuba. I took his snorkeling class because I wanted to be more comfortable in the water It was great watching my sister learn how to do all that stuff. I've known Carlos for a really long time. When he became a scuba diving instructor, I thought he was crazy but he's really happy!. Carlos makes sure the ones you love are safe, well trained, and have lots of fun. I bought my sister scuba lessons for graduating from college and we went to Cozumel to celebrate! We had the best time. The best part is he flew to San Diego to teach us and on our schedule! If you want to learn to scuba or snorkel, I highly recommend Carlos to teach you.

Dmitriy G. Newark, NJ
Dmitriy G.
Newark, NJ
5 friends
11 reviews 1 photo 5.0 star rating 8/20/2015 Updated review

Came back for four more dives this year. Carlos' business is just as good as it was last year and this time others came along. Everything was planned for ahead of time and he had some excitement in store. A tour of the area included deeper dives to deeper boats with a lot of animal life there. I was surprised to see that much life and how comfortable they were with us being around them.

On the way back he stopped us on the rising slope back towards the shore to show us this amazing green glow. The water was exceptionally bright and clear and we could see the silhouette of the fish we swam by earlier. We did a deep stop, something I didn't learn about in my training back East and then we continued.

We spent more time looking under rocks and hiding places for some of the smallest animals that I missed on the way down. Some of the most amazing colors and shapes, too.

The water was warmer than my two dives in Clear Lake last year, so we didn't have to rush to get out of the water. After I did my safety stop, Carlos helped me work on my buoyancy in the 10-15 foot range. I didn't think of it until later, but it took more concentration and relaxation.

Last year I came to do two dives at Clear Lake when I only had a little over 50 dives. Now I have over 100 and am really appreciating the patience, coaching, and reflection of a good dive instructor . Go see Carlos. I guarantee you will leave having learned something new and be a better diver for it. (the yelp system wouldn't let me post again to the same business, so this is an update from last year. I gave him five stars last year too. I hope this moves to the front page where it belong!)

5.0 star rating 8/4/2015 Previous review

Juan Carlos Aguilar with JCA Elite Scuba did an excellent job providing safe and memorable 2 tank diving. I've always wanted to go there, so when I found the opportunity to go, I did. I came all the way from Newark, NJ. Very satisfied. Awesome dive.

Dino F. Vancouver, WA
Dino F.
Vancouver, WA
0 friends
1 review
5.0 star rating 1/6/2015

I found out about JCA Elite Scuba through Yelp, and I am glad I did! His prices are absolutely the most competitive. He was extremely helpful in choosing equipment for purchase depending on the type of diving you plan to do as well as how often you plan to dive. I had a tight schedule, and Carlos found a way to squeeze me in private lessons last minute so that I was certified in time for my trip to Belize. He was very knowledgable and patient - and above all emphasis on safety. Carlos Is a Master Instructor and an elite scuba diving educator who, through dedication and hard work, exemplifies what it means to be a scuba diving professional through his teaching efforts and professional conduct. That's why I am giving him my highest rating, Nine thumbs up!

Jack D. Portland, OR
Jack D.
Portland, OR
0 friends
2 reviews
5.0 star rating 12/16/2014

Patient, knowledgeable and flexible. Was so worth it too pay a little extra and get an instructor that really knows what he's doing. Totally accommodating with my crazy schedule. Had a great time and met some cool new people.

Alex B. Portland, OR
Alex B.
Portland, OR
0 friends
1 review
5.0 star rating 10/28/2014

Great instructor who takes a personalized approach to the needs of every student. Carlos goes above and beyond the certification requirements to ensure every person he trains is safe, comfortable and knowledgeable diver. He is also a cool person to dive with for fun. At any time.

Bill F. Scapposses, OR
Bill F.
Scappoose, OR
0 friends
1 review
5.0 star rating 10/25/2014

I took my Nitrox Certification course and test with Carlos. He was very friendly, knowledgeable and professional. I met with Carlos at a local coffee shop along with a small group of peers and we learned about diving with Nitrox and received all the information, over coffee, to pass the test. Four weeks later I had about 18 nitrox dives under my belt. Thanks to Carlos I am a competent Nitrox diver and am confident in testing and using nitrox while diving. When I had questions about my dive computer a few days after the course he came to my house and answered them with a hands on tutorial and even identified a problem with my gear when I was showing it to him. Thanks to Carlos I was safer and more knowledgeable for my trip overseas that month!

Pick up the phone or email Carlos and set up an appointment to meet. You may even make a friend.

Tyler B. Salem, OR
Tyler B.
Salem, OR
0 friends
1 review
5.0 star rating 10/25/2014

My experience with Carlos at JCA Elite Scuba was fantastic! The personal one-on-one training he gives makes JCA the BEST way to go. I have never met anyone as passionate about anything than Carlos and his love for diving. He is eager to answer any and all questions and will stop at nothing to make sure you succeed as a diver trainee. He made the whole experience very comfortable for me and was flexible with the days we met for instruction and even offered me a payment plan. His business doesn't put profit first, it puts YOU first. I have invited so many of my friends to learn to dive and the person I recommend for the instruction is Carlos at JCA Elite Scuba! I can't wait to dive with my friend Carlos in the near future! And, thanks Bill for the referral!

Thomas O. Hillsboro, OR
Thomas O.
Hillsboro, OR
0 friends
4 reviews
5.0 star rating 10/25/2014

Carlos is a fantastic instructor-- He places great emphasis on safety and comfort in the water, critical to enjoyment underwater.. His classes are more in-depth than your typical dive shop class but the investment is well worth it in terms of the quality of the training and your comfort underwater.

His passion for diving and teaching compels me to achieve more and gain as much experience as I can. You can feel his love for this sport and IT IS INFECTIOUS!! Carlos also has deep respect for sea life and the ocean and it's preservation.

In terms of logistics, I would like to say say that Carlos is very accommodating with schedules and open to changes.

I did my training with Carlos for Master Diver and gained invaluable knowledge during the training. Carlos has a way of instruction that not only imparts his knowledge but gives you the confidence to obtain your goals, while maintaining the highest level of safety.

From adult to children, Carlos and JCA Elite scuba can provide a tailored program of instruction. Carlos is the only instructor i trusteed to teach my son his open water certification. Now with almost 25 dives under his belt, Carlos and JCA Elite scuba will be the only choice for his advanced training.

Even after the class sessions Carlos often offers up his own time to invite new divers to join him for fun! JCA Elite Scuba always has some type of organized dive being offered to keep people diving and meet new friends and dive buddies.

With a great attitude, uber-professionalism and a passion for diving, Carlos and JCA Elite scuba is your best option for dive training in Portland/Vancouver and surrounding area.

Lesley C. Portland, OR
Lesley C.
Portland, OR
0 friends
2 reviews
5.0 star rating 12/8/2013

Finally conquered my drysuit! JCA Elite is the best show in town! I can't say enough about what a difference it makes to have individualized instruction tailored to your particular circumstances. Plus, I feel like I've gained a friend as well as a patient and knowledgeable instructor. The only problem I have now is whether or not to learn navigation techniques or night diving next. Two fins up!

Scuba Review, Refresher, and Evaluation Program for Divers Out of Practice

If you would like to take an "educational only" version of this course, I offer the online text, quizes, final exam, and review of the contents within the "Solo Diving" educational presentation. A certificate of completion is awarded after your completion.

There is no diving involved, but there is a lot of good material to read through and add to your skills set. It can even help you to become a better dive buddy!

Lastly, as a special gift to you, you'll get a personalized  evaluation of your current diving experiences and practices which we'll create a plan of action for your future diving goals and ambitions.

Take a sneak peak, here: https://jcaelitescuba.com/solo/e-learning/ch1-intro.htm

This certificate is not recognized by SDI, other certifying agencies, or myself as a "Solo Diving," "Scuba Diving," "Open Water," "Specialty," or "Ranking" program. Completion of this certificate program cannot be applied toward the SDI Solo Diving Course. I am offering these insights to solely improve your mindset as a diver especially if your skills have degraded or if you feel your existing certification left out a lot of the education on situational awareness, gas management, and risk assessment.

#scuba #scubarefresher #scubaupdate #scubaskills #solodiver

Thursday, May 25, 2017

ONLY 2 SPOTS LEFT ON TRUTH AQUATICS LIVEABOARD...!!! July 31, 2017 to August 3, 2017 #scuba #truthaquatics #liveaboard

July 31, 2017 to August 3, 2017
Channel Islands Liveaboard

$795 $200 saves your spot All food included Bunk/sleep on the boat Air fills included (Nitrox is $6 per fill) 4-5 dives a day including night dives About Truth Aquatics http://truthaquatics.net/about/ Photos http://truthaquatics.net/about/photos/ FAQ http://truthaquatics.net/trips-general-information/faq/ Friends and fellow students went on this boat last year and they say it was AMAZING...!!! Incredible animal life, warm 64 degree water (hehehehe) and lots of diving. BONUS FOR STUDENTS OF JCA ELITE SCUBA GOING ON THIS TRIP If you are not Nitrox and Night certified, I will do a Nitrox and Night Diving courses for you for only $50 -- TOTAL. If you are going to do 15 dives, you'll get a lot more bottom time and it's always a good idea to minimize nitrogen loading on repetitive deep dives. You can't miss out on all the cool night time critters, either. If things go as planned, I will be driving, probably arriving the night before. We will rent a cheap motel room for everyone to crash just until we board. More info to follow. This trip is being organized by Thunder Reef Divers but I will be leading the trip. Join me and lets show them how great NAUI divers are. --carlos #scuba #truthaquatics #liveaboard #diveboat #channelislands #scubadiving


Read Kamel B.'s review of JCA Elite Scuba on Yelp

"You'll rarely see an instructor with Carlos' level of passion and focus.
Very knowledgeable and you'll end up learning more than what you expect."


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Response post to, Cave Diver Harry: "Every dive is a solo dive."

Response post to, "Cave Diver Harry: "Every dive is a solo dive."


I agree that every dive is a decompression dive. Just because one off gasses at 1 atmosphere instead of 4, 3, 2, etc... are just semantics...


Every dive is a solo dive; I disagree! Semantics aside, one can dive with a buddy or not dive with a buddy. In only but a few set of unique circumstances would separation from one's buddy occur, but then it would be just until those moments later reunited underwater or on the surface -- but being in the same ocean but too far apart to be of assistance is a choice. 

The choice to pick up your cellphone while driving or to drive faster than conditions allow that result in injury or death are labeled "accidents;" something happening out of our control or ability to prevent -- but the reality of it is, you don't have to text and drive and slow down when it's raining/snowing/icy...

So, just because the inevitable happens -- poorly trained divers get separated -- that is an excuse. 

Training on diving with buddies is just about non-existent as is diving in large groups. That is an instructional issue first, then followed by the lack of experience. The two greatest culprits in separated buddy teams are buoyancy issues and the flutter kick!

If you're buoyant, you are where you are in the water column and one is not chasing after another or seeing them floating off to the surface like a helium-filled balloon. The second, slow down. Flutter kick has the expectation of always having to have forward momentum. Consider the modified flutter or modified frog kick. Just enough momentum to move one forward and when you stop, you remain neutrally buoyant.

I dive in the PNW in sometimes zero visibility. When I am with a student, I prefer them on my left so if needed I can reach out and put my hand on their bcd or finger through a d-ring in order to stay in contact. When they are on my left, they are also able to still operate all their equipment without feeling that their dive buddy is crowding their space while still having unrestricted access to their inflator and SPG...

Lastly, situational awareness! You have it or you don't. Consider watching this: 


I tell students to keep your eyes on the road in front of them. Stop thinking like you're still on land. One can only see directly in front of you with direct line of site so if you have to helicopter to find your dive buddy, you're too far away... with just a turn of your head, your dive buddy should be there!

[ On the extreme side of the training I do, "SDI Solo Divers" and technical dive training get the situational awareness beaten into them... boot camp style -- break them down to build them up again... Yes, the solo diver course means one will dive alone, but the dive is planned that way, then dive that way -- no "accidental" separation... While I believe in diving with teams on tech dives, due to ceilings or deco obligations, I also train for contingencies that reduce the risk of two victims... those variables can include (but doesn't have to) one diver finishing their obligations and leaving bottles hanging for others to continue in water emergency decompression, but again, these are in extreme cases, not recreational divers that get lost like kids in Wal-Mart! ]

Monday, May 22, 2017

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF IS DEAD, but not as we know it... yet

"It's dead Jim...!!!" Well, but not as we know it. I'm a doctor, not a marine biologist.

#GBR #scuba #GreatBarrierReef #CoralReefs #OceanConservation


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Raja Ampat - best diving in the world

#scuba #rajaampat #scubadiving #divedestinations #indonesia #jcaelitescuba I'M SAVING MONEY STARTING THIS SECOND AND GOING HERE...!!!

Dive sites on Koh Tao Island, Thailand being damaged by divers (SSI Inst...

This is an SSI (Scuba School International) Dive Shop and those are their instructors!  https://youtu.be/sdHq2JPKDOo

Roctopus Dive - Koh Tao, Thailand at https://www.roctopusdive.com/

#SSI #KohTao #Thailand #CoralReefs #OceanConservation

music: Gymnopedie_No_3.mp3 at http://freemusicarchive.org

#scuba #scubadiving #ScubaSchoolsInternational

"Sea lion eats little girl in front of onlookers..." ADVICE POSTED IN BLOG

"Sea lion eats little girl in front of onlookers. 4 from crowd injured in maylay to be the first to upload and monetize video."

For licensing and permission to use, please email: wildanimals@willeatyou.com


#scuba #sealion #wildanimals #dontfeedwildanimals #viralvideo #STFU

My advice as a scuba instructor that dives with wild animals, "Don't feed them...!!!"

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Truth Aquatics Liveaboard Scuba Diving July 31 to August 3, 2017 Channel Islands

July 31 to August 3, 2017

Our Truth Aquatics trip still has a few spots still open. It is now open to anyone, even if not local... For all that are already signed up, we just don't want it to be cancelled.

#ChannelIslands #TruthAquatics #ScubaDiving #Liveaboard #SantaCatalina #CatalinaIsland #Catalina #scuba #California  #CaliforniaDivers

$200 saves your spot
All food included
Bunk/sleep on the boat
Air fills included (Nitrox is $6 per fill)
4-5 dives a day including night dives

About Truth Aquatics



Friends and fellow students went on this boat last year and they say it was AMAZING...!!! Incredible animal life, warm 64 degree water (hehehehe) and lots of diving.


If you are not Nitrox and Night certified, I will do a Nitrox and Night Diving courses for you for only $50 -- TOTAL. If you are going to do 15 dives, you'll get a lot more bottom time and it's always a good idea to minimize nitrogen loading on repetitive deep dives. You can't miss out on all the cool night time critters, either. 

If things go as planned, I will be driving from the PNW, probably arriving the night before. We will rent a cheap motel room for everyone to crash just until we board. More info to follow. 

This trip is being organized by Thunder Reef Divers but I will be leading the trip. Join me and lets show them how great NAUI divers are.


My Amazon Affiliate Store is OPEN...!!! Please come visit it and take a look around. Diving & Snorkeling. Swimwear. Underwater Photography.

My Amazon Store Is Open...!!!

I'm featuring Diving & Snorkeling, Swimwear, and Underwater Photography.

Come check it out at http://astore.amazon.com/jcaelitescuba-20/about

#scuba #scubadiving #amazon #amazonaffiliatestore #amazonaffilate #diving #snorkeling #swimwear #underwaterphotography

Friday, May 19, 2017

May 18, 2017 | ANOTHER DIVER ON A REBREATHER DIES | "Devon diver died after plummeting 60 metres to the ocean floor without his breathing apparatus on"


May 18, 2017, at: http://www.devonlive.com/devon-diver-died-after-plummeting-60-metres-to-the-ocean-floor-without-his-breathing-apparatus-on/story-30340313-detail/story.html

"Devon diver died after plummeting 60 metres to the ocean floor without his breathing apparatus on"

"Commenting on what might have happened, Mr Culwick said his opinion, given Mr Ring's "confusion" on the surface and his inability to clip his equipment on, was that he had a "significant medical event or succumbed to carbon dioxide poisoning"


I've know about rebreathers since I started my technical dive training. However, in my opinion, most divers are not ready to use them. To give an analogy, most fighter jets can out perform the pilot. Human physiology is such that our physical and mental limitation result in too many stressors are placed on the mind and body.

I believe the technology is fantastic, however, people make mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes a diver can make is diving beyond the scope of their training. While a preponderance of rebreather divers are trained on the machine they use, any deviation from the way it should be used can result in injury or death. 

For me, having a machine that requires that much work seems contrary to the benefits of using one. My deepest dive on the USS Monitor to 241fsw was on open circuit. While there were divers that completed their dives on closed circuit systems, the initial costs, training, ongoing utilization, and maintenance just seem to be greater than the benefit a rebreather could really benefit me for the amount of deep water dives with extended decompression obligations.

The abstract below claims that rebreather deaths may be as high as 1 in 100 users. 1% is a crazy high number. Recreational scuba diver deaths are far, far lower. 

"Rebreather deaths occurred at about 10 times the rate of deaths amongst open-circuit recreational scuba divers."

"Closed-circuit rebreathers have a 25-fold increased risk of component failure compared to a manifolded twin-cylinder open-circuit system."



Format: AbstractSend to Diving Hyperb Med. 2013 Jun;43(2):78-85.
Analysis of recreational closed-circuit rebreather deaths 1998-2010.

Department of Intensive Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, The Alfred Hospital, Victoria, Australia. a.fock@alfred.org.au


Since the introduction of recreational closed-circuit rebreathers (CCRs) in 1998, there have been many recorded deaths. Rebreather deaths have been quoted to be as high as 1 in 100 users.

Rebreather fatalities between 1998 and 2010 were extracted from the Deeplife rebreather mortality database, and inaccuracies were corrected where known. Rebreather absolute numbers were derived from industry discussions and training agency statistics. Relative numbers and brands were extracted from the Rebreather World website database and a Dutch rebreather survey. Mortality was compared with data from other databases. A fault-tree analysis of rebreathers was compared to that of open-circuit scuba of various configurations. Finally, a risk analysis was applied to the mortality database.

The 181 recorded recreational rebreather deaths occurred at about 10 times the rate of deaths amongst open-circuit recreational scuba divers. No particular brand or type of rebreather was over-represented. Closed-circuit rebreathers have a 25-fold increased risk of component failure compared to a manifolded twin-cylinder open-circuit system. This risk can be offset by carrying a redundant 'bailout' system. Two-thirds of fatal dives were associated with a high-risk dive or high-risk behaviour. There are multiple points in the human-machine interface (HMI) during the use of rebreathers that can result in errors that may lead to a fatality.

While rebreathers have an intrinsically higher risk of mechanical failure as a result of their complexity, this can be offset by good design incorporating redundancy and by carrying adequate 'bailout' or alternative gas sources for decompression in the event of a failure. Designs that minimize the chances of HMI errors and training that highlights this area may help to minimize fatalities.

deaths; diving accidents; rebreathers/closed circuit; safety; technical diving

PMID: 23813461

[Indexed for MEDLINE]



Fatality rates of 16.4 deaths per 100,000 persons per year among DAN America members and 14.4 deaths per 100,000 persons per year the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) members were similar and did not change during 2000-2006. This is comparable with jogging (13 deaths per 100,000 persons per year) and motor vehicle accidents (16 deaths per 100,000 persons per year), and within the range where reduction is desirable by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) criteria,[3]

Data for 17 million student-diver certifications during 63 million student dives over a 20-year period from 1989-2008 show a mean per capita death rate of 1.7 deaths per 100,000 student divers per year. This was lower than for insured DAN members during 2000-2006 at 16.4 deaths per 100,000 DAN members per year, but fatality rate per dive is a better measure of exposure risk, A mean annual fatality rate of 0.48 deaths per 100,000 student dives per year and 0.54 deaths per 100,000 BSAC dives per year and 1.03 deaths per 100,000 non-BSAC dives per year during 2007. The total size of the diving population is important for determining overall fatality rates, and the population estimates from the 1990s of several million U.S. divers need to be updated.[3]


various articles and information on diving fatalities and training issues

DAN: Divers Alert Network, Recreational Diving Fatalities, Workshop proceedings, April 8-10, 2010, Richard D. Vann, Ph.D., at:

For an analysis of why divers die, please read: "Why Divers Die," Chapter 34 of Diving Medicine for SCUBA Divers at http://www.divingmedicine.info/Ch%2034%20SM10c.pdf 

Additionally, one may choose to look into the "Human Factors of Diving" at: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/xmlui/handle/123456789/6474

"Human Factors in Diving Accidents in Pools" at: 

Dive Training Magazine: July 2012, Editorials: Addressing the Issue of Diver Competence, Text by Alex Brylske, at: https://jcaelitescuba.com/articles/Address-the-Issue-of-Diver-Competence.htm

Diver Magazine: January 21, 2014, Dive Training Today: A Perspective, An industry and training veteran says a poorly trained diver is a dropout statistic waiting to happen. Are you one of them? Do you agree?, Text by Bret Gilliam, at: https://jcaelitescuba.com/articles/Dive-Training-Today-A-Perspective.htm


Here are some results from a web search for "diver dies rebreather"







#scuba #rebreather #scubadeaths #scubainjuries #rebreatherdeaths #rebreatherinjuries #trainingstandards

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Endangered Species Day 2017 #EndangeredSpeciesDay #togetherpossible

Endangered Species Day is Friday, May 19, 2017

#scuba #EndangeredSpeciesDay #togetherpossible #hawksbillturtle #stellarsealion #vaquita #bluewhale #frasersdolphin #rightwhale #greenturtle #narwhal #seaotter #bluefintuna #sawfish #polarbear #whaleshark

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Troy Springs Incident shared from Lake Hickory Scuba

Please watch and comment...
#scuba #DivePlanning #OverheadEnvironment #DontPanic

Diver almost runs out of air doing safety stop. Comments...

Please watch and comment

#OOA #scuba #GasManagement #DivePlanning


JCA Elite Scuba: Portland, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Hillsboro Oregon, and Vancouver Washington

15875 Boones Ferry Rd #2397
Lake Oswego, OR 97035


#scuba #ScubaDiving #ScubaDivingLessons #LearntoScubaDive #PortlandOR #VancouverWA #LakeOswegoOR #WestLinnOR

Learn to scuba dive with JCA Elite Scuba. Private Scuba Diving Lessons on your schedule. Completely flexible scheduling. Scuba, refresher courses, referrals, solo diver, and technical dive training.

"Every dive is a dream come true..."

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Follow up to "John... Shuts Down the FCC..." IT WASN'T COLBERT... IT WAS...

#colbert #colbertreport #waitforit @StephenAtHome #stevencolbert #StephenAtHome @jimmykimmel #jimmykimmel


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day Special ~ Reward Mom with Scuba Diving Lessons


Mother's Day Special ~ Reward Mom with Scuba Diving Lessons                              

Anyone that pays for an "Open Water Traveler," "Open Water Diver," or "Open Water Specialist" program today will get $100 off the regular price! Once you make your payment, there is no expiration date so your Mom can take the course at any time. As a special gift to moms, any children or grandchildren joining them can also take $100 off their certification. Call 503-935-2698 or e-mail me at carlos@jcaelitescuba.com to sign up today.

#scuba #scubadivinglessons #mothersday #mothersday2017 #happymothersday #PortlandOR #VancouverWA

Critical thought on scuba diving from various videos

#scuba #scubadiving #criticalthinking #safedivingpractices #learntoscubadive

Learning to scuba dive is not difficult, however learning to be situationally aware, manage your equipment, communicate with your dive buddy, and return safely to the shore or deck of the boat is something else. Watch these videos and change your perspective on typical scuba diving education.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Good buoyancy skills and techniques are easy! Here are some things to co...

Good buoyancy skills and techniques are easy! Here are some things to consider...

#buoyancytechniques #buoyancyskills #goodbuoyancy #buoyancy #flailing #stopflailing #neutralbuoyancyturtle #howtoimprovebuoyancy

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Who's the Barber Here? Don't know what this means? I've love to tell you...

#whosthebarberhere Who's the Barber Here? Don't know what this means? I've love to tell you... Just Ask!

It's very important.

There is a video that goes along with this: https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-li...



Thank you very much!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour this Sunday...!!!

#finbert #mothersday #daylightsavings #mothersday2017 #kimmel

NAUI Scuba Rescue Diver and Advanced Rescue Diver information... Sign Up NOW

NAUI Scuba Rescue Diver DVD (section 1 of 4)

NAUI Scuba Rescue Diver DVD (section 2 of 4)

NAUI Scuba Rescue Diver DVD (section 3 of 4)

NAUI Scuba Rescue Diver DVD (section 4 of 4)

#rescuediver #nauirescuediver #advancedrescuediver


Learn how to manage risks and effectively handle limited in-water problems and diving emergencies, how to assist and transport divers, and how to perform surface rescues and rescues from depth involving both boat and shore based skin and scuba divers.

CPR and First Aid certifications are required to complete this course. Your Rescue Scuba Diver training moves you on your pathway to becoming a NAUI Leader as a Skin Diving Instructor, Assistant Instructor, Divemaster, or Instructor.

Consider NAUI's Advanced Scuba Rescue Diver
Check out the course standards, here:


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Scuba diving certification in Portland, Vancouver, and the Pacific Northwest. Flexible and independent instruction on your schedule.

JCA Elite Scuba instructs recreational and technical divers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Choosing the best certification is easy. Look for a program that lets you set the schedule, take as long as you want, and an instructor that gives personal and individualized attention. 

Even if your time is limited, safe, complete, and flexible instruction will always be the first priority. That's what I do! Join me and learn to dive, refresher your skills, or take your training to the next level. I want you to become a great diver and have experiences that will last you a lifetime! Offering Snorkeling, Refresher Courses, Scuba Diving, and Technical Diving Training. 

Now offering SDI's Solo Diver Course

Be sure to check out my Facebook page for trips, events, gatherings, camp-outs, and activities aw well as my YouTube Channel for awesome videos on diving, education, and the underwater world.

"Every dive is a dream come true..."

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JCA Elite Scuba

Call 503-935-2698 or email me to today to sign up