Friday, December 19, 2014

Redundant Breathing Systems... Confidence... the next step...

  Recreational diving and technical diving used to be a lot closer in the activities performed. Diving was done by a select few that were very well trained. They dove a lot and practiced their skills, including the emergency skills on a regular basis. One of the biggest myths in scuba diving is that you can run out of air underwater. As discussed in a previous blog, running out of air, unless done on purpose, seldom happens, and as I expressed, "you cannot run out of air." Please read the blog to find out why... Even so, basic scuba divers learn at least a couple of emergency techniques to deal with out of air situations. The emergency buoyant ascent and the emergency swimming ascent are two. A controlled emergency swimming ascent is part of every scuba diver's open water training. The question you have to ask yourself is, "do I remember how to do it?" Look up "s-drill."
As a NAUI dive instructor, I teach my students to be good dive buddies. Nonetheless, just because you are in the same ocean as your buddy, doesn't mean they will be in arms reach if you ever run out of air. Sharing air with a buddy is the prefered method to ascend safely to the surface. 

Most certification agencies don't encourage "solo diving." As a diver with technical experience, I understand that a technical dive is a solo dive. Technical divers plan accordinly and often follow decompression schedules that means they are required to stop at different depths. That being said, each diver on a technical dive site may not be able to exit the water together, so sharing air to the surface is problematic. Technical divers also plan for the worst case scenario and bring what they need to resolve those issues at depth. Recreational divers plan that in a worst case scenario, they've got to get to the surface.
Until you are ready to start your technical training, there are things that you can do to better manage your gas. You can follow a "rule of thirds." This might not be your best option unless you are diving with a very large cylinder. Most divers want to get the most time out of every dive and leaving a third of your gas in the cylinder usually means shorter dives. You can learn to manage your air consumption. Yes, your air consumption usually gets better over time, but how much air you are consuming on your dive is only part of gas management. The time to a site, time on a site, and the time to return to the shore are also part of it. Those takes time to learn and lots of dives to master.
There have been divers that jokingly have asked me if I was going to run out of air. They see the extra cylinder I regularly dive with and wonder what that's all about. When I do dives, I don't plan on running out of air, and while I have never had an equipment failure nor an out of air emergency, it could happen.

Divers carrying redundent breathing system can develop a level of confidence beyond emergency skills. I've seen it. I believe that the diver should be as confident even without the RBS. Look at it this way, if your dive buddy isn't near enough and there is an issue, you can be your own buddy and make your ascent safely and slowly, breathing all the while. 

If you don't dive with an RBS, have you been mentally rehearsing those skills and going over the maneuvers and procedures on a regular basis? One of my newest students demonstrated his confidence on a dive at Clear Lake. His regulator free flowed and he did exactly what he was supposed to. We shared air to the surface. He was totally cool during the whole procedure.

Likewise, one can't say that just because you have the equipment, that using it effectively is going to happen, either. Just like emergency skills, RBS skills need to be practiced. Ascents with and RBS have to be practiced. A few of my students have shared a confidence they didn't know before diving with their RBS. If they ever were on their own, they don't feel that the lack of a dive buddy is a danger. 

So, are you going to fork out a couple hundred extra dollars (minimum) for equipment you'll never use? The purpose of owning it is for emergency purposes, but owning it alone might not reduce any of the risks of diving. In fact, I was recently made aware of a change in policy requiring an RBS on a particular dive site. This dive site had a regular policy that an RBS was required in order to participate. Being an instructor myself, the dive guide felt comfortable sharing some of what they saw. Untrained in its use precipitated to several divers actually running out of air. While no injuries occurred, they could have. The common mistakes included: the diver starting the dive out on the smaller cylinder; switching to the redundant cylinder to extend bottom time; and in one instance, even completing the dive on the redundant cylinder because they interpreted, "returning to the surface with 500psi in the tank on their back," meaning that at 500psi the diver must switch to their redundant cylinder. 

If you want to learn more about the RBS and learn how to use it, let me teach you how.




Sunday, December 14, 2014

An SPG is not always an SPG...

When I teach my beginning open water scuba diving course, one of the things we talk about during the educational portion are the myths associated with scuba diving.
One of the biggest myths is that, "you can run out of air underwater." Here is why the perpetuation of this myth is unfounded. Unless it is your goal to actually breath all of the air out of the scuba cylinder, we will contend that no one wants to run out of air. As a NAUI Instructor, I promote diving with a buddy until the time comes that your training provides you with the requisites to attempt diving on your own. Solo diving will be left for another discussion.
So, what do I mean with that statement. Let's look at the SPG. The submersible pressure gauge is a tool used to aid the diver determine how much air is left in the cylinder. Believe it or not, there was a time when divers did not use pressure gauges. The scuba cylinder had a valve on it that when in the "off" position, left a little bit of air in the cylinder. Once the diver felt the resistance of getting low on air or ran out, they pulled a lever which opened the valve the rest of the way providing them the additional air required for an ascent. As you can imagine, the "J" valve fell out of favor. If the lever was in the "on" position all along and unbeknownst to the diver when they pulled the lever and there was no air, their only options were buddy breathing (one regulator, two divers) or an emergency ascent to the surface.
So, what do I teach my students. I teach them that, "you will never run out of air." When I say this to them, I ask them to tell me what they think that means. I usually get two interpretations. The first is that this diver, the one I teaching at this moment will not run out of air. As if they have a technique that makes it possible for them to survive underwater without needing to breath. Well, we know that can't happen. No one has that ability. Next, I hear that the diver believes that there is so much air in the scuba cylinder that it will never run out -- that it will never become empty. Well, as we know, that is not true either. It is possible for the cylinder to be breathed down to nothing and it is possible for all the air to escape from the cylinder (accidentally or on purpose).
This is what I teach. The SPG tells the diver how much gas is in the cylinder at that particular moment. Has anyone ever told you that all SPG's have a margin of error? Some more than others, but usually a few percentage points. Electronic pressure gauges are the same but the margin of error is higher. That's something to keep in mind. Also, just because the SPG reads 3,000psi doesn't mean there is 3,000psi in the cylinder. Most divers check the SPG when assembling their gear, but what about the moment they enter the water and after the cylinder cools? What about once you reach your desired depth or dive site? What would it mean if you looked at the SPG and it still read 3,000psi? What about 300psi? If you develop confidence as your dive career progresses, you should be able to look at it and determine that it is not working properly, tell your buddy, and swim safely and surely to the surface.
Mechanical failures are rare. Even when they do happen, what the diver does then can make the difference between life and death. Divers learn to never hold their breath, ascend slowly, and some even learn to relax well enough to extend bottom times and improve their buoyancy. Learning about air consumption rates, where you are, being ever present and aware of your equipment and your environment usually takes a little longer.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Two great dives with Callie Renfro

132fsw for 45 minutes
142fsw for 43 minutes

No deco, all NDL

New depth limits for Callie. She did great.

Sunrise Motel & Dive Resort
Hoodsport, WA

jca elite scuba, private lessons, flexible scheduling, naui, learn to scuba dive, portland, oregon, vancouver, washington

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Charging volunteers a fee to help clean up the environment

Charging volunteers a fee to help clean up the environment... Really?

Is volunteering done out of the kindness of one's heart or one's wallet? Do we volunteer to make the world a better place even if there is no return on our investment? I do...!!! There is a difference when that fee buys food, drinks, and pays for the costs associated with renting a campsite -- when it is all spent on the activity.


I just found a flyer for a dive shop that charged volunteers $20 to come pick trash out of a local lake. The volunteers did get a sandwich lunch and soda. What was not included: parking ($10/day or $30/year); air fills ($5-10); rental equipment ($50-$75); and of course they had to drive up there and pay for the cost of gasoline ($2.75/g).

I talked to the park ranger, and as expected, a business cannot charge people to go to the lake to do an event like this. A foot-long sub at Subway cost $5 and a can of soda, 50 cents... where did the extra money collected go? Does anyone think this is wrong?

Monday, December 8, 2014

You've gotta start somewhere

In the Maya Underworld

Cavern Diving... open water divers welcome

It's what started it all for me. I went to Mexico and I wanted to dive the cenotes...

Next year I went to Florida and got cave certified.

A new JCA Elite Scuba Partner

Scuba Diving Lessons for Women by Women

Learn to Scuba Dive in the most beautiful place on Earth...

Sea Fox Divers provides the best scuba diving lessons in the Portland and Vancouver areas. Your scuba diving certification will be taught on your schedule, where you can take as long as you want with individualized and personal attention. Finish your certification in a few days or a few weeks. There is never a rush to have to keep up with others or at their pace. Learning modes include textbook, online learning, DVD, and every student will receive direct facilitation from a Scuba Diving Instructor . 

a little about Callie Renfro...

She got certified in 2010 and loved diving so much that she immediately started to take specialties courses. She started diving the Oregon Coast almost every weekend, and with lots of dives under her belt, became a Dive Control Specialist in 2012. Encouraged to keep learning and wanting to teach, she quickly made the jump to PADI Assistant Instructor that same year. In 2013 she achieved Open Water Instructor and now strives towards teaching advanced specialties.

Callie mostly dives in the Pacific Northwest. During the winter months she loves crab diving at Netarts Bay. Every year she spends two weeks diving the warm waters of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, home of the Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA). These life-sized statues were created to promote reef growth and provide marine life habitat.

One of Callie's greatest passions is deep diving. Her favorite dive so far was diving the Cenotes in Tulum, Mexico, which pushes her desired to become a Cave Diver. 

Contact Callie Renfro at for more information, to schedule an appointment, or learn more scuba diving!

Buy locally or online...

FRIENDS AND STUDENTS... A CONVERSATION I HAD THIS MORNING... I KNOW THERE ARE MANY OF YOU THAT NEED IT NOW, WANT IT NOW, BUT PLEASE...***ASK ME FIRST*** I ***DO NOT*** WORK FOR A SHOP AND YOUR BEST INTEREST IS MY FIRST PRIORITY I'VE SPENT TENS OF THOUSANDS ON EQUIPMENT AND TRAINING. PLEASE DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES I DID. THERE ARE ALWAYS GOOD DEALS OUT THERE, AND SOMETIMES THERE IS NOT... Student: I found a used aqualung apeks black ice for $300 And I'm looking at a brand-new aqualung LUX legend regulator + aqualung legend octo for $950 Carlos: That's a good price for the BCD. Is it in working order? The regs... Are they new or used? Student: Yes on the BCD and the rags are new Carlos: Where are they selling them Student: eBay Carlos: FYI. If you buy on eBay you will not get a warranty. New or not... You also don't get parts for life on the annual reg service. They will be as is... Student: The manufacture should cover the warranty If they're going to stand behind their Carlos: I know a good deal is important, but please let me look at what you want first... Student: I want the best without paying top dollar Carlos: Nope. Sorry dude. Original factory warranty only applies to purchases from authorized retailers at MAP pricing. Aqualung and Scubapro set those rules in effect to prevent online sellers from killing them. Student: These are all valid concerns and I appreciate your professional opinion, I guess I'm just looking for the best deal for the best equipment Carlos: I'm here to help you make good scuba choices... Online sometimes can be a good deal on used and older equipment , but for new, you can get screwed. Do you know that the retail store won't give you a better deal? Student: No I don't know that. I have compare the prices though to new and it's a couple hundred dollars savings per Carlos: I can bring you to several shops that sell all the manufacturers... You should let them give you a quote before buying. You never know if their price is better and there is nothing worse than buyers remorse. Student: true Carlos: Again, I don't sell equipment and I don't get any kickback or benefit from bringing you to a retailer, but I've been a retail customer for 8 years too, and I've screwed on both by not being informed. All I ask is for you to slooooow down. Student: The BCD ends at 20:00 tonight It retails for 600 everywhere you look on line Carlos: Manufacturer warranty is a funny thing. it could be useless and it could be invaluable. Some manufacturers also offer free service kits when you buy new. During your annual service that can save you $100. In two years you break even, still have a warranty and start saving going forward... The more you know buddy! I would recommend wait, but its your $$$... I'm not giving wrong info... Student: In light of this new information I will reconsider I am at the mother-in-law's place trying to dog proof the yard today rebuilding some fence sections as I am being deployed for approximately three to four weeks Carlos: There are always specials and deals... Wait... However you do it, I want you to be safe... Money is not everything but buying as is online can be, CAN BE, good or bad... It takes experience. I'm asking you to wait. None of the places I'll bring you will ever make you feel pressured to buy and you will not be suckered into buying more than you need... Be safe during your trip. Student: Until we meet again. Mahalo! Carlos: cheers

Thursday, November 20, 2014

JCA Elite Scuba's FAQ

"I'm claustrophobic. I can't dive."

"I don't have the time to learn."

"How is your program different from all the others?

"I already have several hobbies and play several sports."

"Aren't all instructors the same?"

"I can't afford it."

"Is there a difference between the certification agencies?"

"I'm claustrophobic. I can't dive."
Living with claustrophobia is difficult, frustrating, and challenging. Is being claustrophobic getting in the way of setting goals and effecting your day to day life? Depending on how you answer, scuba diving may still be for you. You'll want to ask yourself, "Do I want to continue to live with these fears," and if not, "What can I do to overcome them?" I can design a program that will slowly introduce you to the equipment and build your confidence in the water. You don't have to be a great swimmer, either. Let's breakdown some of those roadblocks and open up some of the doors you've been wanting to pass through.

"I don't have the time to learn."
Like all things that are important to us, we find the time. One of the ways I help my students find the time is to have the most flexible schedule in the industry. I will meet you anytime and place. For our initial introduction, I usually meet students at a Starbucks. It's a great place to meet, they have snacks and beverages that makes the first meeting casual and comfortable, and it also makes a great place to do lessons. I've never know anyone to fall asleep in a Starbucks. In my opinion, classrooms are really the worst place to learn. Additionally, when you are ready for the pool sessions, I can meet you any one of six days a week. Your certification dives can also be done on your schedule even if you want to break the two days up. I've found that having only one place to meet, a particular day to teach on, and a weekend that you might not have off usually doesn't work the best for the student. I want you to dive and become a scuba diver! If I was a dive shop and couldn't get you certified because your schedule doesn't fit, then you don't dive... That also means you don't continue your education. I want you to be my student, so I will make my schedule fit you!

"How is your program different from all the others?"
I focus on quality and don't funnel students through my program all at once. While I can teach up to eight students by myself, I've found that someone always gets lost with large class sizes. I limit my class size to four (if everyone knows each other -- like families), otherwise it's two students at a time, unless you are learning on your own. Not only does that make it easier to meet everyone's needs, no one ever feels like they are falling behind or holding up the group. When a student gets stuck, we have the time to take to make sure they feel comfortable before going on to the next skill. I focus on the student's abilities, not disabilities. Just because one skill is difficult, I don't let that become an obstacle to certification. It may take more time, but I don't charge you extra when it does. My standards are are higher than industry standards! Not only will that make you a better diver, you won't find yourself underprepared when you are not diving with me. At some point, the instructor must cut the proverbial "umbilical cord." Just because you paid for certification, that doesn't guarantee certification on your timeline. It benefits no one to send a poorly trained diver out there. Sometimes the path is non-traditional, but safety and attention to detail should never be things you pay additional for or just not receive during your training.

"I already have several hobbies and play several sports."
There are those that make their sport their life. You've heard about those surfer dudes that live to surf... Scuba is a passionate sport to many, but it is also a lifestyle. Scuba divers take trips just to dive. Many do practice other sports and participate in other activities, but few of them will change your life like scuba does. After quitting my banking job in 2006 and learning to dive a month later, my path in life changed. I can honestly say it was a spiritual experience. I've dove all over the world and have seen first hand a multitude of diverse animal life, historical shipwrecks, and even learned to cave dive. I have become more patient, feel grounded, and have become more confident and self-reliant. Are you looking for a community to be a part of, a group of people that you can put your life in their hands and make new friends? Scuba is all that and more!

"Aren't all instructors the same?"
No. Everyone had favorite teachers in school that influenced them and scuba is no different. Those that influence us play immense rolls that shape our lives for years to come. "The dive course you take is going to be no better than the dive instructor who teaches it." Your instructor should be dedicated to you, to scuba diving education and to the scuba diving industry. I feel privileged to have met, taught, and in many cases become friends with those I have taught. I continue to dive with several of them and many continue their education with me. I never had these experiences in any of the vocations I was a part of before scuba. One of the greatest assets to learning from an independent instructor is their individual philosophy. Being a NAUI Scuba Diving Instructor means that I can tailor my program to my student's needs. It's important to remember, "In no field can certification alone guarantee comptence." My job is to build your confidence through competance.

"I can't afford it."
While scuba is an equipment intensive sport, and there is some equipment you want to own, you don't have to buy it all to enjoy everything scuba has to offer. Many new divers rent equipment until they find what works best for them. There aren't many sports that one can try different styles and name brands without having to make a purchase. Rental equipment varies in manufacturer, size, fit, style, purpose, and quality. With that said, if you want to learn how to dive, I will find a way to make it happen. There are times when I consider and accept payments. Yes, pay as you...!!! There is a way to make most things happen, and when it comes to scuba, I have lots of resources at my discretion. I partner with a few shops that share my philosophy and ethic. There will come a time when you'll be able to afford more and if I am flexible with you now, my hope is that you'll come back to me in the future. Relationships, personal and business, make the world a great place. Let me help you build relationships that will last you a lifetime.

"Is there a difference between the certification agencies?"
Yes. Becoming certified requires an educational component which can be done in a classroom setting, at home with self-study, or on the internet. Many agencies follow the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) standards. The WRSTC's mission statement is, "The World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) is dedicated to the worldwide safety of the recreational diving public. As such, one of the WRSTC's primary goals is the development of worldwide minimum training standards. The establishment of globally recognized and implemented standards is a valuable asset in addressing local and national regulatory issues." Currently, there are twenty-two WRSTC member agencies. Some you may be familiar with: SSI (Scuba Schools International); PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors); and SDI (Scuba Diving International); and some you may not be: IAC (International Aquanatic Club); PSS (Professional Scuba Schools); and IDEA (International Diving Educators Association). These agencies create and comply with strict professional standards set by WRSTC, and their certifications are recognized worldwide. Scuba diving is a self- regulating industry. Each agency establishes its own agenda for diver training and issues certification for each level of scuba diving competency and experience, from beginner to instructor. Courses vary in teaching methods for the beginner's level, but they all cover the same essential knowledge and practical skills development as set by WRSTC.The main mission of certification agencies (SSI, PADI, SDI, IAC, PSS, and IDEA) is the Marketing of Scuba Diving. Some do a better job than others. The organizations you have heard of have done a better job of selling their brand. Is NAUI a member of the WRSTC? No. NAUI's standards surpass those standards and is known as having the highest in the industry!

Scuba Diving Certification

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Clear Lake Camp and Dive near Sisters Oregon

Clear Lake Camp & Dive September 6 - September 7 Clear Lake near Sisters, Oregon . Come to Clear Lake near Sisters, Oregon for some diving in one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Renowned for it's underwater petrified forest and unlimited visibility, it's a dive that everyone must cross off their list of places to dive. The water temperature is usually around 40 degrees in the summer, so I highly recommend diving in a drysuit. If you are a current or past student, only $100 for drysuit specialty. If you'd like to camp out Saturday night, there is a campsite about a mile down the road. It's a great, free spot to camp and hike. A cool trail follows the river that leads to an amazing waterfall. For those that don't want to rough it, the park offers really nice cabins. Hope to see you soon. --carlos

Sunday, June 1, 2014

New Partner

$75 Raised!
Donate Now to Friends of Mia

About Friends of Mia
Friends of Mia Foundation is dedicated to funding childhood cancer research and helping local patients and families. With your support, we can help kids with cancer, one smile at a time and provide hope to kids with cancer one mile at a time. Friends of Mia is an organization that was created in 2009 to help offset medical and living expenses for Mia and her family when she was diagnosed with High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when she was 2 years old. Mia had a 3 year battle with Leukemia, including 2 relapses, a bone marrow transplant from her twin brother Noah and many long stays in the hospital. Sadly, on April 17, 2012, Mia peacefully passed away in her sleep.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NAUI Nitrox Specialty Class

February 8, 2014 5:00pm (location to be determined) Learn to dive a little deeper and stay a little longer from a technical diver with multi-gas diving experience. Minimize decompression risk and manage narcossis. $162.95 15% of class and educational material cost will be donated to a local charity of your choice. visit my online store to purchase a spot and materials... JCA Elite Scuba Online Store

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Time to take some SCUBA diving specialties...!!!

JCA Elite Scuba | Specialties & Levels | Learn new skills. Become more comfortable and confident.

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.

Perfect Buoyancy: NOW CALLED... Extreme Underwater Ironing: As you could imagine, trying to iron underwater is difficult! But, with great buoyancy skills you can learn. It's an up-and-coming new sport. Google it... There are many different types of "extreme ironing," but I'm going to focus on doing it underwater. ...and yes, I provide the ironing board, the iron, and I'll take your picture doing it AND I will even issue you a certification card at no extra charge. Staying off the bottom and not kicking up the silt is a nice for the divers behind you, anyway. Reduce the chance of injuring the marine life, reduce the amount of ballast you have to carry, decrease air consumption, greater interaction with marine life, and have longer dives. Yep! Good buoyancy can help with all that.

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.

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!

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Sailfin Sculpin are one of my favorite fish in the Puget Sound...

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