Posts Tagged ‘Recreational diving’

Thai Wreck Dive Koh Tao

May 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Save Koh Tao with help from the Thai Navy is working to find the best location for the sinking this decommissioned Navy vessel.  The vessel is currently in Bangkok where is is being prepared for it’s sinking.  This process includes the removal of all pollutants and toxic substances to prevent any contamination of the Koh Tao’s reefs.  Special attention is also be put towards removing entrapment and entanglement hazzards.  The wreck is forecasted to be sunk the 18th of June.

This is going to provide Koh Tao with an alternative dive site to not only take some of the traffic off the main dive sites but also open up new training possibilities.  The PADI Wreck specialty will now be much easier to teach logistically.  Other courses like Advanced Wreck will also be put into place for technical divers wishing to broaden their knowledge, skills and techniques used in complex wreck navigation as well as restriction and guideline use.  Our experienced staff of Technical Instructors, Instructor Trainers, Trimix Instructors, Technical Instructors and Cave Instructors will we working hard to ensure adequate training is received before complex navigation is taken up.  Tech Diving Thailand

It is important that the diving community understand and is accepting to the fact that single tank recreational divers are not adequately equipped to be diving past the light zone in equipment without any redundancy.  Wreck diving can be an extremely satisfying activity so long as safety and training are made a priority.

Through overhead environment training Cave Diving instructors and the NSS/CDS have been building a database of accidents involving death or serious injury in overhead environments.  A simple recall phrase can be used to help remember the 5 rules of accident analysis to assist in preventing accidents in overhead.

Nearly Every Preventable Death in overhead can be contributed to not following these simple rules.

  • Thank = Training – diving outside of training limitations or with no training
  • Goodness = Guideline – Guideline leading to open water, proper complex navigational techniques utilized
  • All = Air: Gas management – Rule of 1/3 or 1/4
  • Divers = Depth – Maintaining appropriate depth limits
  • Lived = Lights: Appropriate and properly maintained equipment (twinset with isolation manifold, redundant life support systems)

Thanks to all of those involved in this project, the benefits of alternate dive sites on Koh Tao have already been seen.  The increasing level of training and experience available is also one of the benefits that every diving professional, technical diver and recreational diver can enjoy safely.

Craig Werger

Ban’s Technical Diving

Koh Tao



How To Get Up Alone

May 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Posted in Technical Diving Discussions by CraigW on May 3, 2011

Whats the minimum equipment necessary to get a solo diver to the surface from depth?

Equipment failure, lost buddy, solo diving and underwater videography are areas where divers may be subject to a greater likelihood of experiencing problems they are unable to handle.

Through the years I have spent working in the recreational and technical diving community we have always known and taught the principal of team diving.  For the open water students from day 1 they know they need to dive with a buddy.  I would like to discuss the reasons behind this procedure including the possible dangers of ignoring this concept.

Recreational diving equipment does not have any redundancy:

Does recreational equipment need redundancy?  Well if all the rules are followed no.  The equipment is designed for no decompression diving with a buddy in an environment familiar to that during training.  However once divers start building confidence and developing new skills they may be inadvertently put into situations they are both unequipped and untrained to handle.

How many times have we seen equipment problems either on the boat or under water such as: tank o-ring burst, HP hose burst, LP hose burst, 2nd stage falling off, SPG Burst, corrosion from inside the tank plug the first stage?  If you have never seen an equipment problem you probably haven’t been diving for long.  I have even seen the A-clamp screw strip out allowing the first stage to pop off the tank!  There is obviously no excuse for improper maintenance or neglecting the need for repairs.  I am lucky my dive school has a professional team to ensure any reported problems are repaired immediately.  The point is, if your working under water year after year you will at some point experience some sort of problem.

Whaleshark at Chumphon Koh Tao

The dive school I work for does not allow solo diving, we all say we don’t solo dive but how often do we see these rules broken?  I commonly see situations where videographers, photographers, instructors and divemasters turn a blind eye, just that once, just for that one shot.  Unfortunately eventually complacency usually overrules and this becomes a regular occurrence.  It’s not that these divers are not good divers, they are just lacking the equipment and training to conduct these activities safely.

We are primarily concerned about two types of problems: those that will cause you to loose all your gas or those that will render you out of gas immediately.  One of the worst case scenarios for any solo diver would be to have to make an emergency ascent while out of air.

There are several ‘bail out’ options on the market.  Some of these can actually get you out of the water with a safety stop where other ‘Air Spare’ options don’t even have a capacity to get you up from 18M with a controlled ascent, never mind 30M!  If we are going to back ourselves up we might as well do it with enough gas!

*All calculations based upon 20L/min breathing rate (likely breathing rate of stressed recreational diver)

Amount of gas in litres to make an emergency ascent from:

* 30M = 320L (230L with no safety stop)

* 18M = 222L (132L with no safety stop)

-Spare air model 300PKYEL
maximum capacity = 85L

-Spare air model 170PKYEL
maximum capacity = 48L

Why carry something that can’t get you to the surface while following a safe ascent rate? There are other options available, whether it be a 2L back mounted redundant air supply with its own reg or a stage cylinder side mounted, some sort of back up equipment must be used.

To properly understand the fundamentals of solo diving I would highly recommend the following program:

This course is designed to train divers about the proper procedures and hazards for solo diving, upon certification students may engage in planned solo diving activities.  This course includes procedures for diving with a secondary air source capable of providing sufficient gas to safely abort a dive with an equipment failure or related gas supply emergency.

Redundant air supply use, understanding breathing gas requirements, independent equipment checks and advanced emergency procedures will be covered.  Becoming one of the standards for independent diving practice, the solo diver program teaches experienced recreational divers how to safely dive independently of a dive buddy or strengthen your buddy team skills.  The course stresses on:

  • Proper dive planning
  • Personal limitations
  • Accident prevention
  • Benefits, hazards, and proper procedures for diving solo

The student must:

  • Be a minimum age of twenty one(21)
  • Have a Minimum certification of Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent
  • Minimum of one hundred (100) logged dives.

Where can we start to help…. Save Koh Tao Land Branch

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Are you wondering what’s being done on the island to combat a growing population and a soaring economy?  Have you just arrived and have questions about the islands’ recycling program?  Spent a few days lying on the Beach and looking for a more rewarding activity tomorrow?  Well you are in luck!  Save Koh Tao’s Land Conservation Branch has a number of activities you can participate in!

This past month alone Save Koh Tao Land Branch has accomplished many important tasks with the help of many capable and enthusiastic volunteers.  Some of these goals and tasks included removing 80 Kilos of Rubbish and 28.5 Kilos of recyclables from Sairee Beach, performing a Waste Mapping Assessment of the island, testing Waste Water Run-Off in Mae Haad and Chalok, building a fence around SKT’s Organic Garden and Grass Nursery, removing 87 bags of Rubbish from Chalok Canal and completing just over 100 surveys for Suhkothai University here in Thailand (this survey aims to put an economic value on our coral reefs and other natural resources).

Thanks to all our volunteers from this past month and from previous projects!!

If you have sometime while here on the island and wish to help out with some of our activities, here is a list of upcoming events and activities.

  • Weekly Beach Clean-Ups of Sairee Beach, Every Thursday at 10:30am, meet outside of Ban’s Dive Shop
  • Weekly Beach Clean-Ups with School Children, Every Friday at 3:00pm, varying locations
  • Monthly Land Clean-Ups, last Saturday of every Month, varying locations
  • Garden Planting & Maintenance, every Tuesday at 9:30am, meet at Koh Tao Info in Mae Haad
  • Waste Water Testing/Mapping every Tuesday at 1:30pm, varying locations

For more information on Save Koh Tao’s Land Branch projects or to find out about meeting points to join up please see or contact us at

Please add your own to our… Pro Diver Reference Library

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

The following  will be added as its own page to help it grow.  Please we’d like to hear from you!

As a soon to be Dive professional or if you’re a  Pro Diver already, you should have quite a reference library, most times without even realizing it.  The manuals you’ve collected from all your previous PADI courses and specialties too, Magazines, The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving, Diving Knowledge workbooks, Dive travel guides, maps, videos, books, online articles and yes even dive blogs 😉  These days there is as much online information as there is on paper and many times you can find everything you need online.  This will also improve the impact paper is having on our environment.

The following is a list of articles, companies and other things you might want to take a look at and include in your own personal reference library.  We would also invite you to share any titles you have come across as well.   Let us know what you have found and we’d be more than happy to add them to this page.  Over goal is not just to enhance our own diving knowledge but yours as well.

1.  All PADI course material (Open Water, Advanced, Rescue…)

2.  PADI Videos

3.  Specilty Course material

4.  Undersea journal

5. and PADI PRO

6.  Project Aware

7.  The Underwater Journal Great online magazine

8.  Sea Shepherd Non-profit, marine wildlife organization.

9.  Scuba Board World Largest Online Diving community

10.  Scuba News CDNN World News on diving and the industry

11.  WordPress Great search for all things and scuba

12.  Live 2 Let Dive Find out more about some of the best, most unusual or fun dive spots in the world.

There’s a few to get things started!  Let us know what you use.

A Visit with HSA International at DEMA 2010

December 7, 2010 1 comment

At the 2010 DEMA show I had the opportunity to sit with Jim Gatacre, a diver with such a love and passion of diving, he wanted to share it with everyone!  As the President of Handicapped Scuba Association International, he has spent the last 30 years educating over 5,000 underwater educators, scuba divers with disabilities and support divers, located in over 45 countries around the world.  HSA International is an organization that’s mission is to improve the physical and social well-being of people with disabilities through the sport of scuba diving and in doing so has become the world-wide leading authority in this field.  With the help of people like Jim and others like Laura Lee, a Padi Course Director (and a wonderful lady I’ve had the privilege of working with in the past), HSA International has a very bright future.

There are many different types of courses being offered through HSA.  One of these programs, being their “Dive Buddy Program” which offers ‘able-bodied’ divers the opportunity to share the underwater environment with a handicapped partner.  For Instructor level there is a full Instructor Training Course as well.  This extensive program will allow instructors to work alongside and certify people with disabilities to allow them to be divers.  HSA also has it’s highest level Training program, HSA Course Director Program.  This would allow interested parties to become an Instructor Trainer.

For any course information feel free to contact Jim Gatacre at or visit  If you’re in Canada feel free to also check out

Post-DEMA 2010 Las Vegas

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Got into the game and maybe for the first time left Vegas with more than we had when we got there! Haha.. But seriously what an amazing time.  We meet all our friends from PADI Head Office who were putting on seminars and launching their New Divemaster program.  We talked to many of the companies with some of the newest equipment in the scuba market today!  Oceanreef Group releasing their G-divers full face mask, Nautilus Lifeline with there Radio and GPS for divers which to me had an over whelming responce and was definately a ‘Best in Show’ Winner.  Fourth Element with many new innovations in wetsuit and rashy technologies and many many more.

Bodyglove, Sport Diver, Padi and Air Pacific Premiered their next in series “The Drop Zone” FIJI!   Was a great night out with divers for being in the middle of the desert 😉  This event was hosted at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas.

DEMA 2010 DAY 1

November 19, 2010 Leave a comment

DEMA!!! Day one.. 1000’s of programs, 1000’s of vendors, 4 days!  The actual exhibit floor did not open till 10am.  But there were tons of seminars being put on by PADI, DEMA and other dive organizations that started as early as 8am.   Drew Richardson kicked my day off  with a Padi Seminar, looking at the diving industry as a whole focusing on North America, but looking globally as well…  it was entitled “How’s the Vis”.  Great pump up and super start to get us all going as the doors were about to open on the main exhibition floor.


The exhibitors floor is HUGE, it took me a better part of the day just to walk through it!  By about 1pm I am getting totally lost in all the new products, and while I was chatting it up with a slew of different companies, I came across EnviroDive Technologies.

EnviroDive wrote the book on gas blending…The PADI/DSAT book!

EnviroDive is a world leader in “The Nitrox Stik” continuous gas blending equipment for Nitrox. They offer oxygen enriched air gas blending courses, Nitrox dive training and certification to police, public safety divers, commercial and recreational divers.

As the creators of modern continuous oxygen enriched air gas blending with a proven track record in both equipment sales and Nitrox training, EnviroDive continues to be the leader in the world of Nitrox.  It was great to spend a few minutes with these guys so I thought it would be neat to see what they have to offer and hear what they had to say!

They are, after all, “The Nitrox People”.

EnviroDive Technologies celebrates its 10th year as a DEMA member!