Posts Tagged ‘Technical 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.

DEMA 2010 Best In Show

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment

At this years DEMA there was literally 100’s of exhibitors.  New equipment, new products, gear, locations, dive clubs and the list goes on and on… One of the most impressive new products I saw was a new GPS radio for diver safety.  Nautilus Lifeline has designed a safety radio and GPS that you can take with you when you go diving!  The Nautilus Lifeline is a full featured marine VHF radio and GPS with a range of 8 Miles.  It has both a chat channel and non-emergency functions.  With a battery life of over 24hours in emergency mode you know you’ll get help when needed most.  As far as Tec Diving, they have rated this unit for a maximum depth of 130 meters and on the surface with the radio open it is still rated for 3 meters; so there is no reason to worry about flooding your radio in heavy chop.  The LCD display shows your GPS position and the whole system can be charged via usb cable.  They believe in this product soo much they are including a Full 2 Year Warranty and a Lifetime Service Plan.

Out of everything I have seen here at  DEMA this year, this product stood out amongst the crowd for safety, design and ingenuity.  I can’t wait to see how it performs and stands up to everyday use!

Why Dive with OCEANREEF Full Face Recreational Mask

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment
Oceanreef connecting divers

Headed to BAN's for 2011

Why dive with an Oceanreef Full Face Mask? Well if you asked those at Oceanreef, they’d ask you why not!  With many benefits and features that adds to every dive,  the stereotype that full masks are just for the elite diver has been finally crushed by Oceanreefs  G-Divers Full Face Mask.  Their user-friendly design is perfect for the entry-level or recreational diver.  By using a full face mask a diver is able to breathe easily through their mouth as well as their nose and since most people breathe through their nose more often than their mouths, you should find a full mask even more natural than a traditional regulator and mask setup.  Just breath… It’s that easy!  So if people try to tell you that full face masks are just for professional divers or that it’s too complicated to use, know that these new recreational G-Divers masks increase visibility, are more comfortable than the traditional mask and reg setup and can even help you communicate with your dive buddies and the surface! Oh yeah AND you can get them in some pretty cool colors too!  So if you have the chance take one of these new recreational full face masks for a test drive.   Yes, there is a little training you will need, but it’s really fun stuff and can even count toward another speciality rating!

Come check them out at Ban’s Diving Resort, coming 2011!

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!

Going Where No One Has Gone Before

November 19, 2010 Leave a comment
Ban Tec

Bans Tec Diving

“Going where no one has gone before”… Who doesn’t know this catch phrase, made famous by the earliest Star Trek series.  For most people, the appeal of  the idea of shooting through the stars is connected with the excitement and discovery of new places and exciting possibilities.  Unless you are plotting to build your own enterprise and warp into the heavens, a fantastic opportunity to explore, can be found right here on planet earth.

There’s an estimated 2.5 million active divers in North America alone (Padi has certified over 15 million divers world-wide ).  Here at Bans Diving Resort, we’re certifying over 15,000 (Open Water or higher) in a single year!  With all of these divers we still have only explored under 2-3% of our oceans and oceans cover over 2/3 rds of our planet!   As a recreational diver we can go to a maximum depth of 40 Meters.  Which accounts for a very very very small percentage of the overall ocean that we are able to reach.  One of the many aspects of Tec diving is that it allows you to discover new depths of the ocean.  The Padi Tec Deep course allows you to go to the maximum depth of 50 Meters adding an additional 10 meters beyond recreational limits and Tech 60 lets you go even Deeper!  But does that  just mean you get to go deeper and deeper with a Tech certification?  No way!  There are many other advantages, like being able to spend longer amounts of time at shallower depths, expand your learning opportunities and introduce yourself to even further areas of diving such as proper cavern or even cave diving. The possibilities are endless.

Take a look into our very unique Technical Diving Instructor Internship Programs led by Craig Werger.   Before dive instruction, Craig Werger had been getting his hands dirty in anything that needed fixing for some time.  He is a Journeyman Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic by trade and finished his apprenticeship with Okanogan University College in 2007.  Craig worked for Caterpillar dealerships for 6 years in both Canada and Australia, troubleshooting and overhauling diesel engines, transmissions, powertrain, high pressure hydraulics and machine electronic systems.  He completed Caterpillar dealership training in hydraulics, hydraulic excavators, machine electronic controls, Helicopter transport; rigging and lifting.  Craig was recognized with first place in Skills Canada Competition for Automotive Service 2003 and 2004. With these skills and a good base of diver instruction, you’re guaranteed to learn the in’s and out’s about technical operations and technical diving through Craig!  His Internship Program lets you train and dive with us over 2 month period and have the opportunity to become an Instructor in many technical diving areas and can include DSAT Tec Deep, DSAT Tec Trimix, DSAT Gas Blender and much more…over Tec Diving cavern and cave diving.

What’s PADI scuba diving all about anyway?

November 5, 2010 2 comments

Discover Scuba Diving Bans ResortEver wanted to try scuba diving?  I remember my first experience with diving.  My class consisted of  mates that were almost all in their late twenties to early thirties(think I was 13 at the time) and as I remember they all looked quite awkward sitting in a classroom.  I doubt any of them had set foot in a classroom in some time.   Class that was held every weekend over the course of a few months in a little classroom in the basement of a dive shop located in my home town.  Then finally the time came to get the gear on and give it a try for the first time.  My anticipation grew over the duration of the classroom portion of the course (if you think I’m an impatient person now I could only imagine trying to deal with me as a  13-year-old HA!). As soon as you go under for the first time your surroundings change immediately, everything goes quiet except the sound of your own bubbles and for most people just the feeling of being weightless is enough for them, to keep them coming back for more and more.  In warmer areas the colors in the ocean are like nothing you have ever seen before, vibrant yellows and red with a blue background that seems to go on forever.

Bans Diving Resort Koh Tao

Discover Scuba Diving Course

Most people have heard of the company PADI or Professional Association of Diving Instructors.  It’s the worlds largest Diver Training Organization, which was started about 44 years ago.  There are many different levels of diving, most people think that an Open Water diver is the first level.  However, there are a few levels you can obtain even before this.  You can try a Discover Scuba Diving Course (DSD) or become a PADI Scuba Diver if you are not sure if you’ll enjoy the sport of not.

I never even thought about “trying” diving.  I knew from the minute I saw it on television as a kid that I’d be doing that some day.  But for the individual that maybe just wants to try it once or if you’re not too sure, a DSD is the perfect way to see if your up for this new challenge!  When you sign up for a DSD here’s a very rough idea of what you’ll do.  It’s usually a one day course.  First, you’ll meet your instructor and get a little bit of diving know how and theory (not too fun to do when on a holiday I know, but I promise its worth it).  Then not unlike the certifying diver course (Open Water) you’ll be taken to the pool to get comfortable and confident in your new self-contained breathing apparatus (ok ok for short lets just call it s.c.u.b.a equipment 😉 )  for a swim in the pool with your new equipment.  During the certification course Open Water you may dive on your own with a buddy and you’d go through 20 different skills in the pool but because you’re just there for the day and wanting to “try” diving, you will only be asked to do the minimum 5 skills and gain some confidence and comfort in your scuba equipment.  Some people at this stage get soo excited they just decide “to hell with this!” and take the full course (but that’s another story).

That very afternoon you’ll be taken by your Instructor on your first “ever” dive!  This is an experience you’ll never forget.  Now you might be asking yourself, even though I never took this course to get my diving life started, how do I know this to be true?  Because I see them everyday at the resort coming up from their first dive and asking “WHATS NEXT??!!”

The more you get into diving the more you start to see that it’s chalk full of possibilities.  As soon as you think you have learned all there is to know you find a whole other unexplored avenue to try.  Everything from deep-sea diving, commercial diving, technical diving, being an underwater videographer, being a Divemaster or even teaching!  The possibilities are endless!

So if you’re looking for that new hobby, sport or a whole new career, give diving a try.  It’s a big Ocean out there and who knows where it may take you.

** Next week we’ll take a look at what makes up an Open Water Course.  Until then if you have any comments or questions I invite you to ask us.  Don’t hesitate to contact us.