Adam, Kirstin and Goot kitting up on the boat

Are you a good diver?

Who decides when you can be considered a good diver? When do you feel you are a good diver? Most of all, what makes a good diver?

Having good buoyancy skills, good air consumption and being quick and efficient kitting up are all signs of a good diver, as are having serviceable kit and the right gear for the dive. Hundreds of dives in your log book are also meant to be a good indication, but are they? All too often you find that more experienced divers have long forgotten the early days when they were the ones on the boat without any experience. At some point we all were new divers, holding up the launch because we forgot something, holding up the backward roll because we hadn’t defogged our mask, or put our fins on yet. We have all been there, forgetting to put your weight belt on first and then making everyone wait while you de-kit and re-kit to get ready.

Adam, Kirstin and Goot kitting up on the boat
Adam, Kirstin and Goot kitting up on the boat

Often the more experienced diver will take the same risks that a novice will but for different reasons.

An experienced diver might dive with a loose or worn weight belt buckle or a leaky inflator or leaking regulator because they have been diving with it like that for ages, whereas a novice might do the same out of ignorance, not realising these problems exist purely  due to  the lack of experience.

Before you decide that you can class yourself as a good diver you need to have all of these skills plus a few I may have forgotten:

  • good buoyancy
  • good air consumption
  • correct finning techniques
  • a good understanding of the ‘’dive buddy’’’ concept

As far as equipment goes you need to dive with  well maintained gear even if it’s old:

  • the right safety gear, i.e. SMB, reel, knife
  • snorkel (depending on the circumstances)
  • compass
  • timing device or computer, depth gauge,
  • good exposure protection: gloves, hoodies, etc if you are cold water diving

But most of all you need the right attitude. Be helpful to the novice sitting next to you that is struggling to get into their equipment, have some tolerance for their  inexperience. South Africa has one of the highest rates of new divers giving up diving after their initial training course. Much of this has to do with the feeling of inadequacy bestowed on them by experienced divers and a large part due to their first few dives being conducted in less than optimal conditions.

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Tony

Scuba diver, teacher, gadget man, racing driver, boat skipper, photographer, and collector of stray animals

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