The TecRec Range
Technical diving is scuba diving’s “extreme sport”, taking experienced and qualified divers far deeper and further than in mainstream recreational diving. Technical diving is marked by significantly more equipment and training requirements to manage the additional hazards this type of diving entails. Tec diving isn’t for everyone, but for those who want to be explore further, the TecRec courses are the answer.
Most of the names of the courses in TecRec range include a number (eg Tec 40). This is an indication of the maximum depth in metres intended for a diver certified at this level. As a general rule, each course includes four dives.
This short session allows divers to give technical diving a try. It does not result in a certification, but lets a diver experience wearing the extra gear involved in technical diving and understand the rationale behind it.
The entry point into the technical range, Tec 40 provides a transition from recreational to technical diving. Although the use of full tech gear (doubles and wings) is preferred, it does allow modified use of recreational gear in some situations, provided the diver has two separate regulators, with one of the first stages fitted with a long hose. (For example, a main cylinder and pony cylinder combination). The intended working limit for a diver at this level is 40 metres/130 feet with up to 10 minutes of non-accelerated decompression. They may use any EANx mix with up to 50% oxygen content or air. To enrol on the course, a diver must be the equivalent of a PADI Advanced Open Water diver, with an EANx Diver rating and have deep recreational diving experience.
The diver must use full ‘standardised’ tech rig, including wings and doubles plus an additional deco cylinder (note that side mounted cylinders are an acceptable alternative to back mounted doubles throughout the TecRec range). The course allows the diver to go to 45 metres/145 feet and make accelerated decompression dives using any mix of EANx or pure oxygen. A diver must have the equivalent of a Tec 40 rating to enrol on this course.
This course represents a high level of competency for a technical diver. Although the option exists to make the last dive of the course using trimix, it is intended as an air/nitrox rating and by the end the diver can dive to a maximum of 50 metres/165 feet and make extended, accelerated decompression dives.
Tec Trimix 65
This course opens up the advantages of trimix to the diver, and divers are qualified to make multi-stop decompression dives that employ EANx and oxygen for accelerated decompression, using any trimix with an oxygen content of 18% or more. They can dive to a maximum depth of 65 metres/210 feet.
This course lets the diver go deeper, opening up the option of using travel gases and trimix with less than 18% oxygen content. Dives made during the course can be as deep as 90 metres/300 feet. Once qualified, the diver can start to explore deeper; for this reason there is no numbered suffix after the course title as in the rest of the range — there are no limits placed on how deep the diver can go after training, providing they build their experience gradually.
Specialty TecRec Courses
Some TecRec instructors have been authorised by PADI to offer distinctive specialty courses in technical diving. These tend to be offered in areas where the diving environment demands specialist training. Examples include Cave Diver, Advanced Wreck Diver and Technical Rescue Diver.
The Tec Instructor is able to teach the Tec 40 course. Prerequisites for an instructor to attain this rating include being a Tec 45 diver or similar, being a PADI MSDT, EANx instructor and Deep Diver Instructor.
Tec Deep Instructor
Tec Deep Instructors can offer the Tec 40, Tec 45 and Tec 50 courses.
Tec Trimix Instructor
Instructors at this level can offer any of the diver level courses in the TecRec range.
The Gas Blender rating certifies the holder to mix enriched air or trimix for divers to use in recreational or technical diving operations. Courses for this level are conducted by Gas Blender Instructors.
PADI will be releasing two recreational and three technical rebreather courses shortly. For more details see here.