Article by Ayesha Cantrell, TecRec Instructor, of Thailand Technical Diving
Female technical divers certainly seem to be in the minority and I always seem to be stuck on a boat with guys comparing hose length and discussing penetration. Imagine how happy I was to teach my first female student and have an all girls tech team. That prompted me to try and understand why there are considerably less of us and maybe break down some of the barriers.
By training as a technical diver you are agreeing to accept the increased risks that come from exceeding the no decompression limit. Females are naturally more cautious which I believe is part of what inhibits their participation yet ironically caution is a strong trait in any good technical diver.
You might also be concerned about all the gear, its weight and your physical strength. There is a lot of gear and yes it’s heavier than your recreational kit but I’m all of 5 foot and I manage. I’m certainly not skipping around the deck but I can giant stride off with 4 tanks. Once you’re in the water the kit becomes more manageable – the same as your recreational kit does. And here’s the inside scoop…yes there’s more of it but it’s no more technical than your recreational kit. If you understand how that works then you’ll understand this. Your kit, simply put, is doubled. You take 2 of everything, just to be sure, rather like a handbag really!
The pre-requisites of technical training mean that you are already quite an experienced diver and unless you are a dive professional tec training will be the most intensive course you have taken since your rescue course. This in itself could leave any diver a little intimidated but at this level it’s likely that you have been conducting your own dives for a while and have a good understanding of dive theory too. We teach you the rest …remember…if we were fish then we wouldn’t need to take a course, so don’t be frightened about learning something new!
Technical diving deepens your understanding of dive theory and really sharpens your techniques underwater. Courses are actually split too so that you don’t have to commit to the full thing. A basic technical course will broaden your skills and knowledge as well as giving you the opportunity to decide if you want to continue to full decompression diving.
It doesn’t actually seem that long ago that ladies were in the minority on recreational boats and I hope the numbers of tec chicks will increase too. But please don’t make me wait too long as I really need to have a serious conversation about crotch straps.