Any PADI/TecRec qualifications:
PADI Course Director, PADI Rebreather Instructor Trainer, PADI SCCR Instructor Trainer, DSAT GB Instructor Trainer He & EANx
What is your background and current involvement in diving?
I moved from the UK to Thailand in 1992 to train up to PADI Divemaster and pursue a career in scuba diving in Asia: I am now a PADI Course Director and PADI Rebreather Instructor Trainer and the owner of Indepth Dive College PADI 5* IDC and TecRec Centre S-36108 on Phuket.
How did you get into Recreational Tec diving?
I did quite a bit of what would now be classed as “Tec Diving” with friends in Thailand and Malaysia back in early 1990’s, before it became a structured activity in the format it is today as it just seemed a logical step to stay longer underwater and see and experience what others hadn’t.
In 1996 I was involved in a serious RTA which resulted in 3 months in hospital, 3 months in a wheel chair, 11 months oncrutches, and although I rebuilt my body in the gym and passed an HSE Commercial Diving Medical, I thought my days of diving beyond single tank were over.
With the arrival of PADI Draeger SCR courses in 1999 I got back into this side of diving and then the arrival of the Poseidon MKVI Recreational Rebreather my life changed: gone were any worries about weight on my hips and lower back as it is so light and user friendly, and with the arrival of Side Mount diving in both the recreational and technical markets any worries left about my carrying weight vanished.
Do have any specialised areas of interest?
I have to say that I am currently obsessed with CCR diving in particular the Poseidon MKVI and apart from running monthly IDCs, I am regularly teaching Poseidon MKVI PADI Recreational Rebreather courses. I will shortly be taking a PADI Tec CCR course and my future goals include becoming a PADI CCR IT as well a CCR Cave Diver.
What do think the greatest challenges are in this kind of diving?
For me personally the greatest challenge has been patience and discipline. In this kind of diving your patience, attitude and ability to take things slowly and methodically, one step at a time without cutting corners can make the difference between life and death. Whilst that may sound melodramatic, there are many things one can ‘get away” with in single cylinder recreational air diving. With Rebreather Diving you have to change the way you think and taking things at a slower pace, never cutting corners or missing a step, understanding the time and dedication it has taken others to get to where they are now and not try and go beyond your own training and personal limits play a vital role in developing the right way of thinking to become a safe and competent Closed Circuit Rebreather Diver.
What are the most important attributes of a tec diver for the type of diving you do?
Patience, dedication, discipline, the ability to admit you are wrong or not ready and the willingness to never stop learning from others and your own mistakes.
What are the most likely mistakes a tec diver can make in your kind of diving?
Over confidence, not following check lists every time, missing out steps and not following the manufactures rules and recommendations for the CCR Unit you are diving no matter how many times you have dived the unit or how familiar you are with it.
How do you prepare for a demanding technical dive?
Rest, eat properly, make sure you are hydrated, do whatever that can be prepared the day or days before and triple check your dive plan and logistics.
What were your best or worst tec diving experiences?
The “best” are just too many to list here, but I recently I had the pleasure of freeing a turtle caught in fishing line wrapped around its neck and fins and if I had I not been on a MKVI CCR three hour no-decompression dive I would never have been in that part of the reef which is unexplored by OC divers on their 40 minute dives with regular customers and the turtle would have died.
What influences your selection of dive gear?
Advice from my peers and mentors, followed by my personal preference after trying it.
What kind of person do you want diving in the same team as you?
Someone I know, trust and who has the same attributes and attitude mentioned above.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting into tec diving?
Remember that as in all things in life you get what you pay for: so don’t try and do it on the cheap, find a mentor you can relate to, spend the money on the best training and best equipment you can, respect and understand the environment you are going to be putting yourself into and enjoy !!