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Getting Certified: Classroom and Pool September 18, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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I learned to dive with a NASDS (now SSI) dive shop in 1982. We had about 6 weekly lectures, some pool sessions and of course open water dives in a quarry near Innerkip, Ontario, euphemistically known as “Trout Lake”. People are still diving there today, as there is a small community living in trailers on the property who drive around in golf carts equipped with cup holders for their favourite beverage.

Memories of the lectures are a little fuzzy. The material tried to take a modern approach at the time and divide things into “systems”, like the thermal protection system and the buoyancy control system. It seemed to me to add unnecessary complexity to something that is pretty straightforward.

We did pool training, of course. I had to swim 10 laps I think, but the pool wasn’t Olympic size, and without being in particularly good shape I managed to complete the task by pacing myself well. There was also a test to don all equipment including mask on the bottom of the pool. It was pretty easy, as I remember, but I’d spent of lot of time in pools as a child.

Now that I’m a divemaster I like the pool training. It’s fun to see students realize how easy it is to breathe underwater. It’s also rewarding to help them overcome their fears, most commonly when they’re doing the mask removal exercise. Speaking of that, I can’t count the number of times I’ve caught a fin the head. Occasionally my mask has been dislodged but so far never knocked off completely. Since I started technical diving, though, I never dive without a spare mask, even on shallow dives.

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