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Good Divers Wanted

I am always surprised when I see a dive charter operation say, "You must have an advanced certification to do this dive." What does that really get you? It does mean you have taken extra effort to pursue the sport. It means you have studied some of the more difficult dives available and have done them. It doesn't mean you are a good diver. I have had the pleasure of diving with tens of thousands of divers of all certification levels. I have had Divemasters that were good divers and instructors that were not good divers. The characteristics of a good diver are not certifiable. Here are things I have observed that good divers seem to have in common.

1. A good diver shows up promptly for the dive. They do not leave everyone hanging and do not "no show" after confirming. This sort of behavior is not courteous and adds tension to all the other divers enjoying a relaxing day.

2. Before attempting an advanced dive, a good diver has dived in the last year in the conditions he is about to dive or "warms up" with a dive or two in easier conditions. We don't go from Quarry to 110' deep ledge without doing a couple of ocean dives first.

3. Your gear changes over time. When a good diver changes gear configuration he will not attempt to multi task before the new gear has been "broken-in." If you change wetsuits, you should do your next dive sightseeing and skip the hunting or photography until you are comfortable with the new gear. Accidents happen because you have exceeded your margin of error. Increase the safety margin by limiting your activities while reconfiguring gear.

4. The best divers have their buoyancy under control AT ALL TIMES. Good divers know about how much weight they need and do not exceed the amount of lead needed to just get off the surface. When you get off the boat with too much lead, you have to constantly adjust your BC as you change depth. In the event of an out of air emergency, you are going to be fighting to dump weight or drown. A good diver should be neutral at the bottom or slightly negative if you use Aluminum tanks. A diver that can't get off the surface because they are holding their breath and then crash the reef as they descend, needs to take a course in Peak Performance Buoyancy. All advanced activities like Photography or Spear fishing rely on good buoyancy control. More by you than your BC.