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Whilst usually it’s both more enjoyable and safe to dive with a buddy or as part of a team, for seasoned divers there can be occasions when it’s logistically easier or advantageous to dive alone. Examples include a dive professional dropping down ahead of a group to secure a descent line to a pinnacle or wreck. Likewise underwater photographers and videographers often make dreadful dive buddies if they are transfixed to the viewfinder of their camera rather than paying attention to others. In such instances, solo diving makes sense.
The PADI Self Reliant Diver Course is for experienced divers with proof of 100 logged dives.
The course usually runs over two days as follows:
You’ll first meet your instructor, complete some routine PADI paperwork and will head out aboard our dive boat to begin your solo diver training. En-route to the dive site you’ll be given a thorough briefing on the aims and objectives of the first dive. You will set up and check your dive equipment which will include a redundant air source. This may be a pony bottle, sling tank or full tech rig (if you have previous experience diving with a twin set).
The first training dive focuses on getting you comfortable with the new equipment, which is likely to affect your trim and buoyancy. We will check for correct weighting, fine tune your buoyancy skills, practice switching to your independent alternate air source, plus deploy a lift bag/delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB). And throughout the dive we will collect air consumption information to be used in later dive plans.
Then during the seond dive we will develop your skills as a self reliant diver, such as dive time, gas and depth awareness, honing your underwater navigation skills and making sure you are comfortable in the event of losing your mask (though it’s wiser to carry a spare).
During the morning we will review academic components of the course. Topics will include equipment requirements and configuration for solo diving, what backup equipment you require to dive alone responsibly and gas management considerations based on your air consumption. Using air consumption data collected during your first two dives, we’ll project this information into dive plans to calculate depth/time limits. We’ll also discuss problem management.
Then during the afternoon you will complete your final two training dives.
The first dive is an assessment that you possess the skills necessary to become a PADI Self Reliant (solo) Diver. You will need to plan your dive and dive your plan. Essential skills include monitoring your depth and time whilst responsibly managing your air supply.
At the end of the dive you will simulate catastrophic primary gas failure, switch your alternate air source and deploy your lift bag/DSMB, making a safe ascent with three minute safety stop.
Upon completion of training dive three you will have met the performance requirements of the course.
However, included in our course is one further training dive. Assuming everything has gone smoothly you’ll be able to make your first true solo dive. Or if there are areas you’d prefer to fine-tune, we can use this extra dive to further develop your self-reliant diver skills.
Posted in Diving Courses
Nico (Netherlands) and Luka (Germany) have completed their PADI Advanced Diver Course with instructor Karl here on Koh Tao. The [...]