Why Dive a Computer? – Dive Planning!
SKubaSteve - 12/03/2013 3:01 PM
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Why Dive a Computer? – Dive Planning!Another beautiful shot by Mika Hiltunen – thanks for sharing Mika!

I’m a gear-o-phile. Okay now that we got that out of the way…

Dive computers are a great addition to your dive system. When a diver on a limited budget asks me what they should purchase first, a dive computer is always high on the list (usually right below regulators – but every situation warrants some thought). I don’t sell diving computers, I don’t get commission when one a diver buys one but I’m passionate about getting divers into computers.

And here’s why…
  • Increased dive time
  • Safety
  • Dive planning
  • Gas mixture programming
  • Dive logging
  • Convenience

Dive Planning

I want to begin by saying that I understand the how the tables work; where they came from and why they work the way they do. We teach the tables to our students who work through their open water dives on them. I believe that we should continue teaching the tables rather than solely relying on computers for training and I don’t think we should dive our computers with blind faith.

SKuba Steve on Vacation

For Dive #1 of the day it’s not too bad. Pull out the table look at his planned depth, figure out how long he can stay, work out a contingency plan and off he goes! Planning Dive #2 is now a word problem with multiple variables.

Imagine… SKuba Steve on a 26 foot dive boat with a group of divers just big enough to cram every corner with gear and bodies. He’s just surfaced from the Frogfish Dive in installment one of this series, his gear is off and he’s basking in the warm caribbean sun. What a day! Oh…but he needs to get ready for dive two in 45 minutes as the boat changes locations.

The good news for SCUBA divers today is that many dive computers provide a planning mode that allows you to enter the expected surface interval and the parameters of your next dive and they will provide you either your max depth or your max bottom time for your next dive. You can easily adjust any of these parameters to get the best outcome for your diving situation.

Once you’ve entered the information you can adjust each of the variables to get the most out of your next dive easily without flipping from table to table.
  • Need more bottom time? Adjust your surface interval or maximum depth.
  • Need to go deeper to get to the wreck? Adjust your surface interval or bottom time.
  • Need to get back in the water quick? Adjust your bottom time or depth.
All of these calculations can be done quickly and easily while your computer takes into account your previous dives.

Your dive computer is a convenient and easy way to stay on top of your dive planning prior to your first dive and throughout the dive day. Yes, it’s a convenience not a necessity, but that’s exactly the point of this series on why I use a dive computer. One great reason is that our modern dive computers make recreational dive planning simple. With a good dive computer and an understanding of the dive tables you can plan your dive day quickly with confidence and get back to that surface interval tanning!

Let us know how you like to plan your dives!

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The surface interval’s over … get out there and dive!

SKuba Steve

© 2013 Stephen Krausse – All rights reserved.