We all want to gain valuable experience in diving. But how do you do that as a newbie? Often new divers are treated as though they have some incurable disease, well this is true...it is known as intimdated-diver-osis. They are simply intimidated by more experienced divers yet want the valuable knowledge we possess. So here are some simple suggestions to get the ball rolling for some.
Newbies: DO NOT be intimidated by experienced divers, they don`t know everything regardless of how they appear or spout their vast knowledge.
DO talk to experienced divers, their knowledge might spark an interest in gear, continued diving education, specific dive sites, friends, or even save your life.
Network! Divers at all experience levels need to network. We never know when someone just needs a buddy (thanks divebuddy.com), a place to stay on an excursion, casual meet-up, a favor (I`ve used these and so have others), or an entire list of other things.
NEVER simply take one person`s word for it if it sounds like a fish story...especially if it involves your life. Do your research and find out the facts, education is paramount in diving. You will find that this applies to gear, purchases, classes, etc.
If you see an unfamiliar or interesting piece of gear on an experienced diver, be sure to ask about it...you might learn something new or even be offered an opportunity to try it out for yourself. (I offer up my split fins to skeptics and have been threatened to not get them back) I find that allowing someone to try a piece of gear only broadens their options for diving education and equipment purchases. That`s why I love the DUI dry suit rally!
DO develop good dive habits, regardless of what you see experienced divers doing. Plan your dive, dive your plan, log your dive. Ultimately, be safe.
Veteran divers: DO NOT simply brush off newbies because you don`t want to be a babysitter. Newbies can not learn how to be a good dive buddy without someone being the example for them to follow.
DO set the example for newbies. So you dive without your snorkel and think no one will notice or maybe you solo dive. Bet there`s a new diver just dying to ask you why with the thought "that`s not what I was taught". Be prepared to answer those types of questions, but don`t be offended when they come up.
DO pride yourself on your diving experience. It has taken time to develop what you have learned to this point and newbies need to understand that you can not rush things in diving because that`s how accidents occur.
DO retain your manuals (as much as possible), you never know when another diver may need to borrow one. A PADI DM student recently needed PADI DM manuals, but was tight on funds. Since I retained them and eventually went SSI, I gladly helped out that candidate.
DO let newbies take the lead once in a while. It builds trust and character. If you can not trust them to lead, how can you trust them to follow? If it is a new location for the new diver, you lead out, but let the newbie lead back when possible. Some new divers may not be comfortable leading a dive, but try to encourage it within their comfort level.
In all, as divers we all need to be there for each other. Once we break the surface to descend below, those land-dwellers are of absolute minimal use to us. We only have one another to depend on...and the aquatic life. Protect yourself, your local aquatic life, and be someone`s Dive Buddy!