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To solo or not to solo?
captn_rob - 9/12/2017 9:39 AM
Category: General
Replies: 9

For the record, as a newly certified novice diver I have no intention to solo dive at this point but I like the idea of being self-sufficient and once properly experienced, trained and equipped - who knows?
captn_rob - 9/12/2017 10:03 AM
"Some divers, such as instructors, are effectively acting as self-sufficient divers because they dive with students who may not yet be capable of rescuing them.[5] Others, such as underwater photographers and videographers, dive solo as this allows them a greater opportunity to focus on capturing selected images and not having to rely on buddies to remain close at hand. Even those photographers or videographers who do dive with buddies are often effectively "same ocean" buddies, implying they may be far enough apart physically, or sufficiently focused on their camera-related tasks, to be ineffective as a designated dive buddy—just as if they were diving in the same ocean, but not together. This practice has led to many highly experienced underwater photographers diving solo, since they don’t commit to provide timely support to a buddy nor expect such support from a buddy.[4] Underwater hunters also often elect to dive solo in order to focus on their prey.

Solo diving, once considered technical diving and discouraged by most recreational diver certification agencies as more dangerous than buddy diving, is now considered by many experienced divers and some certification agencies[1] to be an acceptable practice for suitably trained, equipped, and competent recreational divers,[6] and by some other agencies to be occasionally inevitable.[7] Rather than relying on the traditional buddy diving safety system, solo divers are self-sufficient and willing to take responsibility for their own safety while diving.[5][1] The first training agency to offer a Solo Diving certification was Scuba Diving International (SDI) in 1999. In 2011, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) started offering a solo specialty called "Self-Reliant Diver",[8] which in many respects (entry requirements, for example) is very similar to the course offered by SDI."
DiverfromBaskingRidge - 9/12/2017 10:58 AM
You dont have to dive solo to be self-sufficient.

Get more dives in and critique yourself on what you did, did not do, and what you could have done better. Self-sufficient in my eyes is about being a better diver, better buddy, and understanding the risks inherent in a new dive site, using new equipment or some other dive experience that you have not come across previously. Anyone that wants to be in the sport long term needs to become self-sufficient in my opinion.
JeffNColdWater - 9/12/2017 3:13 PM
I agree with the prior comment. There is a big difference between solo and self-sufficient. And that you’ll need to get a lot more experience before you should even consider it. IMHO you should at least be a rescue diver and have taken the equipment specialty before thinking about going solo. You probably should have upgraded your gear at least once. Most solo divers that I know dive several times a month if not several times a week. But the need to be self-sufficient can arise from just about any ’standard’ dive.

In the last 6 months I’ve had 3 different dives turn into self sufficient (solo) dives in the blink of an eye. The first was when my buddy had an uncontrolled ascent from 60’ in only 10’ of vis. I was in the water solo for 6 minutes before I was able to safely surface. Second was a drift dive where I was separated by the current. I was able to join up with another buddy team but three’s a crowd. Last situation I had a bad buddy that just bolted on me. In that instance I did finish the dive solo because risk of fowling and minimal and the dive was pretty shallow. Not to mention vacations where I’ve just had an under-trained buddy.

So with all that said, clearly I think the self-sufficiency class is well worth the time as is a redundant air source. Sooner or later just about every diver will need to be self reliant. But I simply don’t like to solo dive. 10-12 hours of bottom time in a given year is just not worth the added risk to me. There are numerous boards and clubs out there and buddy’s are easy to find.
captn_rob - 9/12/2017 4:01 PM
Thanks for the replies.

As I said in the OP I have no intention of diving alone at this point but maybe once I have the skills, experience, and training I may. I’m not really a social person (although I can be) and like to do things alone. Many of my previous hobbies were things that most people wouldn’t do at all much less solo like winter camping in the Montana mountains or Maine backcountry where I would be many miles from help if anything went wrong and totally dependent on my skills, experience, and equipment.
Agojo - 9/13/2017 8:02 AM
If you are more than the breath in your lungs from the surface or your buddy you are a solo diver!
FtMyersTom - 9/16/2017 12:37 PM
At 1 time I was interested in the training simply to improve my skills and be a more "self reliant" diver.
But with my age and arthritis problems it’s just not worth the time and cost involved. Since I never have a dive buddy on hand I always have to buddy up with strangers. It is good and bad. The good is I always adapt to each diver I dive with and if they have better skills than me it actually improves my skills. The bad is if they are less experienced I tend to pay more attention to them and not get as much out of my dive and work on my skills. The thought briefly crossed my mind that I could jump off a boat without a buddy but as part of a group of divers on a charter. I learned that unless a dive master was leading that group I would not be allowed to jump in without a dive buddy on every charter I have been on but 1. That was the M V Spree live a board in the keys. If you had the cert you could do as you please. Most places I have traveled to in the Caribbean requires you to have a buddy to get tanks to shore dive. Could I lie, probably, but I just didn’t want the hassle and risk a dive shop knowing I lied and not let me have tanks.

So as I said in the beginning, it is good training to improve your skills but that’s where it ends. If I was younger when I took up diving I would be hungry for knowledge and ability like everything else I have done in my life. But now time and wear and tear has limited my ability and I’m satisfied to accomplish what I have in only a few years diving.
captn_rob - 9/20/2017 8:28 AM
Another reason to be a self-reliant diver.