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#1712
Solo Diving
slippin2darknezz - 2/12/2011 4:06 PM
Category: Training
Replies: 18

SDI offers a solo diving certification. Do you think all agencies should offer some sort of solo diving certification? Many dive solo now without any formal training. Would it be an advantage to solo divers, helpful to those who prefer to dive solo especially on charters and certain dive sites?
#299
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impilcature - 2/13/2011 5:38 AM
I really like that idea. I would take a solo diving class because of not only like what you said about charters but I have dived the same sites enough to know about them. I know where to go and where not to go and I could enjoy the scenery and not worry about a buddy. I know that having a buddy is "essential" when diving but I am a conservative diver and I don’t take risks so I really don’t see a reason not to dive solo. I wouldn’t stop buddy diving by any stretch of the imagination but if I could get all the pertinent information about solo diving needed I would feel better about doing it. I haven’t set out (ever) to do a solo dive but if I had training on things to keep in mind I would do it for sure.
#2901
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AOW_dude - 2/15/2011 12:24 AM
Good question. I doubt that’ll ever happen to ALL agencies, I hope you realize just how many agencies are out there. But as far as should there be at least one alternative to SDI course - definitely, yes. Make it a survey, see what you get. It is surprising that more agencies are still not on board with it, especially PADI (Put Another $ In), since there’s a ton of money to be made here for them. I mean, I will definitely get this cert when I’m ready, no doubt about it. And if my only option is SDI, then that’s what it’s gonna be. Hey, it’s well known that any instructor essentially is a solo diver, and a lot of non-pro divers dive solo without any solo cert, like you said. So I think it wouldn’t hurt to give us a real alternative here to the current SDI monopoly on this course, and I think it’ll happen, question is when.
To simplify, there seem to be 2 schools of thought on this subject.
  • One is (all other agencies): Solo Diving is not safe, period, so one way to discourage it is to not offer a course.
  • The other one is (SDI): divers that really wanna dive solo WILL dive solo anyway, so why not give those guys proper solo education and make them safer solo divers (after they put in at least 100 dives) and make some money in the process, it’s a win-win.
#1712
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slippin2darknezz - 2/15/2011 6:46 AM
No doubt the industry is money driven. I think of how many divers "don’t" dive simply because they don’t have a partner..and those who desire to dive and can’t find a partner do so anyway. Current evidence suggest there is no greater margin of safety with a buddy than diving solo with the proper training and equipment configuration. The jury is still out on this one..
#17195
LatitudeAdjustment - 2/15/2011 7:51 AM
 Even with a solo cert there are some boats that won’t allow solo diving and there are some dives I wouldn’t do solo anyhow like beach dives with high current and wrecks covered in fishing line.
#1712
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slippin2darknezz - 2/15/2011 10:59 AM


(Quote)..."I will probably never qualify to take the SDI course, even with over 100 solo dives. The requirement "Minimum certification of Advanced Diver or equivalent." will prevent me from meeting the prerequisites. There aren’t enough advanced courses that I’m interested in or that I’m not already proficient in. I’m not going to pay to take a bunch of courses just to get the cards so I can pay to take the advanced diver so I can pay to take the solo simply to get the card that will only be accepted by some dive operations. Way too much for far too little".


Here, I would tend to agree with you on this point of taking course that you are not interested in just to get to what you want to do.. I am sure this will lead to another topic also..The way the courses are structured..As far as charters who won’t honor a solo card..Guess they will come off the list of places to do business with for the solo diver.
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AOW_dude - 2/15/2011 2:13 PM
From EskimoBluDay: I dive almost exclusively solo.

I will probably never qualify to take the SDI course, even with over 100 solo dives.

With a bunch of solo dives under your belt and no solo cert, did you ever happen to get into any funky situations? Just wondering. And I don’t mean underwater, sounds like you’ve done your homework. I mean before or after the solo dive, like if you were ever denied access to the dive site because of diving solo with no cert?
#4236
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tazzer9797 - 2/22/2011 7:22 AM
I took the SDI solo course for 2 reasons..First off to me it’s all about self rescue and survival. If you add that to the rescue course it can only make one a better all around diver. And being the best diver for you and your buddy is really what it boils down to...Second there are a few times that just being on your own is great as well. I find it very relaxing to just swim around at my pace with no other worries. I dont solo dive all the time but I have the training and feel it made me a better safer diver. In the long run thats what its all about
#4236
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tazzer9797 - 2/22/2011 7:22 AM
I took the SDI solo course for 2 reasons..First off to me it’s all about self rescue and survival. If you add that to the rescue course it can only make one a better all around diver. And being the best diver for you and your buddy is really what it boils down to...Second there are a few times that just being on your own is great as well. I find it very relaxing to just swim around at my pace with no other worries. I dont solo dive all the time but I have the training and feel it made me a better safer diver. In the long run thats what its all about
#2231
MDW - 1/12/2012 3:13 PM
There is a (better) alternative to the SDI solo class: The PDIC solo class. It is a bit more extensive and rigorous (as most PDIC classes are compared to PADI, et. al.) and I believe has been out there longer as well. The real focus of any solo class should be self-reliance and safety (redundancy and the ability to self-rescue). Solo certification should be recommended to anyone who dives and has a reasonable amount of diving (couple hundred dives) under the belt, even if the diver has no intention of "solo diving" in their future. Why? Because more often that many would like to think, you really are solo diving even when you did not set out on a dive alone.
For example:
You and your buddy got separated during the dive. You are now both "solo" diving.
You boarded the boat with no buddy you already knew and were "assigned" a buddy who turns out to be a moron, a distracted photographer, or just plain inattentive to your presence. You are basically on your own with that buddy.
You jumped off the boat first and descended on the line. Until your buddy jumps in behind you and gets down to your level, you are solo. Same thing on the way out. When that buddy is on the ladder you are solo.
You are diving in a group of 4 or more people. Often larger groups or clubs all pile in together and don’t take the time to decide who is whose "official buddy" for this dive. Everyone is swimming around near each other, but is anyone really keeping an eye on you in particular? You are solo (in close proximity to others, perhaps, but still solo).
Your buddy runs out of air, gets cold, or for some other reason heads quickly to the surface. You have a deco obligation or just want to ascend at a slow rate and take a safety stop. You are now solo during this part of your dive.
#2231
MDW - 1/12/2012 3:37 PM
Here are some situations I’ve had related to solo diving (in case anyone cares).
Once on a shallow reef dive in Bermuda, I was assigned a dive buddy who seemed in good shape but was in his 50s and was used to warmer waters (FYI, Bermuda is not tropical, the water is about 70F). We had a nice dive, but it was kinda short because he got cold and wanted to get back on the boat. I swam with him back to the anchor line at 15’ and watched him ascend and go up the ladder. I then, being solo certified and confident in my abilities and the fact that the max depth was 25’ all around the area, continued my dive (because it was shallow, I had over half my air left). I went back to several areas that I wanted to see a bit more of, all withing 20 or 30 yards of the boat in clear water (the crew could most likely see my body, much less just my bubbles). I surfaced and boarded the boat about 20 minutes later, and the crew told me I was not allowed to solo dive. I told them I would not when I went out on their boat the next day. Moral: even if they have a policy against it, you might get away with it the first time if you do it first and ask about it second.

Second story:
I was diving in the quarry with a good sized group of about 8 or 9 divers. All of us are very familiar with the site and we just all got in together without discussion of pairing off (this often happens here... I like to call it "herd diving"). We all arrived at a particular attraction at which time I chose to do a swim-through and while I was out of sight, the group moved on. When I emerged 30 seconds later, they were gone, and I was not sure what direction they headed. I took a guess and headed to the next attraction I figured they would head to. I was mistaken because I got there and they were not there. I figured it was pointless to surface as one would normally do with a lost buddy, as no particular individual was my buddy and it was somewhat unlikely that anyone noticed one person was missing from the group. So I took a leisurely swim around, keeping my eyes peeled for the group in case I happened to stumble upon them. I did not, so I puttered around near the exit point until some other divers were getting out and I exited with them (because the staff will give you grief for solo diving if you have not registered with them before the planned solo dive). It was really no big deal because I am solo trained and always dive with a setup suitable for solo diving even when planning to dive with others. So I was all ready to switch from "herd diver" to "solo diver" when that situation was thrust upon me. No problem.
#4236
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tazzer9797 - 1/12/2012 4:08 PM
Hey mark.. I totally agree with what you are saying. When I took my SDI Solo course the Instructor who is also a friend sat down for 45 minutes or so before I signed up and paid for the course. He told me that he really wanted to talk about my dive level and my future. We have dove several times and he know all my qualifications. He made sure I had all the first aide courses up to date along with all the other stuff I needed. He was very tough on my dive book saying he wanted to see over the 100 dive mark. And the dives had to be of the quality level. Over the 100 ft level or salt water ocean dives made up the majority of them. He as well as myself dont write in pool dives or shallow dives. Saying this I have over 400 deep/ocean/ lake quality dives(stopped counting at 400). As for the training he was pretty tough on me. I take this sport very serious and I told him to be tough on me. I dont dive solo very often . When I started diving I said I want to be the best diver I can be so that my buddy knows I have his back... I DIVE SAFE , I DIVE WITH REDUNDANT EQUIPMENT AND I ALWAYS DIVE WITHIN MY TRAINING AND SKILL LEVEL....
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#1569
MAC431 - 3/11/2012 11:45 AM
PADI has it own version of Solo Diver, it is called Self-Reliant Diver. I am a PADI & SDI/TDI Instructor and I teach both courses. Both courses basically teach you the same thing, how to be self sufficient and a better buddy.