Author Archive

Disabled Divers International

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Aside from addressing the challenges inherent in teaching those with disabilities, taking the Disabled Divers International (DDI) course after working as a dive instructor for a few years was a way to expand my knowledge and broaden my teaching abilities in general.

Launched in 2010, DDI is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote diving for disabled people as an activity that can help overcome fear and exclusion from society, as well as help those who may have difficulty socializing.

Just like any other diving organization, DDI has a list of affiliated members and dive centers, and several levels of certification. The programs are designed to work in conjunction with existing programs from other diving organizations. The diver could choose to be certified as an entry-level diver with DDI and also with PADI/SSI/NAUI to mention a few, as long as the student can accomplish what is required for each certification. As for dive pros, it’s very easy to add on a DDI instructor course if you’re already certified as an instructor from another organization; the crossover will only take a couple of days.

What will an instructor learn?

The educational material developed by Disabled Divers International provides support and information in order to deliver a safe and enjoyable diving experience for students faced with physical challenges. As mentioned above, the DDI website features a list of affiliated dive centers, as well as those that offer professional training for instructors.

As a dive professional, this was a completely different sensory experience compared to the diving I knew. My fellow classmates and I took turns at diving with a blacked-out mask or without using our legs. I had to rethink the way I do things, my position in the water, and my communication style, and try to work out things that I usually take for granted. I also found myself thinking about new ways to encourage people to dive and how to help them achieve diving skills.

As an instructor it might also be a challenge, after years of teaching the same courses, to learn entirely new ways to teach. Taking a DDI crossover course may enable you to offer diving to a wider audience, and may help you when it comes to teaching your regular classes too. This video shows an open water dive on Gili Air at Oceans 5, where I did the training, with a trained DDI instructor and a diver who has muscular dystrophy.

Whether or not you intend to teach students with disabilities, the training will no doubt make you a better instructor and, on the flip side, if there’s someone in your life with a disability, and they’re interested in diving, this may be just the ticket.

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Five Essential Knots Every Diver Should Know

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Ever had to attach a lift bag to an object during your dive training? Perhaps you’re just looking for somewhere to secure your hammock for a good nap after your dives. There are many practical applications when it comes to knot-tying and diving, not to mention that these skills can also be useful in everyday life. In diving, knots can help attach a load to an anchor, secure a surface marker or dock a boat. Categories of knots include hitches, stoppers, end loops or bends, to name just a few. Here’s a short list of five knots every diver should know.

Bowline

knot series : bowline bend

This is one of the easiest knots to learn, and it’s useful when it comes to securing a line around a fixed point or ring, or to create a loop at the end of a line. It can take a bit of practice to master and there are also a few ways to tie it. One of the best things about a bowline is that it cannot be undone when there is a load on the end of it, but it can be easily untied once the load is removed. Secured properly, it is a very strong knot for various purposes.

Figure 8

Knot on the rope

Often use to stop a line from sliding (a stopper knot), a figure 8 knot is very easy to tie and untie. Once tied, it looks like an eight, hence the name. It has several more complex variations like the double figure 8, which can be used for tethering an object like your pencil to your dive slate.

Sheet Bend

Sheet Bend Knot

This knot is used to tie two ropes or lines together, which makes it very useful in everyday life, not only when diving or boating. It can, for example, be used to extend an existing line. It works with ropes of different sizes as well, and stronger versions exist such as the double sheet-bend knot.

Square Knot (Reef Knot)

The square knot, also known as the reef knot, also allows two lines to be tied together very easily. To explain it simply, it is often compared to tying shoelaces. This knot itself is not the most resilient, but it is the base upon which to build a number of stronger knots, such as a granny knot or a surgical knot.

Double Half Hitch

knot series : round turn and two half hitch

Tying a few half hitches is the perfect way to tie a knot around an object, such as a torch to your BCD. To secure the load further there are endless variations of the half hitch or combination of several half hitches.

When it comes to tying knots, these are just a few of the basics. You’ll find plenty of tutorial videos online with detailed instructions. Let us know which knots you use most as a diver!

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