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Featured Author // June 6, 2019

How to Face your Fears in Scuba Diving

 

underwater

 

The sea holds many new experiences; these can be both wonderful and terrifying. Even more daunting can be the fears we face within ourselves in learning to dive: failure and rejection are always close when we challenge ourselves. 

But we know a lot about fear and how to face it!

“Feeling the fear and doing it anyway” 

Fear is powerful, but it is transient. It appears from nowhere and disappears when exposed. Fear feeds on doubt and uncertainty. It creates an illusion that it is bigger than it really is. For these reasons, the core principle in overcoming any fear is to face it. But be aware, sometimes fear is a justified warning bell that needs to be heeded. It may be advising you of a real threat. Or perhaps reminding you that you are not prepared, or fit, for the dive. 

Change what you do

Psychological research shows that overcoming fear is not simply about exposing yourself to the source. Getting close to fear is important. Putting yourself in the situation is essential if you want to break the grip of fear. However, to truly go beyond fear, you must change what you do when it shows up.  Instead of avoiding the fear through distraction, numbing or worry, your effort can be used to take actions that make a difference.

Build scuba skills to remove fear

Remove your fears by building scuba skills

If fear thrives on uncertainty, it withers in competence.  Competence comes from learning and practicing skills. If you know you are capable of responding the potential challenges of diving, then there is less reason to fear.  If you fear a leaking mask, the answer is not to dive deeper, blindly fighting fear. Instead the solution would be to seek professional support and work on your mask clearing skills. 

So, be brave, but don’t tough it out when learning 

Draw on your courage in facing fears and you will see the benefits.  But remember, the thinking parts of our brain go offline when we are excessively stressed. To learn skills effectively, we need to stay connected.

If you find yourself overly stressed in training, take a break, ask for more support and additional time. Skills can be broken down into smaller steps.  You can always go back to the swimming pool for practice, to develop confidence and competence. The PADI system of education is built to aid you in this development. 

Feel the fear.  Change what you do. But most of all, learn the skills you need to rise to challenges in your diving and face your fears with confidence. Again, and again, and again.

 

Source: https://www2.padi.com/blog/2019/02/06/how-to-face-your-fears-in-scuba-diving/

AUTHOR BIO:

Dr Laura Walton is a Clinical Psychologist and PADI IDC Staff Instructor with a fascination for the psychology of diving. Visit scubapsyche to learn more about our behaviour as divers.

Chris White // May 2, 2019

The Most Rewarding Training Experience

 


Diver rescue

 

Divers often describe PADI’s Rescue Diver course as the most rewarding of all their training experiences. Becoming a Rescue Diver not only teaches you how to prevent dive accidents and emergencies — and how to manage them should they arise — but it also consolidates your skills and experience from earlier courses, making you a more confident and accomplished diver. More than any other course, Rescue Diver training increases awareness of the dive environment and the factors that affect diver safety. Learning how to interpret and react to those factors makes the course both fulfilling and fun. It is designed for anyone interested in expanding on the basic rescue skills that they learned in their entry-level courses, with the goal of becoming equipped to help themselves and others in an emergency situation. It is also a mandatory step in becoming a PADI professional. There are a few prerequisites to enrolling in the course: potential Rescue Divers must be at least 12 years old, and have completed their PADI Adventure Diver certification with Underwater Navigation as a mandatory specialty. In addition, candidates must have undergone EFR Primary and Secondary training within the last 24 months, although this can be done in conjunction with the Rescue course. The Rescue course will teach you how to adapt the skills learned during EFR training to situations pertinent to diving.

 

Diver rescue

 

Unlike previous courses, the Rescue Diver course involves relatively little time spent underwater. Instead, there are two main components, the first of which is a theory section comprised of five knowledge reviews and a final exam. Divers will explore a range of topics including the psychology of rescue, recognizing diver stress, and preparing an emergency assistance plan for a specific dive site. The second component of the course is devoted to skill mastery. While that may not sound particularly interesting, this section involves a lot of teamwork and role-play, which demands constant awareness and quick thinking. The skill sequences are challenging, adrenalin-inducing and above all, fun. The practical section of the course is divided into three sections: self-rescue skills, ten rescue exercises and two rescue scenarios. The self-rescue skills are basic and should be familiar from earlier courses; they include cramp release, establishing positive buoyancy at the surface and using an alternative air source. As simplistic as these skills may seem, they are effective ways of alleviating problems that without proper attention could become far more severe. Much of the Rescue Diver course is dedicated to preventing accidents from happening in the first place or to mitigating them in their early stages. It is always preferable to avert an emergency rather than to face one.

 

Diver rescue

 

The ten rescue exercises are the backbone of the course, and teach individuals how to react to a variety of potential accidents or scenarios. They include learning how to appropriately assist tired and panicked divers, how to respond to distressed divers from shore and underwater, the most efficient ways to search for a missing diver, proper exiting techniques, and how to administer oxygen and in-water rescue breaths. Mastery of these skills could one day mean the difference between tragedy and survival; by knowing how to perform them effectively you become equipped to save lives. Your instructor will have assistants simulate these scenarios at any given time throughout the course, often without warning. You will be expected to react to them quickly and efficiently, as if the accident had occurred in real life. The skills that you learn as a result of this training will be put to the test in the rescue scenario section of the course, when you will be required to react to an unresponsive diver at the surface and an unresponsive diver underwater, performing the necessary steps for a rescue from start to finish.

 

Most divers who complete their Rescue Diver training will never have to provide assistance in the aftermath of a dive accident. Thankfully, serious dive accidents happen with a scarcity that means the most valuable skills divers take away from their training are normally preventative ones, such as recognizing and managing diver stress or eliminating vertigo before it becomes a problem. However, knowing that you are able to cope with an emergency not only makes you a better buddy, but also a generally more confident, capable diver. It is important not to let your newfound skills stagnate; keep them up to date and refreshed with frequent practice. That way, whatever situations arise, you will be sufficiently equipped to deal with them in the safest and most effective way possible.


Diver rescue

Divers often describe PADI’s Rescue Diver course as the most rewarding of all their training experiences. Becoming a Rescue Diver not only teaches you how to prevent dive accidents and emergencies — and how to manage them should they arise — but it also consolidates your skills and experience from earlier courses, making you a more confident and accomplished diver. More than any other course, Rescue Diver training increases awareness of the dive environment and the factors that affect diver safety. Learning how to interpret and react to those factors makes the course both fulfilling and fun. It is designed for anyone interested in expanding on the basic rescue skills that they learned in their entry-level courses, with the goal of becoming equipped to help themselves and others in an emergency situation. It is also a mandatory step in becoming a PADI professional. There are a few prerequisites to enrolling in the course: potential Rescue Divers must be at least 12 years old, and have completed their PADI Adventure Diver certification with Underwater Navigation as a mandatory specialty. In addition, candidates must have undergone EFR Primary and Secondary training within the last 24 months, although this can be done in conjunction with the Rescue course. The Rescue course will teach you how to adapt the skills learned during EFR training to situations pertinent to diving.

Diver rescue

Unlike previous courses, the Rescue Diver course involves relatively little time spent underwater. Instead, there are two main components, the first of which is a theory section comprised of five knowledge reviews and a final exam. Divers will explore a range of topics including the psychology of rescue, recognizing diver stress, and preparing an emergency assistance plan for a specific dive site. The second component of the course is devoted to skill mastery. While that may not sound particularly interesting, this section involves a lot of teamwork and role-play, which demands constant awareness and quick thinking. The skill sequences are challenging, adrenalin-inducing and above all, fun. The practical section of the course is divided into three sections: self-rescue skills, ten rescue exercises and two rescue scenarios. The self-rescue skills are basic and should be familiar from earlier courses; they include cramp release, establishing positive buoyancy at the surface and using an alternative air source. As simplistic as these skills may seem, they are effective ways of alleviating problems that without proper attention could become far more severe. Much of the Rescue Diver course is dedicated to preventing accidents from happening in the first place or to mitigating them in their early stages. It is always preferable to avert an emergency rather than to face one.

Diver rescue

The ten rescue exercises are the backbone of the course, and teach individuals how to react to a variety of potential accidents or scenarios. They include learning how to appropriately assist tired and panicked divers, how to respond to distressed divers from shore and underwater, the most efficient ways to search for a missing diver, proper exiting techniques, and how to administer oxygen and in-water rescue breaths. Mastery of these skills could one day mean the difference between tragedy and survival; by knowing how to perform them effectively you become equipped to save lives. Your instructor will have assistants simulate these scenarios at any given time throughout the course, often without warning. You will be expected to react to them quickly and efficiently, as if the accident had occurred in real life. The skills that you learn as a result of this training will be put to the test in the rescue scenario section of the course, when you will be required to react to an unresponsive diver at the surface and an unresponsive diver underwater, performing the necessary steps for a rescue from start to finish.

Most divers who complete their Rescue Diver training will never have to provide assistance in the aftermath of a dive accident. Thankfully, serious dive accidents happen with a scarcity that means the most valuable skills divers take away from their training are normally preventative ones, such as recognizing and managing diver stress or eliminating vertigo before it becomes a problem. However, knowing that you are able to cope with an emergency not only makes you a better buddy, but also a generally more confident, capable diver. It is important not to let your newfound skills stagnate; keep them up to date and refreshed with frequent practice. That way, whatever situations arise, you will be sufficiently equipped to deal with them in the safest and most effective way possible.

Featured Author // March 22, 2019

Be Confident, You Can Breathe Underwater!

Do you remember your first dive? Maybe you were excited,nervous, or even a bit scared.  However you felt, it was a new experience for you. Taking the plunge took confidence. As a human, you have always known you are not capable of breathing underwater.  It is a fact.  Humans cannot breathe underwater.  Except, we can and we do!

Scuba divers have the confidence to breathe underwater.  But what is confidence, and can diving really affect it? 

Diving gives you confidence
Diving takes and makes confidence

People often think that to be confident means that you are not afraid.  It doesn’t.  The word “confidence” means “with faith”. So having confidence means to do something with faith in yourself.  Everything you do (and don’t do) has an impact on the image you have of yourself and your abilities.

Learning to scuba dive might have been something you never dreamed you could do!  For you to find that out that it was possible took confidence, because you had to trust your abilities. That one leap into the unknown creates a shift in perspective that can completely change how you see yourself:

“if I can breathe underwater, what else could I do?”

Learning to diving gives you confidence
Scuba diving shatters the limits

People create limits. Some limits are useful, such as maximum depths for specific qualifications and no decompression limits. Or choosing to set personal limits and dive conservatively, which may be helpful to ensure safety.  But some limits are less useful. Psychological limits that are built to protect a person, at one time, later become barriers that get in the way of development.  These barriers are often fixed beliefs about ability and personal traits.  For example, have you ever thought “I’m good at this, I’m not good at that”, or “someone like me can’t do this”.  It is possible to get tangled up in these barriers!

The things we do as scuba divers have the potential to put a lot of pressure on this fixed way of thinking about ability. Learning to dive is challenging, and rising to challenge is essential for growth. It can sometimes break into those fixed beliefs and demonstrate that you can develop ability and change what you do.  Whether that is increasing your strength, understanding the physics of scuba diving, or perhaps the fundamental realisation that you are capable of learning!

 “I can’t do that”, becomes “I can’t do that YET!”.

When you understand that skills can be learning through training and practice, the limits that are shattered are the barriers you had placed on yourself.

Shatter your barriers with diving
Scuba diving demands confidence  

Learning to dive means taking a leap that you may never have taken before: A giant stride! But it can also be a source to grow in confidence and can shift your whole perspective on who you think you are and what you believe you are capable of doing.   

You are a diver, you can breathe underwater! Be confident. 

AUTHOR BIO:

Dr Laura Walton is a Clinical Psychologist and PADI IDC Staff Instructor with a fascination for the psychology of diving. Visit scubapsyche to learn more about our behaviour as divers.

Source: https://www2.padi.com/blog/2018/12/18/be-confident-you-can-breathe-underwater/

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