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What is 'Technical Diving'?
The Term 'Tech Diving' was coined in the USA and nowadays the term can be used to describe a minority of divers doing diving vastly different from rec. diving. Aqua Corps a magazine dedicated to Tech Diving describes it as "A discipline that uses special methods and equipment to improve diver safety and performance, enabling the user to conduct dives in an environment and perform tasks beyond the scope of traditional recreational diving limits".
However under some definitions there are varying degrees of Tech Diving. A respected diving scholar John Bantin has listed a ten point Technical Diving Curve and to all intents and purposes it is a benchmark for what level of Technical diver you are. Or more commonly known as the...
Mark of The Tech Diver
The Mark Of The Tech Diver (MOTT) can sometimes be a broad one though, for the purposed of argument and keeping the Status Quo a true 'Tekkie' should be considered in the 7- 10 range. The MOTT is reproduced below...
1. Leisure Diver - Non Technical. Little equipment apart from the basics required. Usually simple and straightforward. Most divers are at this level.
2. Dry Suit Diver - Divers who use a dry-suit. Stepping into Tech diving territory.
3. Deco-Stop Diver - Organisations such as BSAC teach decompression techniques to its divers. Deco stops real or simulated are a signature of Tech Diving.
4. Nitrox Diver - Divers who breath gases of more than 21% O2 to lessen Narcosis and extend bottom time. Added hazard of O2 Toxicity.
5. Semi-Closed Rebreather - Less bubbles, longer bottom times and more forgiving than a Closed Circuit Rebreather. A good intro for divers wanting to move into CCR territory.
6. Regulator Switching Diver - A diver who uses a Twin Set/Doubles with independent Regs/Manifold. Also divers who carry pony bottles as a reserve.
7. Deep Divers - Tech Divers who go deeper than Recreational limits using tec deep diving techniques and equipment. This is where the true mark of Tech Diving begins.
8. Stage-Deco Divers - Considered by many to be the Zenith of Tech Diving. Utilising multiple cylinders, air, nitrox and 50 - 100% O2. Stage Deco techniques, serious planning and complex dive schedules are utilised.
9. Trimix Divers - The depth limitations of air diving are surpassed. A helium blend is added for reduced narcosis, reduced risk of CNS/O2 Tox. thus increasing depth further. Added deco-times, travel gas considerations and special training are needed, even for experienced tech divers.
10. Closed Circuit Rebreather Divers - Considered by some the most technical of all and a law unto itself outside open circuit and even Tech Diving. Very dangerous in untrained hands.