While volunteering at TRACC, I was able to up my dive certification to Rescue Diver. I had been thinking about doing it for a while and figured why not take advantage of the opportunity!
Almost 4 years ago, I went to Koh Tao on a whim and got my Open Water certification. I liked it so much that I decided to stay and get my Advanced. I mean if you’re going to go for it, you might as well go as far as possible with the time you have.
Since then, I’ve only been able to do a couple of dives each year.
I thought I was a lot more advanced than I really was though. No matter how much I would try and convince myself, I knew I was uncomfortable in the water.
My dive profiles were crap, my buoyancy needed so much work, and I couldn’t navigate to save my life!
When I first became certified, I knew the different precautions to take, but I didn’t realize just how important they were.
Talking with my dive instructor, she put it perfectly. Going through your Open Water course is basically just getting your feet wet. You are told what to do, but pretty much the basics are what really sink in.
Then you move on to Advanced where you are learning a little more about how you are as a diver, but still you have so much more to learn.
It wasn’t until I went through the Rescue course and dealt with scenarios that I actually realized how severe the sport really is.
I’m not saying this to scare anyone from trying. I’m saying it because there are a lot of things that can go wrong if you are unprepared and unaware.
I realize now the things I have been doing wrong in the past. This will not happen again!
What does a Rescue Diver have to do?
Becoming a Rescue Diver means you are making yourself more aware of what is going on around you not only underwater but on the surface as well.
Like I said before, there are a lot of things that can go wrong on a dive, but taking the Rescue course will teach you how to react appropriately and in a calm manner.
Panicking doesn’t help anybody especially the person you are trying to help….of course they are probably panicking already!
Remaining calm and assessing the situation is the first thing they teach you.
Stop Think Act.
Then you can go through all the proper motions to help out the diver in trouble by alerting the authorities, utilizing people around to you to help where they can i.e watching for bubbles on the surface, calling for help, bringing oxygen, etc, and getting the diver to safety.
Once we had gone through our study book and performed basic training, we began scenarios.
For a few days, every time we went out on a dive we had to be mentally prepared for whatever might happen. There were 2 other girls going through the course with me and all the dive masters were all participating in our training.
Whether it be a missing diver underwater or someone panicking on the surface, we had to be ready.
The first try was a throw away. We were scattered and unorganized. I think that is only natural, but afterwards we had a talk and became more mentally prepared.
After a couple of tries, me and the other 2 girls had proven we were worthy of becoming certified Rescue Divers!
I’ll be honest…..once I was certified I still only had about 35 dives under my belt. There were and are still many things for me to work on, but all things get better with practice and time.
After getting my certification, I still had 5 weeks left diving with TRACC. This was where I was really able to grow as a diver and paying more attention to my surroundings.
Now I have over 100 dives behind me, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
Now I am looking to go even further and get my Dive Master. Then who knows…..maybe Instructor!