Ocean Diver certification-the perspective from a 50 year old anaesthetist
Having finally obtained my first certificate marking my journey to become proficient and safe in the underwater world, the club asked me to pen a few thoughts on why I, as an anaesthetist, would want to leave my comfort zone, and commence scuba diving. I was also asked to comment on whether there were similarities between scuba diving and my work place.
So, let me try and answer the first question first -why scuba diving? My preferred current sport is running. This is now reaching the end of its lifespan. My knees and ligaments are not quite the same as they were 5 years ago. I am now much more prone to muscular aches and pains. This has lead me to realise that I will not be able to do this sport indefinitely.
A number of my friends have always scuba dived. I was aware through them that the sport can be great fun. Plus the experience of entering the different underwater world is thrilling. For this reason I decided to explore the options of scuba diving training in the UK. Most of my friends are PADI trained, so I initially spoke to the PADI centres. I soon realised that I could be “certified” in two weekends. However, there was a niggle.
I appreciated that whilst I would be certified much quicker with the PADI route. The downside was that the training would perhaps be ‘too fast’ , and I would not be able to remember everything.
As an anaesthetist I am very aware that it is necessary to repeatedly perform a task in order to develop the necessary mental pathways. I was therefore recommended to try the BSAC route.
The SISAC instructors
They have been great and have taught me in a manner that is similar to the way we teach novice anaesthetists. The ability to learn the elementary skills of scuba diving under the direction of seasoned divers has enabled me to learn from my mistakes in a safe and supervised manner. The use of the checklists and team briefings is again something that is being adopted in healthcare; as well as promoting safety this also creates team spirit and camaraderie. As an anaesthetist who regularly deals with the concepts of partial pressure, pressure, tidal volumes, oxygen toxicity and consumption, functional residual capacities etc, the ability to able to apply this in a new environment is exciting. But despite all this previous academic knowledge, I am amazed that by simply marginally altering the size of my breath, this has a direct impact on my underwater buoyancy!!
So, do I think BSAC is superior to PADI ?
Clearly yes. Are there similarities to my day job – again clearly yes. But the other thing that I do, is help novice anaesthetists write academic papers, and this is unpaid work. I do this, because it is fun and rewarding. The SISAC instructors, who are also volunteers, clearly enjoy the ability to pass their knowledge on to the next generation of underwater adventure seekers. It is plainly evident that they gain personal satisfaction from teaching new members of the club to not only be safe, but to enjoy the sport and this attitude explains the success of the club.
How about me?
Think you may wish to join Nick and embark on an aventure? You can contact SISAC on 01480 70 80 29 or come along to a club meeting held on Sundays. Alternatively complete the contact form
Diving or Snorkelling as a Gift
Alternatively if Diving is a step too far why not prepare yourself and someone close to Snorkel. We will teach you the skills to stay safe and enjoy the joy of the underwater world. Snorkelling courses are conducted in the safe environment of a swimming pool. All attendees have stated that the course increases their confidence in the water.
SISAC organise Skill Developement Courses throughout the dive year to suit all qualifications. We welcome non-members to join us. Why not contact us for a schedule of the next courses. Call 01480 708029 or complete the contact page.
SISAC (St Ives Sub Aqua Club) is affiliated with BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club). We accept already qualified divers from other agencies and divers returning to the sport after a break.