I’m A Tech Diver – Now what?
This article was written by new Tech Diver Daniel Stolte, who brings some interesting new perspectives to the concept of being a “techie.”
What is technical diving, really?
Ask any SCUBA diver this question, and you are likely to get a different answer each time. Some say going deeper and longer than the limits imposed to us by the tables that came with our Open Water SCUBA instructional package makes a dive a technical dive. Others are more specific and bring up pursuits like mixed-gas diving, decompression diving, cave diving, wreck penetration, or ice diving. The place you dive at can make a difference, too.
In some parts of the world, strapping on a back plate and wing buoyancy control device in place of a jacket-style BC is enough to elicit raised eyebrows, followed by the question, “So, you’re a technical diver, huh?” For some, technical diving represents forbidden territory, making those who enter it outlaws who engage in unsafe diving techniques. This view has led some divers, especially those new to the sport, to wonder whether tech diving, in a way, is a pursuit that is somehow “wrong.”
In my view, there is nothing wrong with technical diving at all. One could even question the entire semantics of the “recreational” vs. “technical” diving debate. After all, all the tech divers I have met pursue their passion in their spare time and for fun, which to me equals recreation. When I ride my mountain bike along a trail that is considered “very technical,” would that prompt me to say “This morning, I’m going tech riding. Anyone up for joining me?”—How ridiculous would that be? For the sake of practicality, this article assumes the most common definition of technical diving, namely types of diving that exceed recreational limits and take place in overhead environments with an either real or virtual ceiling or both.
Whether I’m penetrating a shipwreck, scootering into an underwater cave or extending my depth and/or bottom time to a point that no longer permits a straight ascent to the surface without completing deco stops at prescribed depths and time to purge the nitrogen from the body, the most common denominator setting recreational diving apart from technical diving is that in the former, I can always go to the surface if something goes wrong, while in the latter, I need to be able to solve any problem under water, at depth.
“I’m so much cooler than you – I’m a techie now” – Um, really? Keep Reading