Join The Dark Side

Join the dark side, a popular diving phun referring to the dark side of the force in the Star Wars universe, riddled with mystique, black uniforms, supernatural powers (used for evil of course).

Most people have heard of Star Wars or it's iconic villain Darth Vader, if you haven't you probably don't have internet and live in a hut. Vader like other users of the dark side of the 'force' once good, and tempted by the power of the dark side are now ruled by it.

Just a harmless bit of Diving fun right?

Yeah sure, it is, and let's face it, it's pretty fooking cool!

However it can re enforce a problem we are seeing in technical and especially Rebreather diving.

YOU F*CK THIS UP, you're gonna die!

A well known Rebreather diver once told me "You're not a Jedi, There is no Darkside, You F*ck This Up, you're gonna die!" What he was referring to was the behaviour of divers who dive Rebreathers, those who demand solitude in their preparation phase (good idea! don't let anyone disturb you) and then fail to engage with other divers afterwards, or those that consider themself superior, or elitist.

At Matrix we teach all CCR divers to give any other diver we dive with a quick run through on how our unit works, what to do in event of a problem, and most importantly how to do a rescue lift. It doesn't matter if they are a single cylinder diver, or a full trimix multi stage badass. They all get the same quick intro. Don't assume because they are a CCR dive they know how to operate your unit!!

The Buddy system works on paper, often not in practice. That doesn't mean the buddy system is broken, it means that our mind-set and behaviour is broken.

Why are Rebreather divers getting in trouble, jumping in with alarms going of, not being helped in the water by others, what culture do we live in where we don't look out for one and other anymore?


Who's to blame?

We can't blame Brexit for this one sorry chaps ha ha ha. Ok who then? The diver? The instructor who taught him? The IT who taught the instructor? The Dive school or Club not enforcing a good ethos? The agency for not putting it in the course or letting their instructor get away with too much crap? How about all of the above?

  • - As a diver you have the responsibility to be aware of others around you, their equipment, their potential in water needs. You're also responsible to make sure THEY know YOUR needs.....isn't that why you start the dive with an S-Drill?
  • - As an instructor you have the responsibility to ensure your students know that 1) they shouldn't drown 2) they shouldn't get bent 3) they can solve problems underwater with/without aid. It's also your responsibility to train them to be functional members of the diving society, to communicate, to be open, to speak, to ask, to be aware and socially aware and responsible. So when you teach an entry level CCR diver don't you think it's a good idea to do some practical rescue lifts? Not just talk about it? In RAID this is mandatory, NICE!
  • - As an IT you need spank your instructors who miss the above, and add this into the training, don't be in such a rush to make more instructors.
  • - As a dive centre or club we can impose a healthy ethos around training, diving, and set some good protocols. My first dive club insisted on rescue refreshers every 6 months.....good idea no?
  • - As an Agency, well we can put some of this stuff in the standards and instructor manuals. Unfortunately most of the course material out there dates back from the day where people wouldn't look at a CCR until the point where they had survived the natural selection of OC Technical diving, and as such, knew how to react and look after each other (even if they weren't in trim, they were probably better divers overall that we are these days)

Your Rebreather Is Trying To Kill You!

Bloody hell, steady on there champ! Arguably the most inaccurate statement in existence, when one is referring to modern rebreathers with a CE stamp on them.

When a Rebreather passes a CE test, it's basically certified for use as a life support system, meaning it's trying to keep you alive!

You're more likely to kill yourself with poor maintenance, scrubber over use, lack of essential skill practice, buying cheaper cells from 3rd parties, or any of these idiotic practices that practitioners of the 'Dark Side' seem to talk about a lot on various forums.

"I'm part of the Dark Side, so experienced that I don't need a check list"

Yeah right, so next time you get in a plane flying to New York you are happy if your co pilot goes to sleep and your captain does the pre flight check from memory, right?

Check lists are not for beginners, the human brain is too efficient for it's own good, it will find shorter more efficient ways of doing it, and it will self validate by the measurement of success.

i.e. skip something, get away with it = ta da! it's safe

Stick with your checklist, some units even have them build in! But we don't like those units because they "don't let us dive" right?

C'mon wake up and smell the roses, don't accept poor training, don't accept poor practices, from yourself or from others, and you are very very likely to be around for a very long time!

And if you really wanna compare yourself to someone from the Star Wars Universe....why can't it be a Jedi? At least they are disciplined, cautious and measured.

Welcome to the Light Side ;) Make Yoda Proud Man!
End of rant....