Scuba Refresher Course: Do You Need a Refresher?
Posted on 24/11/2019
Image @alfredminnaarphotography ⠀
For most people diving is rarely a frequent activity. It can be expensive, time-consuming and requires access to a body of water. Ideally somewhere warm, good visibility and with lots of marine life. The Gilis for example! As a result, many people tend to dive only as a holiday activity, with months to years between dives.
So, before your next holiday dive, do you need a scuba refresher course? After all, it’s pretty straight forward. You took the class; you earned the certification. All there is to do now is suit up, always breathe, swim, and enjoy the scenery right?
Well, scuba diving is like most skills: if you don’t use it, you lose it. You may remember the more important points, such as always breathing underwater. But there are often lessor skills that are forgotten. These smaller points are quite important as each one adds a layer of safety to make the dive as safe as possible. So, when do you need a scuba refresher and what would be covered?
When to take a scuba refresher?
At Manta, we require divers that have not dived in the last twelve months to take a refresher course. This somewhat varies with the diver’s experience. A more experienced diver will often remember more skills than a new diver with the same amount of inactivity. For this reason, we often suggest a new diver take a refresher if they haven’t dived in the past six months.
Why take a scuba refresher?
An important reason to take a refresher course is that it is done in a controlled environment. Everyone is different when it comes to being in the water. A competitive swimmer will likely feel more comfortable than someone who barely passed the swimming test for their open water course. A pool provides less experienced divers a safe environment to make mistakes. When done prior to your dives, it can also be used as a dress rehearsal to check equipment and weights.
Diving is a technical activity that requires a set of equipment to perform. As this equipment is your life support system underwater, it is important to know how they work! During a refresher course, the instructor will review how to properly assemble a scuba unit and perform pre-dive safety checks. As well as proper maintenance of equipment after a dive.
Aside from breathing from the regulator, there are various other skills that are taught in open water courses but are often forgotten. These are mostly emergency skills, skills that are not performed on normal dives, but important to know. Do you remember the proper procedure to share air? Or an emergency ascent? During a skill review an instructor will also go over less critical skills. These are important to know for the enjoyment of the dive, such as mask clearing and ear equalization.
Besides reviewing skills and equipment procedures, a refresher course is helpful in other ways.
A refresher is a great way for the instructor to review and gain more confidence in you. As a new face, an instructor has no idea how well you are trained or how confident you are underwater. By doing a refresher the instructor can help fine-tune potential issues and spot any bad habits that may have arisen over time. This makes the dive safer and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Like most things in this world, everything is forever changing. If it has been a really long time since you last dived, it is possible that things have changed from that time to new methods. This is particularly true with technology. A refresher course will help bring you up to speed with the newest diving technology, techniques, and etiquette.
What to expect at a Manta Refresher Course?
At Manta, a scuba refresher course is similar to a try dive. We will go over all the essential skills for diving. Before heading into the pool we will review the basics of setting up a scuba unit, what to look for and what to avoid. We will also review pre-dive safety buddy checks. Do you remember your BWRAF (“Because We Really Aren’t Fish” or “Burgers With Relish And Fries”, etc)? Well, you will after and you will be reminded before every dive with us!
Once in the pool, we will review basic skills from your open water course. Some skills reviewed include:
- Mask clearing and removal and replacing.
- Inflating and deflating BCD
- Regulator recovery
- Buoyancy control
- Out of air scenarios: using and providing alternate air sources
Depending on the diver’s abilities, the instructor may review other skills they feel are necessary. They may even go over blowing and shooting bubble rings! A great party trick to pass the time during safety stops!
Once out of the pool, the instructor will review how to rinse and maintain your dive equipment. Now you are ready to dive! We run refresher courses in the morning, allowing you to join the afternoon dive in the ocean later that day.
If it has been a while between your dives, do you need a scuba refresher course? We highly suggest it. A refresher course is more than swimming around. In the long run, it will help you build confidence in yourself and your fellow divers, making the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved. Enjoy your dive in the Gilis!
By Ran/ ranrambles