Why all divers should take the Rescue course

So you don’t think the Rescue course is something you should do?

Rescue Scenario

Rescue Scenario

 If you dive, however little, think again. We all know that diving is a safe hobby but one that we also all recognise comes with some acceptable risks, and we still enjoy it anyway.

 However, even if your idea of a strenuous dive is being in your local lake in the cold and the rain, things don’t always go to plan and if the unexpected happens how will you cope? The majority of us will go through an entire dive “career” without encountering a problem but what would you do if your buddy developed cramp at 15 metres or if they were too tired to get themselves back to the boat after a dive.  

 The rescue course provides a refresher on these more basic skills, as well as looking in more detail at self-rescue, and problem prevention (usually these sessions are done in a comfortable pool environment). It’s not all about dealing with panicked divers and getting unconscious divers back to the surface. You will learn these skills as part of the course, but you build up to them gradually rather than being chucked in the deep end – “literally”!

 The main benefit of the course is that it increases your confidence in the water by a mixture of reminders of the basics

Divers relaxing between scenarios

Divers relaxing between scenarios

and by providing strategies for dealing with any small problems that may occur. As with any PADI course there is a mixture of classroom, pool and open water sessions which do all lead to the final scenarios in which almost anything can happen! However, these too are carried out in a “safe” environment where the aim is to put into practice what you have learned and not set traps for you to fall into.

For many people this last day of the course is the most exhilarating.  The whole day is very exciting and time passes in a flash.  At the end of the day most people are quite drained both physically and emotionally, but at the same time immensely satisfied with what they have achieved.

 So what is involved?

Divers practising surface skills

Divers practising surface skills

As with many PADI courses there is a certain amount of flexibility in the structure and content of the courses and in many schools the pool session is rolled into the lake work and instead of an afternoon at the pool followed by a weekend at the lake, the whole thing is condensed into one day.  So in selecting the school you would like to do this course with, either in the UK or overseas, please ensure you check the course content and timescales..  The following describes the “ideal” course

Day one is spent in the classroom working through the principles of rescue and what you can do to deal with, and also how to prevent accidents.  You will also watch a  DVD so that you can see how to perform the skills.  Different to many courses there is also an amount of discussion on best techniques and approaches.  You might even get to assemble and use the oxygen kit.

 This is usually followed by a session in the pool where you will get a chance to show the teaching staff how good your self rescue and general diving skills are, (if things are a little rusty, and that is usually the case,  there is usually time for a refresher).

 This session also introduces some of the practical rescue skills such as dealing with tired and panicked divers, and dealing with non-responsive divers both on the surface and on the bottom of the pool. This is often the bit the staff enjoy most and I’ve witnessed a number of potentially Oscar winning performances as “drowning man”.
All joking apart, the session does provide the opportunity for all students to practice until they feel confident about the skills – as well as being fun.
The final part of the course should be a weekend in the lake (see earlier comments about times), with the first day being

Diver being helped from the water

Diver being helped from the water

used to practice the same skills learned in the pool, but this time  in open water. There is also the opportunity to practice lifts and tows, and time to practice throwing various items at the staff in the water in an attempt to drag them to the shore, or provide flotation while we send in divers to assist.   At this point some schools will put their money where their mouth is by performing a “perfect” rescue scenario, to show you the standards that you should aspire to achieve during the final scenarios on day two.

As a finale the students then also get chance to walk through a similar scenario which always provides food for thought overnight.

 The second day is when all the skills are put into practice with a number of varied and realistic scenarios being acted out for the group to manage. Strictly speaking only one scenario is required so once again see what the school offers before parting with any of your money.  The Academy award winning acting skills certainly come out in force during this session, but all designed to help create a sense of realism. Many people also find the chance to manage a scenario and direct the actions of the team is just as valuable as putting the dive skills into practice. As each scenario is completed, the injured parties miraculously recover to join in with the feedback sessions to point out the many elements that were successfully utilised during the scenario and suggesting alternatives and additions for next time.

Denise returning from a successful scenario

Denise returning from a successful scenario

 Without giving away too many trade secrets, you could be faced with injuries due to aquatic animals, divers with cramp, domestic arguments between diving “couples” as well as decompression injuries and other injuries.
So is it for you? In my opinion the answer is a definite yes – it’s hard work but very rewarding, you will develop your basic diving skills as well as developing a wider perspective about what’s going on around you when diving. Above all it’s great fun – why not sign up and see for yourself?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Speak Your Mind

*