Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Keep sharpening the saw

A few years ago I read a great book by author Stephen Covey called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Many people are probably familiar with Covey and this book. The habit of “Sharpening the Saw” is particularly applicable to SCUBA diving. In terms of sharpening the Saw the author makes the case that to be effective in your field you should keep your skills current and keep developing your knowledge base and abilities. In other words, never rest on your laurels.

Unlike many other hobbies and pastime activities, SCUBA diving requires one to keep up with new developments and equipment. As an instructor, you might have guessed that I would be beating the drum of continuing education. At the end of every open water class that we teach we always mention continuing education and encourage the students to sign up for more classes. We do this for a number of reasons (no, it is not just a money making ploy). The reason I do it is because I want people to become passionate about diving and derive as much pleasure from diving as I do.

There is research that indicates that people who complete continuing education classes and own their own equipment keep diving longer and are safer divers - a very obvious but important conclusion.

In my case, I continued to take classes after my open water class because that kept me diving and because I actually enjoy learning new things. Sometimes, taking a class was the only way I was able to dive in winter (ok, so it was only in a pool, but I still got wet).

From my observation, it would seem to me that less than twenty percent of the divers that I encounter end up taking the advanced open water classes. Even a smaller percentage goes on to take the rescue class. From my personal experience, I would say that every diver should complete at least the advanced and rescue classes. The rescue class was one of those classes that proved pivotal in my dive training. Once I completed the rescue class I felt much more comfortable in the water and knew that I could help myself and others if I got into trouble. The great thing about the rescue class is that you practice various scenarios for rescuing others.

In some of my previous posts I wrote about safety stops and that I like to practice various skills on the safety stop, like mask clears, hovering, regulator recovery etc. A responsible diver will always keep sharpening the saw of their skills and knowledge.

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