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Scuba Skills Update: Who Needs a Refresher & Why

On 17/04/2019 by Lia Diffin

Divers in Manta training pool during Scuba Skills Update

The Scuba Skills Update

Has it been awhile since your last dive? Are you feeling a bit nervous about the hand-signals or equipment set-up? Then it might be time to refresh your skills with a Scuba Skills Update.

Diving is a technical sport. It takes many hours in the pool, and even more in the ocean, to hone your skills and learn to dive safely. Maintaining proper technique and keeping current with guidelines requires further time in and out of the water.  Unfortunately, most divers are unable to dive as often as necessary to maintain those skills, and keep current with dive techniques and etiquette.

Most tend to find themselves going many months, or even years, between their dives. In either case, whether you’re an experienced diver, or a newbie certified open water diver, you should think about a Scuba Skills Update course.

Scuba Schools International (SSI) offers the Scuba Skills Update program for divers looking to refresh their skills. Led by professional divers, the program helps sharpen your skills in the pool, so you can confidently and safely get back in the water.

But why, you ask, should you bother taking a refresher at all? You’ve got the certification card, so why spend the money and time for a skills update? Well, here are a few of the main reasons you might like to jump in on a Scuba Skills Update course.

Refresh Your Knowledge

Like anything in life, the longer you go without doing something, the more likely you are to forget some details. Diving is no exception. Many of the important skills are things even experienced divers don’t practice often. Who actually practices sharing air exercises? How about orally inflating your BCD in deep water? Emergency weight drop, anyone? Dive operators expect you to be able to execute your dives in a safe manner, and a Scuba Skills Update will help you do just that. The course will ensure you can perform these skills with confidence, and get you back in the water, thinking like a diver, in no-time.

Get Acquainted with Your Equipment

If it’s been awhile since your last dive, you might not feel 100% confident about setting up your own equipment. If you want to run away and hide at the thought of it, then the Scuba Skills Update is the course for you. It will help ease any concerns you may have, by reviewing the proper method of assembling your scuba unit from start to finish. By your next dive, you’ll have the swag of a divemaster, and know your thingamabob from your whatchamacallit. 

Manta Diver performing back roll entry off boat

Avoid the Nerves

After a long period of inactivity, it is natural to feel a bit of nervousness or anxiety before that first dive. Unfortunately, nerves can lead to silly mistakes, or even panicked divers. This can be dangerous for you - and your group. A Scuba Skills Update will help relieve those first date jitters, so you can dive straight back in with your A-game.

New Methods

Scuba diving is a technical sport. This means it’s always changing and adapting, as new techniques, technologies and training methods emerge. A refresher program is the perfect way to ensure you are up to date with the latest techniques and etiquette. You don’t want to be “that guy” in the water.

Test Your Equipment

Has it been awhile since you used your equipment? Have you recently had it serviced? Do you have new equipment? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it might be smart to test it out before you dive.

There is no worse scenario then finding yourself on a week long liveaboard trip, no shore in sight, with a malfunctioning BCD. So save yourself the stress, and work out all the kinks in a controlled environment such as your dive shop’s pool.

Manta divemaster unloading dive equipment from boat

What Skills Will Be Reviewed?

So, you’ve decided a refresher program would be a good idea. But you’re wondering – what skills will be reviewed in the course? The SSI Scuba Skills Update focuses on the most critical scuba techniques. In the pool, you will review the key skills that you learned in your original Open Water Diver program. Some of the exercises focused on are:

  • Preparing and putting on your scuba equipment

  • Removing, replacing and clearing your mask underwater

  • Completing a pre-dive safety check

  • Inflating and deflating your BCD

  • Becoming neutrally buoyant and hovering

  • Out-of-air exercises: using an alternate air source, providing an alternate air source

Based on your experience and abilities, the instructor may also add more skills to this list. Anything that they feel needs a little more rust knocked off of is fair game.

So How Long Can I Go Between Dives?

The SSI rule of thumb, and recommended duration, is to have a refresher after six months of inactivity. But, this is certainly not a one size fits all recommendation. It will be different for every person, depending on their dive experience. For example, a newly certified diver, with four dives under his belt is likely to forget most of what they knew after six months of inactivity. In comparison, it might take a year before someone with twenty dives forgets some of the same skills. If ever in doubt, though, simply ask your local dive shop.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been out of the water for a while now, a Scuba Skills Update is worth considering before your next dive. As shown above, it is much more than just a few laps around the training pool. The Scuba Skills Update can and will help you in many ways - both in your level of fun and with your safety.

If you find yourself in a situation where you want to refresh your skills with a Scuba Skills Update, Manta Dive Gili Trawangan has your back. Offering half-day ‘Scuba Tune Up’ courses, we will have you confidently back in the water, enjoying that salty life, in no time. Courses include all equipment and instruction, as well as an afternoon fun-dive; so the hardest part of your day will be slipping into your fins.

Scuba Skill Update divers in Manta training pool


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