Monday, December 02, 2013

Tanks labeling: the good and the bad!

I will always remember the remark of one of my mentors and Trimix Instructor when I was labeling my mixed gas diving double tanks before we jump on the water. I had just analyzed my Trimix mixes and was marking my tanks 14/50 (IANTD tables 1998)
"George! What are these numbers on your tank?  Mixed gas diving is a serious activity! and tanks should be labeled properly. You should mark Tx14/50 so we know you are diving TRIMIX".

He was right! I understood and acknowledged his comment, it was an important marking for somebody coming from a renowned and noble professional commercial scuba diving agency. Commercial and military divers have set the standards for us, it is important to keep Technical diving and Technical cave diving a "noble" activity where little details count.

He had set up a good example and I keep following that example myself and with my students. I know sometimes I have a tendency to rush after analyzing my Nitrox tanks, and mark the number 32 on them.  However, I still have my mentor's voice in my head telling me that I am not doing the best at labeling my tanks. So I correct myself, and mark my tanks with either Nx32 or Eanx 32 instead of the 32 plain bare number, plus MOD and IANTD stickers
Good example stands so why not forget the bad ones.

"Some incidents, accidents and fatalities happen because of a number of inappropriate actions and reactions. One important aspect is tank miss-labeling (as you have learned in your Nitrox class) but few people are following the basics. Remember a piece of tape can be removed, and in a stressed situation, handwritten numbers can be interpreted differently and fatal mistakes have happened. So this is a reminder of the Mixed Diving Rules set up in the 1990s by IAND, Inc. DBA IANTD and ANDI, and later on by the European diving agencies like CMAS, that also follow pretty much the same basics". (Photos Georges Gawinowski)

  "Mixed gas diving tanks should be labeled properly using IANTD stickers as follows:
*     Nitrox stickers: mixes from 22% to 40% O2
*     Deco mix stickers: deco mixes from 40% O2 to 80% O2
*     O2 stickers: 80% O2 to 100% O2
*     Breathing gas other than air: any mixes, travel, deco Trimix, bail-out"

Safe diving, and always analyze and label your tanks correctly 
IANTD Regional Training Director

Thursday, October 24, 2013

NERD from Shearwater

Shearwater newest product which we are calling the NERD, Near.Eye.Remote.Display. 

Shearwater will be showing the NERD at the Birmingham dive show this coming weekend and also at DEMA in a couple of weeks.

WDT dive will be  accepting orders after the DEMA show, but not before.  Delivery lead times will be the end November.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. We hope you like the NERD.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Let’s Welcome Fall with some Cave diving!

Summer was rainy in cave country this year, caves system have been opened and closed.
It was a good opportunity to organize some training in south Florida and say hello to good friends.
Caves have reopened and we have some good training going on until winter.
Lots of things are happening in North Florida this fall… we will be attending some shows in the area.

Lots of Rain
It’s rainy season and we are missing rainfalls! Not only to grow green pasture grass back for our companions at our facility but also to get the aquifer levels refilled. As I am speaking today the cave systems are recovering. We went to Madison first week of October and the current is strongly kicking but the blue water is coming back.
Peacock is getting there also, the cave is flowing and the visibility was around 60 feet in some places.
Devil Ear and Eyes have been good.
Little River has been reopened.

Training in South Florida.
We did some training in Miami where I taught a CCR Megalodon Instructor course.
We had great time on wrecks specialty in Pompano Beach with great weather where I was able to conduct our CCR Trimix Nomoxic (CCR MOD2) diver and Instructor course.
Thank you Ocean Safari, Tiger tail, RJ diving and Miss conduct for their support.

Fall Agenda
Lots of events are happening in North and Central Florida, cave diving capital of the world J
Cave summit in Lake city: October 12
NACD annual workshop Gainesville
Cave Excursions “React 2013” in Luraville: October 26th
DEMA Show 2013 in Orlando: November 6th to November 9th
Staying closer to the cave systems, and keeping our philosophy alive was very important for us. We now offer our students a quality and natural learning environment.

Training Agenda at WDT dive facility:
CCR Cave diver course (upgrade): September 1st to October 5th 2013
CCR Megalodon Instructor Development course: October 21st to 25th 2013
CCR Pathfinder diver and Instructor Cross-Over course: October 25th to 28th
CCR Cave cross-over: October 28th to October 31st
Recreational side mount course: November 1st to November 5th
Technical Cave diver course last weekend of November 2013

Tips and training
One of my students had some issues with the weight of his tanks; his feet were constantly low. He is diving heavy doubles with a dual bladder and a comfort type harness with dual shoulder buckles.
The adjustment we did were:
- to switch his steel back-plate for an aluminum back-plate.
- to put a tighter “purist” harness instead of the double buckled shoulder straps.
- to reposition the tanks a little higher and close to the neck.
- to work on trim position, legs up on land.
These adjustments have allowed reinforcing my student’s swimming techniques and his trim.
100% positive results, and another happy cave diver!

Check out our new website
Dedicated to our effort to promoting North Florida and safe cave diving

Monday, June 24, 2013

CCR Megalodon courses

WDT dive, Georges Gawinowski will organize an CCR Megalodon Instructor Development Course in Miami Florida at Ocean Safari (IANTD platinum facility and Scubabro Platinum dealer) starting July 26th 2013.
- CCR Megalodon Instructor Development Course: to register  you must meet the IANTD Prerequisites, and have been authorized by IANTD HQ and ISC. Please contact us
CCR Megalodon diver course: to register you must be IANTD Advanced Nitrox diver, and own a Megolodon CCR unit.
Please contact us should you have questions.
Safer dives to all; Georges Gawinowski

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The IANTD Essentials for CCR divers

The Essentials of diving have been created using IANTD basics philosophy, including physical, mental, land drills, and in-water skills preparation. This teaching program accessible to all diver level is designed to be used when you "pass the door".
The original Essentials was written in French and introduced to IANTD in 2002. Once accepted, it became part of the IANTD training Standards in 2009, and translated in English. The Essentials manual comes accompanied with a DVD. The program was introduced at DEMA show 2008 in Orlando and was launched at DEMA show 2010 in Las-Vegas.

IANTD Philosophy has been working on diver safety for a long time now, using different methods including mixed gas diving training such as Nitrox and Trimix, equipment preparation and configuration, Rebreathers training. The agency has even developed lectures including mental and physical chapters.
All IANTD diver manuals go that way and the Essentials is a reminder for all.

Essentials Physical Training: is being honest with ourselves so that we can fairly evaluate our physical status. We sometimes may have a tendency to believe that a diver is not a competing athlete. The physical training aspect is often forgotten. Some divers might think that diving is enough activity to stay in shape.
I believe that diving can become a strenuous acitvity and being in shape is an important factor to increase divers safety. 

Essentials Mental Preparation: Physical aspect is easy to evaluate. But what about our mental? We sometimes jump in the water without really listening our "inner voice" (feeling, sensations), we are not always mentally fit for a specific dive when we have something in our mind, we are not in harmony with ourselves. In the Essentials program we use some techniques to become more aware of ourselves, our environment and our buddy. Developing a sense of responsibility towards each other is key.

Essentials Land Drills: helping the divers discover the sense, review some of the techniques practiced in the water, and more importantly learn how to deal when faced with stressful moments which could happen underwater. 

Essentials In-Water Training: in any sport there is people who practice and people who do not. In my opinion we should practice our basics and more advanced skills that we are qualified to on a regular basis. Secret to mastery of a skill is practice!

The IANTD Essentials are not another "Specialty" course, it is a full program that needs to be understood as it is. I encourage everyone to test it and then practice it. 
Should you want to become an Essentials Diver we invite you to check our information online or inquire about the program with your local IANTD Essentials Instructor
Should you want to become IANTD Essentials Instructor you have to be qualified at IANTD Advanced Recreational Trimix Instructor level and take the Essentials course. 

Essential manual and DVD now available

Georges Gawinowski
IANTD SE Training Director

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

A new IANTD Technical and Normoxic Trimix workbook

IANTD started the Technical Diver program almost two decades ago. Tom Mount (IANTD CEO) and Kevin Gurr (ex IANTD UK licensee) developed the workbook made available for the IANTD Technical Diver Instructors who used it as a teaching tool. Today IANTD has updated this workbook as Technical Diver and Normoxic Trimix Diver manual with new instructor slides, a new material review updated by Tom Mount, Kevin Gurr and Georges Gawinowski (IANTD South East US Training Director) and, a new cover.

To my knowledge IAND/IANTD was  the first scuba diving agency to start Technical diver programs in the 1990's. And it was an intensive program. I can remember my first Technical diver course in France; the dives were done on air up to 200 fsw/60 msw using decompression mixes ranging from Nx 32 to pure o2. It took a good week to complete the program.

Next step was to take the Trimix Normoxic diver course for those who wanted to go into Trimix or get rid of the narcosis before it appeared. It took another week to complete that course. Spending time was necessary for us students to understand and get familiar with diving with a new equipment configuration and using Trimix Normoxic 21% o2 and 25% Helium, even though we regularly dove at these depths before (a CMAS *** diver used to be trained to dive at 200 fsw/60 m) depth. We used to call that a "giclette" in France meaning the perfect mix to get to 200 fsw/60 msw depth.

Along with the Technical Diver manual and workbook well adapted, we had another useful tool the Technical Diver Encyclopedia which IANTD updated in 2010 and renamed The Tao of Survival, a 400 pages encyclopedia. After 2010 many new technical diver programs were created.

The new IANTD Instructor, like his peers before him, still has to prepare his lectures following the logic he/she received during the class. Here are briefly listed the 4 steps I use with when I teach my Technical divers and Technical diver Instructor candidates:

  • Step 1 
 Prepare the student with some reading of the Tao of Survival encyclopedia.

  • Step 2
 Have the student participate in the lectures during which he/she is in possession of the IANTD student's kit, gets introduced with the slides, and decompression tables.

  • Step 3 
 Prepare the student for the final exam with the questions on the workbook. Correction and review with the Instructor.

  • Step 4
Final exam.

Friday, February 01, 2013

IANTD Essentials Instructor in Luxembourg

Please welcome Sebastien Wilem as a New IANTD Essentials Instructor in Luxembourg.
I am truly happy to have him on board, we dove, practice together and I enjoyed it.
Good Luck and keep the good work!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Advanced Wreck Diving

We have been waiting for an Advanced Wreck Manual for a long time, IANTD heard us, and published a new manual.
Even if I really liked the old wreck manual workbook, it was such a nice pedagogical tool for the student, we needed an update.
The content is informative it follows an experience type of education. The manual has been written by Joseph Citelli, Michael Barnette, Peri Blum and, Joseph Dituri. It is more than a course manual, it is a tool that the instructors are going to use to engage discussion, understand new techniques, and learn from other mistakes.

Discover the new Manual
During REACT 2012 organized by Cave Excursions, we displayed some IANTD materials and I was happy to see the new book for the first time. First impression, I knew the manual was coming and was happy to have a glimpse at it when we had our office next to  IANTD HQ in Miami.
I was waiting for the chapters about "what can go wrong and how to correct mistakes when they happen?" These chapters have been written by people practicing wreck diving all the time and it is a rich teaching approach for the students.

I discovered also a new way of deploying a lift bag with the help of a buddy, I will practice that some time.

I became a cave diver more than a wreck diver by choice, but when I dove in Marseille France in the mid 90s I was intensively wreck diving so I know that mistakes can happen and diving natural sunken wrecks can be a hazardous activity. These dives are still in my heart even though today I live in Cave country and teach cave diving. I will be using the IANTD Advanced Wreck Manual as a new tool with my students on my next Rebreather Advanced Wreck course.

The manual is available on our website.

Georges Gawinowski
IANTD Regional Training Director