CROSSING OVER AS A UTD INSTRUCTOR
When we started UTD in 2008, it was with a very clear mission: create a training and certification agency where a group of like-minded instructors can teach the way they dive. The original group of 10 instructors came from every imaginable training agency: PADI, NAUI, ANDI, IANTD, SDI, TDI, SSI, etc. But the common ground was team diving – team diving as it related to tech, trimix, cave, wreck penetration, and rebreathers. And although rooted in DIR with a consistent equipment configuration, the concepts of team diving are what drove, and continues to drive, UTD.
by Jeff Seckendorf
Then we started a very focused effort to bring those same team diving practices to recreational diving. And that’s the interesting part. Rather than complicate a recreational training program to make it Tech, we took our complete Trimix program, simplified it a tiny bit and made it Tech. Then we took the Tech program, removed mandatory decompression and made it Rec 3. Simplified that a bit and made it Rec 2, and so on. The beauty of the way we developed the curriculium is that the core practices required for deep team diving are the same core practices required for shallow, recreational team diving. So our Open Water students learn, from day one, to do all their skills in good trim, neutrally buoyant, never touching the bottom. No kneeling, no standing. Our Open Water students learn the same air-sharing procedures as our Tech and Trimix students. They learn the same basic ascent strategies, and the same gear configuration. This means two things. One, they are amazing in the water: neutrally buoyant, gently holding position with a back kick in horizontal trim. And two, they understand team diving, so as they move forward they have a solid base in normal
UTD Open Water students on dive #3, San Diego, July 2013.