UTD Journal Volume 3, Issue 5, May 2015 - Page 11

The 20 foot long hose is the perfect tool for the of back-to-basics training we offer in ESM. Many divers get so focused on their gear that they lose awareness of what is going on with their bodies. By taking away all the equipment, we take away all the distractions. What remains is for students is to focus on themselves: their bodies, their skills. Then, as we give the students their equipment back piece by piece, they learn to maintain the same buoyancy, trim and positioning they had in their swimsuit. As the ESM class progresses, the looks of increased comfort and confidence on the students’ faces are priceless. By the end of the class, it’s the same old equipment, but with a brand new diver underneath it all. While the in-water portion of ESM is packed with revelations, the ESM classroom session also rewards the experienced diver. For many students, the biggest “aha” moments come during the Neutral Buoyancy and Min Deco discussions. In Neutral Buoyancy, students discover why it’s dangerous to carry all their weight in ditchable pouches, and how wearing a thick (7mm) wetsuit for dives past 60 feet (19m) can be fatal in the event of a BC failure. These are topics that are rarely discussed even in advanced recreational training at other agencies. These subjects provide another great opportunity to show students how the UTD approach is so different from their previous training experiences. The biggest revelation many students have in the ESM classroom session is how Min Deco removes their need to rely on complicated dive tables or the mysterious blinkings of their dive computer to safely execute recreational dives. They are always surprised how easy it is to calculate Min Deco time on the fly, using simple Scuba Math. During a day of repetitive diving, they will also feel better and have more energy doing nice slow Min Deco ascents, instead of rocketing straight to 15 feet for a single 3 or 5 minute safety stop. Hopefully this benefit of Min Deco will become clear on their next boat or live-aboard dive trip. They’ll be getting ready for their fifth or sixth dive of the day when nearly everyone else has called it quits. By the end of the class, everyone is tired, happy and grateful. Most students have been able to shed weight from their systems, and they go home with multiple new insights on their diving. I leave my students with the hope that they send me photos of themselves later on, shots that show them in the water having fun: happy, neutral, and in trim. Peter Vanags UTD Instructor, San Diego, CA, USA The results: new diver’s explore the Caribbean after ESM.