How I Teach Tec Sidemount
To fully picture my courses please refer to the article called How I Teach Basic Sidemount where you will find a detailed account of the main aspects of basic training that obviously apply for Tec Sidemount course as well.
Tec Sidemount may be a two-day course but still you will find here a concentration of specifics and technicalities which are inseparable attributes of technical diving as such.
We begin with getting familiar with necessary documentation and signing them. Then I go on to introduce the agenda and logistics of the course and its main points and principles. After the theoretical part that include the history of sidemount, specifics of the configuration, gas management, procedures, self-rescue and emergency our next move is to examine our harnesses, bungees, boltsnaps, strings, cambands, regulators and all additional gear. We make any necessary corrections (see more here How I Teach basic Sidemount) in order to prepare the equipment and ourselves for a new challenge; diving with stage cylinders in sidemount configuration.
The main objective of this course is to master the donning and doffing of stage cylinders as well as to learn to how to swim efficiently and competently and operate under water in normal diving situations as well as emergencies with gear which is a little bit bulkier than two cylinder-setup. We start practicing with one stage cylinder and finish the course with two stage cylinders and two basic ones.
My former and present students know perfectly well that I pay a lot of attention to the diver’s proper setup, including the streamlined tanks and accessible accessories. In order to achieve satisfaction of both the students and the instructor it is vital to learn a few tricks and procedures and then to practice them in different conditions and cylinder configurations.
During the course we study and practice 4 methods of donning and doffing stage cylinders including one (in two variations) used in cave diving where constant connection to the life line is compulsory.
It is important to note that the type of main cylinders (aluminum or steel, light or heavy) also affects the setup of harness and, sometimes, the method of attaching the stage cylinder. All these principles are widely discussed and practiced in the duration of the course.
The first course dive, if the student did not do the basic course with me or has not dived with me for a long time, is the so called “sidemount review” dive. I decided to introduce the review into my program once I came to the conclusion that there is no point in embarking on multistage training when the student’s handling of two cylinders still remains a lot to be desired. Analyzing the feedback from my students this dive has turned out to be of great value to them and me as their instructor.
As usual each course dive is preceded by a thorough description of all skills, dry-runs, planning and visualization which helps remember sequences of every drill.
Tec Sidemount course does not only teach how to handle multiple cylinders but also shows how to manage emergency situations, stow stage hoses, deflate and inflate both buoyancy control devices (the wing and dry-suit), properly descend and ascend (simulated decompression), exchange stage cylinders, shoot the SMB, operate with the line, tackle the primary light cable, work on your buoyancy and improve your swimming techniques. All that done carrying multiple cylinders.Being Tec Sidemount certified definitely means something!
During Tec Sidemount training we put a lot of emphasis on the gas switch procedure which we discuss in detail and then practice till perfection. This course, after all, also prepares the diver for future technical courses with the use of various gases and mixes or is meant for those who were tec certified using backmount.
Tec Sidemount course is a very demanding course and personal commitment of the applicant is a must. However, nothing can be matched by the feeling of satisfaction one gets from mastering all necessary skills and the looks of a sidemount diver gliding through water in a beautiful, streamlined position. A calm and well-trained diver aware of his readiness, efficiency and diving competence.
Course in your own area?
On request, it is possible to arrange a course with me in your own area. It seems a better solution in case there are more friends of yours interested in my services. Although my costs will have to be covered it still might turn out a better value for money. Please ask me for more details here.
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