Sunday, October 18, 2009

Instructor Questions

Why can you dive for such a long period of time with a re-breather?

That is a great question! As you may know rebreathers have one or two small tanks of compressed gas. The re-breathers have this small gas supply because like the name says you rebreathe the same gas over and over. The trick is that the CO2 is removed and oxygen added as needed.

To explain this you have to take a look at the human respiratory system. An average breath admits about 350 ml of new air to the mix of air in our lungs already (about 2500 ml). This air in our lungs is composed of oxygen, nitrogen , carbon dioxide and water.

Oxygen diffuses from the air in the lung to the circulatory system and then into the cells where it is used in oxidation of carbohydrates (we will call this metabolism). This results in the release of CO2 and energy.

Carbon dioxide, CO2, diffuses from the cell to the circulatory sytem and then to the lung. Here through respiration the body is rid of excess CO2 and water.

So how does a re-breather work?
It has a closed circuit loop where no volume of gas is lost (like when we breath out on open circuit, the bubbles float up). A large portion of the gas breathed out continues to have oxygen in it.

The CO2 is filtered out with a CO2 scrubber material. The water is trapped at a low point in the loop. The oxygen is sent back to be breathed again.

So you are asking, isn't the oxygen level going down as it is used in metabolism? Yes, indeed it is. The beauty of the re-breather is that more oxygen is added as needed! This is a very small amount as we breath 21% O2 and our supply is 100% oxygen! Think of it as getting almost 5 times as much as you would use in a similar sized air (21%) cylinder of gas.

You can adjust the mix you breath during the dive if you desire. You will continue to accumulate nitrogen, but this is dependent on the mix you breath. It is like having an adjustable nitrox tank. Even better, you can dive trimix if you have the equipment and are trained.

So decompression will have to be done just like on open circuit.

Next question. Do you produce more carbon dioxide the deeper you go?

Another good question! The simple answer is that CO2 production is a byproduct of metabolism. Not of depth or more accurately with higher PCO2.

But, as you dive deeper your body is working harder, if doing nothing other than breathing as the gases become more dense with an increase in partial pressure.

More work equals more metabolism. More metabolism equals more CO2 production.

The quandry with CO2 is that an excess can lead to bad things. Things like shortness of breath, headache, difficulty concentrating and eventually to unconsciousness!

Last question. Do you use gas four times as fast at 4 ata in a closed circuit system as you do in a open circuit system?

The simple answer is that what ever system you are on be it open circuit or closed, as the absolute pressure increases, the volume of gas decreases. (once it comes out of the cylinder)

Since you your lung capacity does not vary with depth or pressure, you still have to fill the lung up with each breath.

So for instance, if you breath .5 cubic feet of air per minute on the surface you will breath 1 cubic foot at 2 ata, 1.5 cubic feet at 3 ata and 2 cubic feet at 4 ata.

The lung capacity remains the same but the volume of gas you inhale decreases (as pressure increases volume decreases... some gas law that escapes me) so that the volume on the surface is not enogh to fill that lung if that gas gets compressed. You must have more gas to create the same size as that on the surface to fill the lung.

It does not matter if you are on closed circuit or open circuit. If you go deeper, you use more gas.

If this is not clear please let me know. I will be happy to explain futher if I am able!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dive & Survive: Extreme Sports Call For Extreme Measures

Tyler Paper - Tyler Morning Telegraph
Dive & Survive: Extreme Sports Call For Extreme Measures
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Feature Writer

The familiar smell of chlorine hits you as you walk through the locker rooms to the indoor pool at Tyler Junior College.

Distorted figures of divers move slowly around the bottom of the pool, their yellow-and-black flippers creating ripples across the surface of the water.

An instructor with Scuba Steve’s Aquatic Adventures leads a first-time scuba diver on a dive at the Tyler Junior College Ornelas Health and Physical Education Center in Tyler.

Bubbles bounced up through the water as divers practiced their skills, and Steve Lockhart, owner of Scuba Steve's, explained how his love affair with diving began.Decked out in regulators, masks and air tanks, scuba students line the edges of the pool while Laura Lockhart, diving instructor for Scuba Steve's Aquatic Adventures, explains the importance of equalizing the pressure in your ears under water.

"I was Scuba Steve 20 years before Adam Sandler put him in the movies," he laughed. "Everybody laughs about the name, but we get noticed!"

Steve runs a full-service dive shop in Tyler offering classes including open water, advanced, rescue, dive master, specialty and technical classes, as well as the Try Scuba classes, offered free of charge and taught in conjunction with Tyler Junior College's continuing education program.

"I've got four instructors and myself here tonight," he said, pointing them out. "We keep a low student-to-instructor ratio. Tonight, we have everything from "Try Scuba" to the third week of a class to certify divers. We do upwards of 400 certifications per year."

Steve's own experience with diving began more than 30 years ago.

"The first time I was offshore, I had an uncle who was a diver and he said, 'Do what I do,' so I went, I survived, and I was hooked."

He never dreamed he would teach the extreme sport, but with a little encouragement from his wife, Laura, he found he had the patience for teaching after all.

"I found out how rewarding it was to see people deathly afraid of the water become confident," he said. "If we could do this for free, I would."

Teaching scuba requires a lot of patience, he said, but the end result is confident, safe divers.

"I've had people in this class, grown men, who cried because they didn't know how to swim," he said. "Now I'd dive with them anywhere. I've had abused women who took the class to get over their fear of water. I've met so many people from all walks of life."

At Scuba Steve's, students start with basic equipment, keeping everything simple.

"If you're confident in your student's ability, then they will have the confidence to tackle bigger and bigger feats," he said. "In the thousands of people we've trained, I can only think of two or three who didn't complete the course. Our success rate is very high."

The hardest lesson to teach, he said, is that no one can defeat the water.

"If they fight the water, it will win every time," he said. "They have to become the water, and once they do, everything comes together. A good diver is a person who accepts the fact that we are all equal in the water -- you're only as good as the next person who can help you out in a bad situation."

Steve's diving program is comparatively old fashioned, and everything is done by the book.

"It's four weeks long, and I won't cut corners," he said. "We furnish every piece of equipment. At the end of four weeks, if the student is ready, and if we feel they are ready, we do an open water evaluation, reviewing everything they've done in their class, and at that point. If they pass, they are certified."

There are two rules at Scuba Steve's -- to be safe and to have fun.

"If number one doesn't happen, then number two isn't going to happen," he said.

But if they do happen, in the right order, they can dive to places most people only dream about.

"If you don't believe in God, take up scuba," he said. "Then you'll believe. It's a whole world a very limited part of the population gets to see. It's creation like you've never seen."

Destiny Kafka and Danielle Taylor, both of Bullard, listen to instructor Mike Jeter, of Whitehouse, during a lesson.
(Staff Photos By Tom Turner)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Training is officially over. Friday begins the Instructor evaluation. It is a three day event. This will take place in New Braunfels, Texas. The Comal river will be the site of open water evaluation.

These many months have brought many changes to the three divers;
Mike, Gary and Tina

It is my hope that the transition from divemaster to instructor has been one of discovery and enjoyment. I think I can say with certainty that becoming an instructor is not the end, but rather the beginning. It is a license to learn--- everything!

For me, I expect each to complete the evaluation as a formality only. An opportunity for a course director to see thoroughly trained and knowledgeable instructor candidates who only need a signature to become scuba instructors.

The greatest joy a teacher can have, is seeing the student become a better teacher than he or she is. I fully expect and look forward to this.

Good Luck this weekend. But as I like to say "Luck is not a factor".

You three have sacrificed much to be where you are. I recognize this. Make it worthwhile.

Dean Pennington II

Day 26,27,28

The final days of training.  

26 meeting in the man room, went over all three presentations

27 all candidates present, each did 2 presentations, one did three

28 Pool- went over area brief
confined and open water brief

Each person completed all open water skill sets.  Had some general chill time and worked together as a team.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day 25 Academics

This session was dedicated to presenting two topics each. General scuba and Nitrox.

The candidates did well, the fine tuning continues.

Next session will cover these two topics and a gas law!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day 24 Academics

This session was dedicated to nitrox presentations.

Each Instructor candidate presented what was supposed to be a 10 minute talk on PO2, Best Mix and Maximum Operating Depth. The topics went from about 14 minutes to almost 30 minutes!

The information was good. I think so fat can be trimmed. With repetition and polish they should all be great.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 23 Academics

Everyone was briefed on the latest developments with the IQC.

Each candidate gave a 10 minute presentation on a open water topic. These included; the anatomy of the lung and overexpansion injury, the body and the effect of pressure on the air spaces, and pressure and its effects as it applies to scuba diving.

Let us just say that the presentations went a little long!

Many good suggestions were given for improvement. It is coming down to polished and professional.

More presentations on thursday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 22, Pool Session

This was an exceedingly good pool session!

The presentations were excellent.  It is getting more difficult to be critical of the demonstrations as they are approaching demonstration quality.

Several skills were demonstrated including, rescue, alternate air, remove and replace scuba unit underwater, mask clears, regulator recoveries, buddy breathing, fin pivot, hover.

After the demonstrations free time was allowed for practice.  Most did breath hold activities, skin dive ditch and recovery etc... .

It was a good night.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 21 Academics


The candidates presented a variety of types of presentations. In that some were short 5-8 min, some were long 10-15 min.

Everyone was critiqued by 3 instructors.

They have come a long ways. No it is just a matter of fine tuning the material, then practice, practice, practice.

Crunch time. 25 days to evaluation.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Day 20 Pool Training

This was a very productive session indeed!

The candidates did in water presentations. It began with presentation and demo of back roll into the water. Next, alternate air share. Some additional stressors were added.

The candidates, did well.

This was followed by a scuba rescue. The candidates demonstrated the skill while describing it to the students.

Everyone did exceedingly well. Time was left over to practice additional skills.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 19 Academics

Each candidate presented two times.

The format of presentation is now a given. The students are concentrating on perfecting each aspect of the presentation.

To that end, the evaluation and critical reviews are very critical with extreme attention to details.

One word wrong, one forgotten item, or mix up in format is noted. It is not done with malice but rather with the desire that each student reach the point of near perfection.

It is always done with love in my heart and the hope of greatness in the student!

I know each one is capable of greatness! My job is to help you achieve your potential. This is sometimes painful, sometimes pleasant but always with the intent of making you a better instructor than I.

Hang in there!

Day 18 Pool training

This session was dedicated to confined water presentations.

Each student had several opportunities to demonstrate and present. Corrections and suggestions for improvement were made.

Things are not getting easier, rather more precise as the finish line draws near.

Day 17 Academics

ICQ details were gone over. The candidates made a decision on the evaluator.

Assignments were made for the ICQ and for the next weeks presentations.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 16 Pool training

Pool training began with demonstration of donning gear at poolside and seated entry. Each student was critiqued following.

Next, several training presentations were performed including: mask clears, regulator recoveries. Emphasis was placed on placement and use of assistant, clear explanations and hand signals. And as always, demonstration quality skill demo.

The students were critiqued at each step.

All in all it was a very productive session. Great strides have been made by the students. They are rapidly approaching the instructor evaluation and are right on track to be very successful!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 15 Academics

This session began concentration on standards and procedures. An extensive amount of time was spent on the Credo (latin for "I believe").

Discussion was also made on contra-indications to scuba diving.

Two hours of pure fun!

Day 14 Pool Training

The session began with presentation and demonstration of scuba bailout. Key points: empty all air from BC, maintain control of equipment, equalize while descending. The scuba bailout has components of multiple other skills taught including:

ear equalization on descent
mask clear
regulator recovery and clear
donning scuba unit

Doing all of this demonstration quality while making it look smooth and easy is no small task!

Next was demonstration of scuba rescue, while explaining to students as you went. Again no small task as it involves multiple other skills, all the while explaining what you are doing to the students.

As always, the instructor candidates did a critical review of one another as well as receive instructor critique.

Unfortunately, the night was plagued with ear and sinus problems! So it goes the life of the scuba instructor.

Open Water Training Presentation

Open Water Training Presentation


3) Was a statement of Training objectives provided?

3) Were clear concise instructions and a general sequence of activity provided?

3) Were safety precautions and signals covered?


3) Was the activity organized, safe and controlled?

3) Were NAUI standards met?

3) Was the activity time efficient and observed?

3) Were skill deficiencies and errors identified, corrected and remedial practice provided for?

3) Were communications effective?

4) Was good use made of assistants?

4) Was the dive enjoyable?

5) Was the conduct of the activity smooth and professional?


3) Was the debriefing organized and effective?

3) Were evaluations of student performance communicated to students?

3) Were key points identified?

3) Was good performance praised?

3) Were problems identified and suggestions for practice and improvement made?

4) Was there enthusiasm throughout the presentation?

Click here
for a smaller word document download of this information.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 13 Academics

The Business of Diving was covered in this meeting. The only aspect of Scuba diving that is not actually diving related. The Biz.

Good discussions were made concerning Label and Name recognition, Word of Mouth power in advertising, and constant review of the plan to modify and change as needed.

The students also discussed the Instuctor Training Course.

Lastly, an impromptu presentation was done by each student with 15 minutes of preparation. It is amazing at the progress made over the last several weeks.

There is light
at the end of the tunnel!

Lake Hefner, Oklahoma Jan 13, 2009.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 12 Academics

This session began with each student doing a critical review of their recorded presentation, followed by critical review by the other students and instructors. It is surprising how far each has gone in this process. The improvement as compared to the first presentation is dramatic.

Next was a review of Risk Management and Insurance. Not neccesarily the most interesting topic but neccessary.

The class night ended with some discussion of the Instructor Training Course, ITC, evaluation. Some things to expect and what not to expect. Emphasis was placed on 100% committment for the 3 day evaluation.

So with that, each student was encouraged to buckle down for the next 50 days! Learn it, Live it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


This blog is simply about the transition from divemaster to scuba instructor.

It is in no way attempting to affiliate with any particular certifying agency, group or store.

This blog is in whole controlled by shellsearch and as such will moderate comments as seen fit.  

Comments are welcome, but will be moderated, i.e. rejected if not in the best interest of the blog or students and if not in good taste.

Please feel free to comment, diversity is important, but leave the ego and agency home.  I know each student appreciates constructive criticism and praise.  Their path is not an easy one right now.

Thanks for reading!

Day 11 Pool Training

Things are shifting now.  

One candidate demonstrated how to gear up poolside, don fins then giant stride entry.

Next, Scuba Bailout with concentration on demonstrating the skill not just doing it.

Following this was discussion on teaching and demonstrating the skill versus performing the skill itself.  The candidates then demonstrated removing and replacing the scuba unit under water.

At each point the students evaluated one and another and received evaluation from the instructor.

Next, explanation and demonstration of alternate air source air share with buddy.  Each student assumed the instructor position, the student position and the assistant position.

The last skill worked on for the evening was the scuba rescue.  This is a complex set of skills that is very difficult to demonstrate, as they saw.  Each student in turn demonstrated the scuba rescue with discussion.  Each was evaluated by their peers and by the instructors.

Last, open skill practice for 7 minutes.

Every candidate is making significant progress!!!

To whoever it may concern

First of all I would like to thank Dean for putting together a forum for us, the instructor candidates, to communicate through. Secondly, but not less important I would like to thank the other instructor trainer for the opportunity to learn from all of their many years of experience. I would also like to say I am proud to be a member and hopefully soon to be an instructor for an organization that believes the quality of the instructor is far more important than the four letters of the certifying agency. I did not decide to train with a certain agency, I decided to train and dive with a group of people I trusted. As I continued to train I have gained trust in the organization in which I have become a member. However, it is the people I dive with and train with of which I am most proud.

Now, this is for you, Mr./Mrs. Padi the right way/ Padi instructor. I know this forum is in a public place for public consumption and while I have no idea why you have any intrest in our blog, I appreciate the fact you have decided to join us. You see, there have been several people who no longer dive with us who have gone on to other things, which I personally wish them the very best! If you are one of these folks that's Ok, if you are not that is Ok too. I would expect your dialogue in our forum to be as professional and constructive as that of other PADI instructors that I have talked to.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Scuba Instructor Presentation: Snorkel

On youtube at

Scuba Instructor Presentation: Masks

On youtube at

Scuba Instructor Presentation: Fins

At youtube at

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bubbling Together

I have experienced a unique group dynamic several times, the dynamic of group cohesiveness.

Usually, everyone begins as separate bubbles traveling in the same direction. As the time traveling increases the bubbles come closer together, until actually rubbing. Usually with some friction.

Then for some unknown reason, be it time together, contact with the other bubbles or that the path of travel becomes so difficult that the bubbles snap or pop and suddenly become one large bubble. It travels along as a whole, no little bubbles left behind. The individual bubbles have coalesced together with a bond stronger than the individual bubbles themselves. All traveling happily to the goal.

This is a group dynamic that is positive.

Sometimes if the bubbles remain separate, they all pop...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 10 Pool training

This was the first official pool session of the year.  The fourth actual pool session.  Everyone has come a long ways.

The training is not easy, but the end result is a better diver and instructor.  

The ultimate goal is demonstration quality skills that are performed with ease and efficiency.  It is the getting there that is so difficult.  The skills are not just the open water basic skills but all the skills through Divemaster, all demonstration quality.  All done while teaching someone how it is done, the right way.

Tonight, started with a bailout.

After the bailout everyone geared up and read the first of 4 notes written and weighted down on the bottom.

1   ditch scuba unit
snorkel 50 yards
go to 2

2 ditch mask and fins
swim 50 yards
recover mask and fins
go to 3

3 recover scuba unit
get neutral and hover
wait for buddy
perform scuba rescue

4 perform demonstration of
mask clears
regulator recoveries
fin pivot
swim 50 yards fast

Almost all the tasks were completed.  A little rust had to be knocked off.  But overall, I think the year started out right with definite forward progress.

Next academic session is on wednesday.

Day 9 Academics

This session began with discussion and review of Teaching courses and Programs. This includes the very important idea of RUMBA and the 1 through 5 grading system.

The class next delivered oral presentations while being videoed. (hopefully up soon) The students will evaluate one and another as well as receive evaluation from the present instructors next week. New topics were selected for next weeks oral presentation.

Also next week, we will go over risk management and insurance.

The Pool is now open. The pool session will be a little different this year!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Conclusions from the dry suit tests

Well, we are happy to report all tests were completed without incident and with some pretty surprising results. It would have been nice to have our other participant there with his crushed neoprene dry suit to compare the results, (John ) but hopefully we will get those results later. None the less, listed below are the conclusions from our testing.

1. first I was suprised to find out that my undergarment and the air they trap is 12 lbs positive.

2. We discovered that it is very difficult to totally flood the dry suit . We had to really work at getting the suit totally flooded due to the squeeze of the suit at 13 ft of depth and the pressure of the water pushing on the suit.

We discovered you would have to have a major breach of your suit to totally flood it.

3. Once we were able to get the suit flooded, we determined bouancy was not affected at all by the water inside the suit. I was easily able to swim to the surface, without putting any air into my BCD.

4. I was able to swim on the surface with no gear on with the suit totally flooded. I was also able to tread water easily with the suit flooded. also, getting out of the suit in the water was easier than getting out of it out of water.

5. we had no luck purging the water from the suit from the inverted position by adding air throough the port on the front of the suit. it appeared the pressure form the air being added to the suit was not enough to displace the water in the suit. We should have stuck our octo down the suit to see if that would work.

Having heard many different opions about what would happen if you flooded you dry suit, it was very enlightening to find these answers for ourselves first hand. we will return to try John's suit and determine the effects of our undergarments on our conclusions.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 8 Academics

This session was dedicated to going over the next oral presentation. Some improvements were discussed and will be implemented next session.

The instructor evaluation test was discussed.

A lengthy discussion was also held on the transition from Divemaster to Instructor.

Here were a few of the topics discussed:

Utilization of divemasters
Correction of divemasters
Team teaching
Teaching master diver, rescue and divemasters
Teaching techniques
Having fun

Next academic session will be presentations. This will be followed by going over the chapter about teaching courses and programs. We will also begin going over the risk management handbook.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sink or Float ? Confined Water Lab

Well, this is what happens when you have instructor candidates with too much time on their hands.

we have heard all of the speculation, theory as well as some first hand knowledge concerning what would happen if you happen to totally flood your dry suit. We have speculated on every scenario from , sink like a rock to somewhat buoyant.We will be searching for the following answers for ourselves in our first CONFINED WATER LABORATORY ( the TJC pool)

we will attempt to discover the following:

1) buoyancy characteristics of a totally flooded dry suit.

2) if negative, how much lift will be required to reach the surface.

3) can you actually invert yourself and purge the water from your flooded dry suit. ( can't wait to try that one, might be ugly! )

all experiments will be conducted in a safe controlled manor with safety divers and observers present.

we will let you know the outcome.

Sink or Float

What would happen if your dry suit fills with water?

Can you even swim?

Will you sink like a rock?

How will you recover from this situation?

These question have been asked.

Thursday we find out, in the pool.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Polar Bear Dive, Tyler State Park

The Second Annual State Park Polar Bear Dive, was once again done on the first day of the year.

Last year, its debut, 3 people participated (while completing their dry suit training).

This year a total of 9 people were in attendance.  Noticeable absent was Steve Lockhart!

Of note this year, one young man was diving his first dive after certification.  Wow!

Outside temps this year were in the 50's that quickly climbed to the high of 61F.  The water temperatures were in the low 50's (52F).

One diver's family graciously provided chicken and dumplings for the post dive feast!

What a pleasure to see and dive with everyone on this fist day of 2009!

Day 7 Academics

This night the students evaluated one another's recorded presentation and their own.  They were most critical.

A lot of insight was obtained with the stress of the camera and being evaluated.

Following the evaluations, teaching theory and instructional techniques was completed.

Student to instructor ratios confined water and open water were emphasized.

As it is the holiday season, the pool is closed.  Next academic session will be another assigned topic presentation.