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  • ATA/BAR Divers | Divemaster Courses

    PADI Divemaster Course — — As a courtesy to local diving enthusiasts and potential scuba students, we offer this list of scuba class courses and schedules. These links reflect the latest information available from the noted PADI training facility on each class page. does not make or accept training class reservations. Please call or visit the respective PADI training facility to sign-up for classes. Prices subject to change ATA/BAR Divers and classes subject to cancellation without notice.

  • ATA/BAR Divers | Emergency First Response

    — — As a courtesy to local diving enthusiasts and potential scuba students, we offer this list of scuba class courses and schedules. These links reflect the latest information available from the noted PADI training facility on each class page. does not make or accept training class reservations. Please call or visit the respective PADI training facility to sign-up for classes. Prices subject to change ATA/BAR Divers and classes subject to cancellation without notice. Emergency First Response: Primary & Secondary Care [First Aid, CPR & AED]

  • ATA/BAR Diver | PADI Deep Diver Specialty Course

    PADI Deep Diver Specialty Course — — As a courtesy to local diving enthusiasts and potential scuba students, we offer this list of scuba class courses and schedules. These links reflect the latest information available from the noted PADI training facility on each class page. does not make or accept training class reservations. Please call or visit the respective PADI training facility to sign-up for classes. Prices subject to change ATA/BAR Divers and classes subject to cancellation without notice.

  • Review: CoCo View Resort | ATA/BAR Divers

    Review: CoCo View Resort Bottom Line CoCo View Resort is a well-oiled, all-inclusive dive center where nothing is left to chance. The grounds are beautifully manicured; rooms are spacious and comfortable; buffets offer ample, tasty food at every meal. Shore dives, dive spots, boats, and staff are all exceptional. This place has a loyal following, and for good reason. The Longer Story During the Fall of 2016, a group of eight California divers made their first trip to the revered on Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras. A shuttle van transported us about 20 minutes from the Roatan Airport to a small dock where we took a two-minute ride across a waterway to CoCo View Resort (CCV). CoCo View Resort We were warmly greeted dockside with the question, “Have you stayed with us before?” It became apparent that those of us that hadn’t were very much in the minority. Other divers aboard our shuttle boat quickly disembarked and began exchanging pleasantries and hugs with CCV staff members in the vicinity who welcomed more than a few of these newly arrived guests by name. In this , CCV claims to be the most returned to dive resort in the world. That is an awfully tall claim that none of us newbies readily accepted at face value, but by trip’s end, we few naysayers were believers that this claim was well-deserved and very, very accurate. YouTube video The grounds of CCV are beautifully maintained and manicured. Upkeep on a place like this is a never-ending process. During our stay there was renovation to a overwater walkway and what appeared to be new construction to an outlying area of the resort. Rooms were roomy and beds comfortable. Housekeeping made daily visits to keep the rooms tidy and exchange used linens. If you are traveling with your significant, consider the overwater cabanas. Quiet, spacious, and well, over-the-water… Need we say more? The screened-in dining hall is large and comfortable, and offers a nice view of the water and shore dive entry point. The full service bar is reasonably priced. Live entertainment is offered on alternate days during the week and proved to be popular with the guests. Food is served buffet style and is very good. Menu items are not repeated during the week. Kitchen staff is friendly and very helpful. The dive boats are staffed by exceptional crews, many of whom have worked at CCV for decades—and that fact alone speaks volumes about this place and how it’s run. Our group was assigned to the CoCo III boat. Our crew was captain Jorge and Divemaster Eddie. Both gentlemen were knowledgeable and helpful. Eddie was particularly adept at spotting macro life; his English speaking skills and knowledge of local sea life were both superb. Our group thoroughly enjoyed our time with them. As testament to CCV’s repeat customer base, our boat had one diver who had visited the resort over 30 times since 2004. At the conclusion of our week’s stay, resort management recognized a number of returning guests and those who had attained “ " status—five trips qualifies you to become a “Nut,” and your tenth trip is free. There was talk at the resort about one particular guest-family that spends every other week at the resort yeararound! And we can completely understand why. CocoNuts CCV has been in business for a long time; it is truly a well-oiled machine. No matter the activity or the scenario, there is a procedure established for guests to undertake that makes perfect sense. This is not to say that CCV is stodgy or inflexible. It means there is nothing left to chance, from conducting shore dives or night dives to drop-off dives onto the house reefs (Newman or CoCo View walls). Shore dives from CCV offer quick access to the house reefs and the nearby scuttled wreck, the Prince Albert, a 140-foot tanker sank as a dive destination. Make sure to take in one or more night dives during your stay. The resort has its own dive operation, , its own resident underwater photographer, and a registered nurse/DAN medic whose services are regularly accessed by divers who find themselves with various ailments during the trip. Dockside Dive Center There are many dive sites that CCV frequents. The boats leave for the morning dive after breakfast and the afternoon dive after lunch. Some divers on our spacious boat became bored with the “drop-off” dives that followed each of the morning and afternoon dives of the day. In essence, CCV schedules two boat dives per day. On the way back to the dock, the boat will drop divers off alternatively on one of the two house reefs, either Newman Wall or CoCo View Wall. While these sites are fine, they do become long in the tooth by week’s end. Considering that most Bay Island dive operators offer three or four true boat dive destinations per day, we would have been happier with fewer drop-off dives and more actual dive destinations accessed by boat. With that said, our group gives CCV high marks in all categories and most of us plan on a return trip as soon as next year… And it would be no surprise at all if a few of us go “Nuts” like so many guests before us. ​ This review is solely the opinion of ATA/BAR DIVERS as a product consumer and is provided without compensation, affiliation or consideration of any kind.

  • Magnifying Glass: Bring Your Diving Into Focus | ATA/BAR Divers

    Magnifying Glass: Brings Your Dives Into Focus Bottom Line The eyes of any age diver can benefit from a simple magnifying glass. Macrolife viewing or any life viewing, it doesn't matter! Adding a magnifying glass to your dive kit will bring your underwater adventures into focus. No matter how old your eyes might be, bringing along a magnifying glass on your next dive outing will bring into focus a new dimension of our underwater world. On a trip to Roatan, Honduras, we first noticed this equipment addition on divers of a certain age (60+), but even younger divers can benefit from this inexpensive piece of equipment. Weight of the glass and bolt snap is negligible. In this example, the magnifying glass, bolt snap and split ring can be easily clipped to a BCD D-ring or stowed in a gear pocket. This particular magnifying glass has a plastic handle and a glass lens (to reduce incidental scratches but does increase weight ever-so-slightly). It is wide enough to allow divers to use both eyes to view small creatures. Smaller, circular magnifying glasses might require only one eye. ​ Especially when it comes to macro-life, a magnifying glass can be a benefit to divers of any age!

  • Review: Fortress Clothing | ATA/BAR Divers

    Fortress Clothing® Xsssss Bottom Line Xxxxxxx During an airing of ABC’s , our attention was drawn to a pitch on Episode 10, Season 11 when a video played of a . What was most intriguing was how quickly he claimed to recover from that bone-chilling experience. Shark Tank man plunging himself into an ice hole ​ The man taking the icy dip through a frozen lake hole wore apparel from Fortress Clothing®, a Utah-based company whose slogan is Warm to the Core™. Fortress Clothing describes itself as “… an outdoor clothing brand that keeps your core warm, even when you’re wet,” ( ) and claims “we found a way to keep you warm even when wet” ( ). As divers, our immediate thought was if this clothing line had an application in the underwater environment. The Fortress Clothing website focuses on outdoor enthusiasts, snow sport athletes, industrial workers, public safety, military personnel & preppers. What about the diving sector? We reached out to the company and corresponded with Dale Lewis, President of Fortress All Weather Gear. According to Dale, the company has a number of drysuit divers using Classic (½-inch insulation) Fortress Clothing apparel as undergarments and have reported “great success.” We had to find out for ourselves. Without much delay, our first Fortress apparel arrived. For our first boat dive outing, we tried the Base Pro 1/4 Zip as a surface interval warm-up top for the wetsuit diver and the Base Pro Crew as undergarment top for the drysuit diver. For those not familiar with Southern California diving: It can be an uncomfortable experience, with ocean temperatures dipping into the low 50s in wintertime. Depending on air temperature, it is not unusual for there to be little respite from the cold. Scuba parkas provide little relief for wetsuit divers during surface intervals and dry suit undergarments are known to quickly become uncomfortable with the smallest of seal leaks. Here are how are tests turned out: Wetsuit Test With water temperatures hovering at 57°F and air temperature in the mid-60s, warming up between dives with a wetsuit is usually a challenge. After exiting the water, our male divers stripped his 7/8 mm wetsuit down to the waist. The Base Pro 1/4 Zip was pulled on and it immediately began warming the chest, stomach, back, and arms. During the standard 60-minute surface interval, core temperatures returned to normal—which was a pleasantly unique experience. The only wish was to try out the Fortress gloves to make chilly hands warmer! The collar design on the Base Pro 1/4 Zip makes it impractical for use under a wetsuit. The long sleeves defeat the internal dams built in the arms of most semidry wetsuits. A vest might make for a good insulating layer for wetsuit divers. Drysuit Test Used as the only undergarment top with the Waterproof D1 Hybrid, the Base Pro Crew proved to handle a leaky neck seal wonderfully. The outer portion of the top was wet to the touch, but the water wicked away from the inside leaving the diver dry and warm. She was not aware of the neck leak until after the dive when it was evident the outer portion of the top was wet. On a second boat trip, the diver used the same configuration, but this time, a much larger slug of water—about a cup—entered the neck seal. The diver felt the water enter her drysuit but her skin stayed dry throughout the dive. This is not like most drysuit undergarments that get wet and cold with any type of leak. Other characteristics: Buoyancy & Fit Fortress Clothing items have slight positive buoyancy. When fully saturated, the Base Pro Crew floated at the surface of a freshwater pool. Adding one pound caused the top to sink. As a drysuit undergarment, the diver added one pound to her weights to compensate for the Base Pro Crew buoyant characteristics in ocean water. ​ The Fortress apparel sizing chart was accurate for us. Drysuits like the Waterproof D-1 are loose-fitting and less-snug undergarments work acceptably, but if you wear a neoprene drysuit, you might want to consider going a size smaller in tops to ensure a snug fit under an equally snug overgarment. Next Tests In cold water (<60°F): Wear the Classic Vest under a wetsuit to see if the vest enhances core warmth retention and/or shortens surface interval recovery time. In tepid water (~75°F): Wear the Classic Vest over a long sleeve rash guard (no wetsuit) to determine if the vest enhances core warmth retention and/or shortens surface interval recovery time.

  • Swimmer's Ear for Divers | ATA/BAR Divers

    Swimmer's Ear: A Diver's Home Remedy for Your Consideration Every once in a while we run across a solution worth sharing. So is the case with this home remedy for Swimmer’s Ear: A solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide, 25% isopropyl alcohol, and 25% white vinegar. Bottom Line : Disclaimer If you happened upon this page, you are likely in search for a home remedy for what is commonly called Swimmer’s Ear. This article is not about pressure-related ear issues or equalization problems; nor is it necessarily about preventing Swimmer’s Ear; it is about how we successfully dealt with a Swimmer’s Ear infection while diving abroad without medical support. We are not medical professionals. The solution that worked for us may be in complete contrast with what your personal physician might recommend. As always, consult your physician if available. The Longer Story About a week into a two-week diving trip abroad, one of our ATA/BAR DIVERS’ members started suffering from outer ear canal pain, which was intense at times. The pain radiated below and behind the ear and the canal never seemed to fully dry. The diver was convinced the problem was not associated with the eardrum, the middle ear, or the Eustachian tube as equalizing during dives was not compromised. Professional medical treatment was not an option. First: The diver made sure there was no ear wax blocking the ear canal by using an over-the-counter ear wax removal kit (liquid solution and a bulb aspirator) and flushing the ear. Second: The diver tried a popular over-the-counter product made for drying out the ear canal. Made from 95% isopropyl alcohol and 5% glycerin, these drops only caused an intense burning sensation that could not be tolerated. (In hindsight, a product like this is not intended for use during an active ear infection.) Third: The diver filled the ear canal with hydrogen peroxide several times over two days. While the foam created by this treatment was quite the spectacle, the peroxide did not alleviate symptoms. Finally: A offered his “proven remedy” for prevention and intervention of external ear infections: A solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide, 25% isopropyl alcohol, and 25% white vinegar. Within two days, all symptoms of Swimmer's Ear vanished! wise man of the sea Post Analysis Before moving forward with a home remedy for Swimmer’s Ear, make sure your condition is not something worse, like . Swimmer’s Ear (otitis externa) symptoms are well defined on . barotrauma this Google page Being an over-user of within the external ear canal doesn’t help matters. Ear wax is there for a purpose; cleaning the ears in this manner can lead to abrasions and makes the ear more susceptible to infection. See the Time Magazine article: Q-tips Should I Use Q-tips to Clean My Ears? Preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of contracting Swimmer’s Ear can include a variety of home remedy solutions. Our recommends his solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide, 25% isopropyl alcohol, and 25% white vinegar. Wise Man of the Sea We will be packing this solution on every dive trip and will be using it to rather than having to deal with an active infection! prevent ear infections Links by Divers Alert Network (DAN) Stop the Drops by Philadelphia Magazine ASK A TOP DOC: How Can I Prevent Swimmers Ear? by the Mayo Clinic Swimmer’s Ear by DAN Can You Prevent Otitis Externa, or Swimmers Ear? by DAN More on Swimmers Ear by DAN Keeping It Clean: Reasons for Good Aural Hygiene by DAN Ears & Diving by DAN The Complete Guide to the Ear by Blausen Anatomy of the Ear: Video Diver's Ears: Equalizing Help Are you challenged with equalizing your ears? You are not alone! There are several online information sources you might find helpful: by the Divers Alert Network. Among other things, the guide discusses different techniques for equalizing ears. If these written instructions leave you a bit confused, check out... The Diver’s Complete Guide to the Ear by Edmond Kay, M.D., University of Washington School of Medicine. A veteran diver himself, Dr. Kay demonstrates equalization techniques and examines several divers’ ears. The helpful and interesting six-part YouTube series is about an hour long. To go directly to the discussion on equalization, . If you are looking for a shorter time commitment... The Healthy-U – Diver’s Ear: Under Pressure click here Dr. Frans Cronjé with posted which offers some interesting tips and illustrations. DAN Southern Africa this 14-minute YouTube video

  • Don't Forget BWRAF! | ATA/BAR Divers

    BWRAF: A Check Buddies Cannot Skip Conducting a Buddy Check (also known as a Pre-Dive Safety Check) should never be considered an option for dive buddies. The check can avoid needless problems during a dive and offers familiarity with your buddy's gear in case unusual circumstances occur. Bottom Line : What is wrong with this picture?* ​ We have concealed the identity of this so he does not suffer deserving embarrassment among his esteemed diving colleagues for failing to complete a At a top foreign dive destination, this diver was far too excited to get into the water to checking his buddy’s gear and visa-versa. veteran diver Buddy Check! waste time A standard —also known as a —would have caught this issue (*a loose cylinder strap) at the very start using the Buddy Check acronym BWRAF. Buddy Check Pre-Dive Safety Check PADI With a little patience, a can eliminate potential problems before a dive’s start, and the example list is endless: Tangled hoses; no weights; weights not secured; leaking BCD; air valve not turned on; no mask; no fins; octopus dangling, or primary second stage not accessible. Buddy Check On a recent dive trip, an inexperienced diver jumped into the water only to discover her low-pressure inflator (LPI) was inoperable. Rather than calmly inflating her BCD orally, she panicked and kicked-off her fins. Her equally inexperienced dive buddy didn’t know how to make her positively buoyant either and the screams for help quickly followed. A proper Buddy Check would have discovered her LPI hose was not properly attached to the valve and this emergency could have been avoided. And finally, a gives you familiarity with your buddy’s dive equipment, such as BCD and weight pocket releases, and redundant air supply operation—all important information in case of an emergency. (You can learn more about handling emergencies in PADI’s .) Buddy Check Rescue Diver Course Whether you are a veteran or student diver, conducting a proper Buddy Check, be it , , or , is not optional! If you can’t remember the finer points of the , head over to where Course Director Andy Phillips shows you how to conduct a thorough . (By using , the 14-minute instructional video starts automatically at 5:22, but you are encourage to watch it in its entirety). This video is Part 1 in a series designed for PADI Pros, but any diver can benefit from watching Andy do the IDC skills circuit. Check out more videos from the Utila Dive Centre on their . BWRAF SEABAG BAR Pre-Dive Safety Check YouTube Utila Diver Centre Pre-Dive Safety Check this link YouTube Channel

  • $4 Wet Notes Pad | ATA/BAR Divers

    $4 Wet Notes Pad The WEATHERMAX All Weather Notepad Works Well Bottom Line If you need to take notes into the water but don't want to spend big money on a custom diver's underwater notepad, consider this under $4 alternative. Need to take notes underwater but don’t want to pay $30 or more for a custom solution designed exclusively for divers? Check out the WeatherMax™ All-Weather Notepad. We recently used this notepad to jot down tec dive gas plans. Wrist slates have been a disappointment in the past; pencil notes can easily smear making important notations illegible. Larger slates and specialized diver notepads are cumbersome and can be overkill. ​ Measuring 6” x 3” the WeatherMax looks like any other pocket-sized notepad except this one works underwater, and it works well. ​ After nearly a dozen deep, long dives, below is what our original gas management plan notes looked like. The notes were made with a regular pencil at the surface. No smearing and a high contrast between paper and pencil marks. Notes can be erased using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pad. ​ The WeatherMax™ All-Weather Notepad is available at and other retailers for under $4. Lowe’s

  • Bad Gas: Contaminated Air Fills | ATA/BAR Divers

    A Case of Bad Gas? While it is not common, the risk of breathing contaminated air from a scuba tank is a real threat to divers, especially when air fills are done by a source whose reputation is unknown or questionable. Because some contaminants are impossible to detect on your own, technology is required to insure the air you breathe is as fresh as a morning breeze. Bottom Line : The stank seemed so obvious to one diver. This was clearly a case of some bad gas, and all of the warning signs were there: A rickety scuba shack belching a hazy plume of exhaust from a cranky, gas-powered air compressor in a country where standards, testing and inspections for compressed air quality were most likely inconvenient suggestions. His buddy sampled the same suspect air from the equally suspicious aluminum 80 tank with a prolonged whiff and declared, “I don’t smell anything.” Great. Now what? Civilization as we knew it was 500 miles away and so were—as is described by PADI—any “reputable scuba air sources” for compressed gas.[1] Here was our problem: How do we know that the gas we are about to breath at depth is free of contaminants? The truth is we can’t know without some technological help. There are several possible impurities in compressed air. Passing the so-called “sniff test” (a nose check for any odor from the tank air) or a "taste test" (a sort of flavor check of your air—there should be none) has important but limited screening values as one of the most insidious contaminants in a scuba cylinder is invisible to all of our senses. ​ According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): [2] Carbon monoxide (CO) [is] an odorless, colorless gas, which can cause sudden illness and death... [It] is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned. ​ What makes CO so toxic is that it essentially replaces oxygen in the bloodstream at a rate of 240-to-1, and “[t]he net effect is the reduction in the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.”[3] According to the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center: ​ [4] CO is the deadliest of the toxic gases commonly found in compressed air. ​ An acceptable level of CO at sea level can prove deadly at recreational diving depths because of Dalton’s law of partial pressures.[5] But that begs this question: What is an “acceptable level” of CO? The short answer is not much, simply because our CO tolerance is very low considering the very small amounts we are regularly exposed to. How small, you ask? Well, measurements of CO are in parts per million (ppm), where one molecule of CO is detected among 999,999 molecules of other gases, or 0.0001%. The average global concentration of outdoor CO levels is somewhere between 0.04 ppm and 0.12 ppm (0.000004% to 0.000012%).[6], [7] The Compressed Gas Association, Inc. (CGA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established a standard for—believe it or not—air. The standard known as ANSI/CGA G-7.1-2011 requires that the compressed air in scuba tanks have 10 ppm or less of CO, or .001%. Even at recreational diving’s maximum operating depth of 130 feet/40 meters (about 5 bar/ata), the partial pressure of CO (PCO) of 10 ppm would be at an acceptable level of .005%, or equivalent to 50 ppm of CO in surface air. ​ Table 1 gives examples of scientific research on the effects of CO and the related levels for symptoms that range from a headache and nausea to unconsciousness and eminent death. A contaminated tank containing 800 ppm of CO might not immediately present symptoms at the surface, but at a depth of 99 feet/30 meters (4 bar/ata), the same tank of air could prove deadly within 30 minutes (0.08% x 4 bar/ata = PCO 0.32 bar/ata, or equal to breathing 3,200 ppm [0.32%] of CO in surface air). ​ PORTABLE SOLUTIONS Meanwhile, back at that desolate dive destination with that funky tank of gas… What do we do? Luckily, there are solutions available to analyze tanks for CO on the go. Here are a few options that might be worthy of consideration depending on your future dive itinerary. Prices range from $7.95 to $420.00: ​ DE-OX SAFE Carbon Monoxide Analyzer DE-OX CO is able to test a tank fill for carbon monoxide content in any breathable gas mix, including air, or it can be connected to a gas or diesel compressor for in-line continuous monitoring. POCKET CO SCUBA In addition to being a general purpose CO detector, Pocket CO SCUBA has been configured to allow easy detection of extremely low levels of CO in SCUBA tanks, down to 2 ppm. DIVENAV COOTWO The world’s first dual gas (oxygen and CO) analyzer and data logger. Programmable via smartphone. Compatible with existing My Nitroxbuddy smartphone app. CO-PRO™ A one-day use device that detects the presence of CO in breathing air. Tear open the packet and fill included balloon with tank air. If the air is contaminated by CO, the sensor button in the balloon will change color. [At the time of this writing, this website was inactive. Visit the .] manufacturer's site ​ SENSORCON CO DETECTOR FOR SCUBA TANKS Kit includes the waterproof Carbon Monoxide Inspector, carrying case, yoke adapter and male and female connectors for sampling air or CO. OxyCheq Expedition CO Analyzer w/ Alarm Expedition Carbon Monoxide Analyzer with alarm and carrying case. The alarm will sound when the level of CO reached 10 ppm (+/- 1ppm). ​ NUVAIR PRO CO ANALYZER Fast response compact water resistant container. Range of 0-50 ppm. Alarm goes off at 10 ppm CO (BC flow adapter sold separately.) ​ DIVENAV monOX DELUXE Carbon monoxide detector for scuba divers. Smartphone controllable. Available at ​ Footnotes [1] PADI Open Water Diver Manual (2013, p. 191). [2] [3] Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. [4] [5] Discussed in detail in PADI’s Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving (2008, pp. 4-32, 33). [6] Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [7] World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe. ​ This page is provided for informational purposes only. It is solely the opinion of ATA/BAR DIVERS and is provided without compensation, affiliation or consideration of any kind. No endorsement of, or professional experience with, any equipment profiled on this page should be inferred or implied. Amazon Associates links go to support this site. Table 1. Effects of Carbon Monoxide. Figure 1. De-Ox Safe CO Detector Figure 2. Pocket CO SCUBA Figure 3. DiveNav COOTWO Figure 4. CO-PRO™ Figure 5. Sensorcon SCUBA CO Detector Figure 6. OxyCheq Expedition Figure 7. Nuvair Pro CO Figure 8. DiveNav monOx DELUXE.