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  • Going Pro | ATA/BAR Divers

    Going Pro: The Road to PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) Have you considered becoming a PADI scuba professional? Becoming a PADI Pro is not a difficult process so long as you prepare yourself properly. If you think you can “wing it,” or take shortcuts to proper preparation, you might be sorely disappointed. In 2015, a few of us at ATA/BAR DIVERS took the challenge and became PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors . We are not going to discuss what the IDC or IE is or what it was like; instead we offer a list of resources we found particularly useful in our successful completion of the PADI scuba instructor curriculum. Study Groups We believe that a key to your future success with the IDC and IE is finding like-minded divers with common goals. Forming an IDC study group was a crucial component to our eventual success. We studied individually for months and spent several weekends together in our study group reviewing material and discussing formulas. Steve Prior We do not know Mr. Prior, but we feel like we do—he’s been “in our lives” for well over a year. Steve is a Platinum Course Director with PADI, and his YouTube postings are literally a buffet for your scuba knowledge-starved brain. He makes confusing subject matter like dive physics and physiology incredibly simple. We highly suggest you subscribe to his YouTube channel—you might want to consider attending his IDC too. If Egypt isn’t around the corner for you, Mr. Prior also offers IDC preparatory distance learning if you need additional help before you tackle your IDC. Utila Dive Centre Another treasure-trove of online learning resides on the Utila Dive Centre’s YouTube channel . Andy Phillips, the late course director at Utila Dive Centre, has a multi-part series on the PADI Divemaster and Instructor “24 skills circuit,” among other excellent training videos. As part of the IDC and IE, you must be able to demonstrate all 24 required skills, and this is a great way to hone these necessary instructional techniques. Scuba Nashville Having a problem with your dive tables? Check out Scuba Nashville’s YouTube video series and you will be up-to-speed on complex RDP use in no time at all. A great resource. IDC-Guide.com This site is supported by a number of IDCs, some of which have already been mentioned here. Some very good study materials and sample IDC tests. Instructor Development Course As assistant instructors, we needed to complete OWSI training (OWSI is a subcomponent of IDC, but referred to as “IDC” here—click here for a full explanation if you need clarification) to be eligible to sit for the PADI Instructor Examination (IE). Our IDC instructor was PADI Course Director Perry Boyer. (Visit Perry’s Facebook page, RUADiver, here .) Perry brought all of the PADI concepts into focus. He oozes enthusiasm for diving and the greater scuba industry. The OWSI class was conducted over five consecutive days with classroom, confined water, and open water sessions lasting over 13 hours (not including homework) on most days. Although the class was grueling at times, our journey to the IE at PADI world headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita would not have been as successful without his expert tutelage. We could not offer a more positive endorsement for Captain Perry Boyer.

  • Computerless Diving: Should it be done? | ATA/BAR Divers

    Computer vs. Computerless Diving Bottom Line : If you don’t use a dive computer, you must calculate your dives the good old fashioned way[1 ] to avoid the danger of decompression sickness (DCS). Besides crunching numbers, dive computers offer many other benefits during and after a dive. Figure 4. SPG indicates 46 feet as the maximum depth of previous dive. At the end of Open Water training, your instructor might have suggested a dive computer as one of your first scuba equipment purchases. If you’ve already purchased one, that’s great! But if you don’t own one yet for whatever reason (like cost or anticipated diving frequency), this—admittedly confusing—article might help explain the value of diving with a computer and why you might want to reconsider your equipment purchasing priorities. ​ Before we go too deep , a quick review as to why we calculate dives in the first place: ​ As recreational divers, we are trained to make only NO STOP DIVES, meaning we can ascend directly to the surface any time during a dive without suffering an unusually high risk of decompression sickness.[2 ] ​ Conducting no stop diving is no accident—it requires planning and vigilance to ensure depths, dive times, and surface intervals (SI) are within recognized limits. If you don’t dive with a computer, you must equip yourself with other tools to help ensure you do not violate your no stop limits, also known as NO DECOMPRESSION LIMITS (NDLs). These tools include: ​ A means to record information on each dive (such as a pencil and underwater slate) A dive timer (a dive watch with a rotating bezel or a submersible timepiece with stopwatch function, Figure 3), and A depth gauge; one with a maximum depth needle to indicate your dive’s deepest depth can be helpful.[3 ] ​ In Figure 4, the red-tip needle shows current depth as 0 (sea level) and the black “maximum depth needle” shows the previous dive depth as 45 feet. After each dive, the max depth needle can be rotated back to 0 with the twist of a fingernail in the center slot so the next dive’s max depth can be measured. Many new depth gauges do not have this secondary needle because of the overwhelming popularity of dive computers among recreational divers. ​ COMPARING DIVE CALCULATORS We will walk through a two-dive day using a computer, the RECREATIONAL DIVE PLANNER ™ (RDP, Figure 1) and the ELECTRONIC MULTILEVEL RECREATIONAL DIVE PLANNER ™ TOUCH (eRPDml, Figure 2). Our goal is to use the same profile on each device. COMPUTER USE Using a dive computer is kind of like taking your mom with you on a dive. Computers watch and record your every move. If you get out of line, it will let you know, just like your mom did (or still does!). Not only do computers offer warnings during a dive, they keep an eye on you after the dive by timing your surface intervals and calculating “no fly times” by automatically calculating the elimination of theoretical levels of residual nitrogen from your body. With the RDP and eRPDml there is no underwater hand-holding—these devices are used before a dive to help plan depths and times, thereby reducing the likelihood of NDL violations. Figure 5 shows a typical dive summary using Suunto’s DM5 software and the Eon Steel dive computer (Figure 8). The green graph depicts the diver’s depths throughout the dive. The dive progresses in time from left to right. Here are the dive details as captured by the computer: Dive #1 maximum depth: 81 feet (average depth: 45 feet). Dive time: 62 minutes The dive ended because of air limitations, not because an NDL was reached. Safety Stop: 3 minutes was recommended. SI: 61 minutes. Dive #2 maximum depth: 42 feet (average depth: 28 feet) Dive time: 70 minutes Again, this dive ended because of air supply, not because of an NDL. ​ RDP USE Just the thought of using dive tables might send shivers down your wetsuit, but let's try using the RDP on this same dive... But here is our first problem: Meandering dives with limited times at various depths cannot be accurately calculated with the RDP. [4 ] Because of this, we are forced to calculate the dive to the deepest depth reached (see Figure 6): ​ Dive #1 must be calculated to 90 feet (we must round up from 81). NDL time: 25 minutes. Ending pressure group: Q. Safety Stop: 3-minute required.[3 ] SI: 61 minutes. New pressure group: F. Dive #2 maximum depth: 42 feet. NDL: 80 minutes. Residual Nitrogen Time (RNT): 24 minutes. Adjusted NDL: 56 minutes. Ending pressure group: X. Safety Stop: 3-minute required.[6 ] ​ What’s the Difference? Because the RDP can only calculate “square dive profiles” (when a diver descends directly to a predetermined depth and safely ascends to the surface from that depth), the dive can only last for 25 minutes (the NDL for 90 feet), in comparison to the 62-minute computer dive. The second dive is limited to 56 minutes due to the adjusted NDL. In comparison, the second computer dive was 70 minutes. Diving to the NDLs of consecutive dives is anything but conservative and is not recommended. Pushing the limits can result in a case of DCS. Certified enriched air divers must calculate dives using the PADI EANx32 or EANx36 Recreational Dive Planner™. ​ eRPDml USE Unlike the RDP, the eRPDml can calculate multilevel dives, but our dive was not really not one because the diver did not maintain distinct dive levels. Additionally, the eRPDml can only calculate three dive levels that fall within the parameters explained on p. 82 of the eRPDml Use and Study Guide.[2 ] Despite these limitations, let’s calculate Dive #1 with the eRPDml as follows (see Figure 7): ​ 1. Multilevel dive profile: Level 1: 81 feet Actual Bottom Time (ABT): 5 minutes Ending Pressure Group: B NDL: 27 minutes Level 2: 60 feet ABT: 29 minutes Ending Pressue Group: Q Multilevel Limit (ML): 35 minutes Level 3: 40 feet ABT: 28 minutes Ending Pressure Group: V ML: 53 minutes 2. Safety Stop: 3-minute required [5 ] 3. SI: 66 minutes. New pressure group: G. 4. Dive #2 maximum depth: 42 feet ABT: 70 minutes Ending pressure group: Z Safety Stop: 3-minute safety required[3 ] What’s the Difference? Besides being horribly complicated, sucking all the fun out of diving, and not being an accurate representation of our dive, this multilevel eRPDml dive profile is pretty close to the computer dive, sans the required 66-minute SI to complete Dive #2. The second dive ends in the highest pressure group (Z). Pushing NDLs is never recommended. ​ Oh, but did you want to dive with enriched air? Sorry! The eRPDml can’t help you, but most dive computers handle EANx without a problem. DIVE COMPUTERS: MORE THAN JUST AUTOMATED TABLES The RDP—and, in later years, the eRPDml—have successfully guided divers for decades, but not without some effort. The good news is that dive computers can do all this number-crunching for you and more! Some common dive computer capabilities include: ​ ENRICHED AIR (nitrox) compatibility LOGBOOK of dive profiles that can be downloaded to a PC HISTORICAL information for all dives in the logbook SAFETY STOP signal and timer DEEP STOP signal and alarm RAPID ASCENT indicator and alarm PO2 indicator and alarm CNS TOXICITY status and alarm PENDING NO STOP DIVING VIOLATION indicator and alarm NO STOP DIVING VIOLATION indicator and alarm EMERGENCY DECOMPRESSION STOP indicator, alarm, depths and times of decompression stages MISSED EMERGENCY DECOMPRESSION STOP indicator and alarm TOTAL ASCENT TIME during a deco dive NO FLY timer ​ Dive computers really earn their keep by guiding divers through safe ascents and abnormal situations, i.e. when NDLs are inadvertently violated. And just like mom, computers can put you in a time-out when you've been really, really bad: The computer will lock you out (i.e. render the computer useless) for 24-48 hours if you violate certain safe diving rules. ​ BUYING VERSUS RENTING Nearly all reputable dive centers have dive computers available for rent, but will you have adequate knowledge on how a rental computer works? Computers can be confusing without adequate preparation. You don’t have to break the bank to outfit yourself with one. About $200 will get you started with a nice, wrist-mount “puck style” computer—and that’s a lot cheaper (and much safer) than a $10,000/day trip to the recompression chamber! ​ Many dive centers use the Suunto Zoop (Figure 9) in training. It is a solid selection and comes in wrist mount (shown) or multi-gauge console configurations. ​ STILL CONFUSED? Calculating dive tables and using a dive computer can be equally difficult, especially if you don’t dive regularly. There is really no simple way around it. A dive computer can certainly simplify things, but they require a solid understanding on how to operate and what the computer is trying to tell you with its different displays and beeps. Haven’t purchased a dive computer but want to learn more? Or maybe you have purchased a dive computer, have thoroughly reviewed the user’s manual and still aren’t sure about all its functions. Either way, there is still hope for you! ADDITIONAL TRAINING A company called DiveNav, Inc. hosts a website called DiveComputerTraining.com ®. You might want to check out these free and inexpensive courses (Figure 10) that work on multiple platforms (PC, smartphone and tablet): How to Choose a Dive Computer (FREE) ​ Introduction to Dive Computers ($3.99) ​ Once you’re done with learning the basics, search the site for a course on your specific dive computer . We have found the instruction to be beneficial, especially when illustrating unusual situations that can’t be easily replicated on your own, such as violating an NDL. Classes cost $0.99 to $14.99. ​ If you haven’t done so already, when will you be purchasing your first dive computer? Let’s go diving! ​ Footnotes [1] Calculating dive profiles by using the Recreational Dive Planner™ (RDP, Figure 1), the RDP’s electronic counterpart, the Multilevel Recreational Dive Planner (eRDPml™, Figure 2), or an equivalent device. [2] PADI Open Water Diver Manual [English], version 3.0, p. 197. [3] PADI eRPDml™ Instructions for Use and Study Guide (2008), retrieved online at http://elearning.padi.com/company0/tools/eRDPML_InsforUse.pdf [4] PADI Recreational Dive Planner Instructions for Use (2004, Dive Table Definitions, p. 32), retrieved online at http://elearning.padi.com/company0/tools/RDP%20InsforUseImp.pdf [5] PADI Recreational Dive Planner Instructions for Use (2004, Rule 12, p. 7). [6] PADI Recreational Dive Planner Instructions for Use (2004, Rule 12, p. 7). [7] Rule 2 of General Rules for using the eRPDml can be found on the inside cover. ​ 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. Figure 1. Recreational Dive Planner. Figure 2. The eRPDml Touch. Figure 3. Dive timers include watches with a rotating bezel or a stopwatch function. Figure 5. Dive #1 profile: 62 minutes. (Dive #2 profile not shown.) Figure 6. Recreational Dive Planner (RDP) dive profile. Figure 7. Multilevel dive profile for Dive #1 calculated using the eRPDml. Figure 8. Suunto Eon Steel. Figure 9. Suunto Zoop. Figure 10. Dive Computer Training's online Zoop class.

  • Review: The $5 Flashlight | ATA/BAR Divers

    The $5 Underwater Flashlight: Too Good to be True? Bottom Line : Sold by dozens of eBay retailers and frequently labeled "Shallow Light," how does this $5 US flashlight hold up under real diving conditions? We tested it out against our beloved UK Aqualite-S 20°. Good to 90 feet, you'll find the illumination produced by Shallow Light to be marginal; its finicky switch sometimes misbehaves. If you're a diver operating without a flashlight, this can be a first step in illuminating your underwater world during casual dives when lighting is optional. Scuba can be an expensive sport, but that doesn’t mean divers are opposed to finding a good deal, but sometimes deals seem too good to be true. If you have ever check out scuba gear on eBay, you might have run across a slew of “underwater dive lights” selling for $5 or less, shipping included. We had to check it out. (Click here for a direct link to this eBay search criteria.) For this test, we purchased two identical flashlights for under $5 each. On a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, the light accompanied us on a dozen dives to a maximum depth of 90 feet (27 meters). ​ With a light stamped “Shallow Light,” expectations were not high about it surviving nearly three atmospheres of pressure, but the light did not leak. ​ During the dives, we did a side-by-side comparison in dark crevices and caverns against our beloved and often-used dive light, the $170 US Underwater Kinetics Aqualite-S 20° with a rated output of 500 lumen on high setting. Compare the light output from both flashlights for yourself in the attached video and image. ​ Durability may be an issue with the so-called “Shallow Light." Something happened with the switch on one of our flashlights and it no longer works, but the LED assembly works fine in the other flashlight we purchased. ​ If you are a diver who has yet to purchase a dive light, the “Shallow Light” is a so-so, low-cost option to illuminating the nooks and crannies of our underwater world. ​ Off-brand dive torches are nothing more than a novelty item. Only use a $5 dive light when illuminating the way is for fun, never when lighting is required for your safety.

  • ATA/BAR Divers | PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course

    PADI Advanced Open Water Diver 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. ATA/BAR Divers 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 —and classes subject to cancellation —without notice.

  • ATA/BAR Divers | PADI Dry Suit Specialty Diver Courses

    PADI Dry Suit Specialty Diver 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. ATA/BAR Divers 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 —and classes subject to cancellation —without notice.

  • ATA/BAR Divers | PADI Open Water Diver Course

    PADI Open Water Diver 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. ATA/BAR Divers 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 —and classes subject to cancellation —without notice.

  • PADI & HSA Scuba Training | ATA/BAR Divers

    PADI & HSA Scuba Training Members of ATA/BAR Divers are certified diving professionals (instructors/divemasters) with PADI (Professional Association of Scuba Diving Instructors) and HSA (Handicapped Scuba Association). We offer instruction in the area of Ventura County, California, in association with our partner dive shop operators. Our PADI Professionals offer instruction in English and Korean. 한국어에 능통합니다. ​ Our typical course offerings include the following: ​ PADI Open Water Diver PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Handicapped Scuba Association multilevel diver certification (based upon in-water abilities) PADI Enriched Air Diver PADI Night Diver PADI Deep Diver PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy PADI Underwater Navigator PADI ReActivate™ Scuba Refresher Course PADI Search & Recovery Diver PADI Dry Suit Diver PADI Drift Diver PADI Rescue Diver Emergency First Response® (First Aid/CPR) Instruction We pride ourselves in thorough instruction at all levels. Scuba training should never be a speed learning course, but that is what it has become at many dive locations around the world. We are committed to making you a successful and safe diver, and we take our time to make sure you get the most from our courses. We expect you make a similar time commitment of your time, preparation and attention. ​ For example, in a typical Open Water Diver course, plan on spending up to four hours in the classroom, up to 10 hours in the pool, and two full days (up to six open water dives) diving the beautiful Channel Islands. If this level of commitment is not compatible with your schedule, we suggest you seek training elsewhere. ​ Read what our former students have to say about their learning experiences with instructors affiliated with ATA/BAR Divers. To find out about upcoming courses, please contact us .

  • Why Keep a Dive Log? | ATA/BAR Divers

    Why Keep a Dive Log? Bottom Line : While maintaining a dive log is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. What you log and why you log it is a personal decision, much like what you put in a diary. The benefits of maintaining an accurate logbook can help you in many ways. Find out how a log can benefit you. “What do I write down?” is usually the question Open Water students ask when confronted with a blank dive log page for the first time. Think of your dive log as a personal diary—no one is required to one but many people do. The same holds true with dive logs—you are not required to keep one, but it is strongly suggested. Why? The biggest reason to keep a log is to record important aspects of your dive, including: Location Date Time |In the water/out of water Dive Profile |Dive type (shore/boat/night), bottom time, depth, surface interval, pressure groups, safety stop details Conditions |Weather, visibility, water, temperatures Equipment |Configuration, proper weighting Experiences |Observations, challenges, buddies, accomplishments Gas |Type, tank size/type, start/stop pressures, consumption rate, supplemental systems Cumulative Information |Total dive time to date, dive number to date ​ Most logs have space for a verification signature from a dive buddy, instructor or Divemaster. Some even have space for a boat or dive shop stamp or sticker. Many divers have turned their logbooks into an impressive collection of ornate dive shop stamps and stickers from around the world for fellow divers to envy. Incorporating these into your logbook gives an added level of credibility to your underwater feats. ​ If you travel to dive, think about packing your dive log. Some dive operators will ask to see your dive log to confirm you have the experience you claim and it’s also an easy way to log dives as you go. ​ When it comes to continuing education, certain levels of PADI advanced certification (like Divemaster and Open Water Scuba Instructor ) require a specific number of dives and dive types. ​ Preprinted dive logs, like the ones provided with your PADI Open Water class materials (Figure 1), are designed to hold specific information but, in reality, the log can be nothing more than a blank page with whatever information you find relevant to record. ​ There are many options available to put your dive logs online, from free solutions like PADI’s ScubaEarth (Figure 2) to many subscription-based, non-proprietary digital logbooks like divelogs.de (Figure 3). ​ Many dive computers integrate into dive logging software that is often available for free. One example is the Suunto DM5 software (Figure 4) that integrates with the Suunto Eon Steel , among other Suunto computer products. ​ Whether you decide to log in hard copy or digitally, the biggest benefit to maintaining a dive logbook is recalling past experiences. Reliving your special moments in the water will surely bring back pleasant memories for years to come. Let’s go diving! Figure 1. PADI preprinted dive log. Figure 2. PADI ScubaEarth’s logbook readout. Figure 3. Example divelogs.de digital logbook readout. Figure 4. Suunto DM5 digital dive log.

  • Copy of Indigo Industries TAC Fin | atabardivers

    Do These Fins Even Work? Indigo Industries proves—once again—that a small fin can do big things underwater. Meet the shorter and lighter TAC Non-Military fin. Bottom Line How short and light can a scuba fin go and still maintain a high level of performance? INDIGO INDUSTRIES pushes the envelope and delivers with the TAC Non-Military fins. Bigger is not always better, and a scuba gear company you may not yet know is out to prove that very point by pushing the boundaries of conventional scuba diving equipment with their latest offering: The TAC Non-Military fin . We have written about INDIGO INDUSTRIES and their innovative fin, the Defiant XT, before. If you are not familiar with our backstory on the Defiant XT, please check it out here . Figure 1. Twin Jets (left), Defiant XT (center), and TAC Non-Military (right). Indigo Industries TAC Non-Military Maximum Length: 18.5 inches Maximum Fin Width: 11 inches Centerline Length: 17 inches Weight: 2 lb 2.2 oz each fin with Indigo spring strap Scubapro Twin Jets Maximum Length: 24.75 inches Maximum Fin Width: 10 inches Centerline Length: 24.75 inches Weight: 2 lb 12.5 oz each fin with third-party spring strap Indigo Industries Defiant XT Maximum Length: 20.5 inches Maximum Fin Width: 10 inches Centerline Length: 19 inches Weight: 2 lb 7.5 oz each fin with Indigo spring strap We've been diving the Defiant XT since its introduction to the dive market, and for reasons described elsewhere, we love them. Then came along the TAC... We had to try a pair out. ​ When the TACs arrived, our first impression was "Do these fins even work?" The TAC fins are two inches shorter, one inch wider, and five ounces lighter (per fin) than its older sibling, the Defiant XT. Compared to the venerable Scubapro Twin Jets, the TAC is over six inches shorter and 10.3 oz lighter (per fin). INDIGO INDUSTRIES fins get some interesting looks on the dive boat and underwater, and for good reason: We can't think of another dive fin on the market that casts a similar shadow. Indeed, INDIGO's fins have broken the mold when it comes to what a dive fin can look like while still performing like its larger counterparts. ​ ​ The TAC and Defiant XT perform similarly. Propulsion and maneuverability are comparable. The TAC fin is negatively buoyant but its lighter characteristics were immediately noticeable; a quick modification in body position addressed this difference easily. ​ We found the bottoms of the new TACs to be quite slippery on the boat deck. For this reason, we suggest roughing the bottom up across the boat deck, concrete, asphalt, or some other surface in order to remove the slick sheen. ​ INDIGO's new spring straps worked well. The strap holds the fin firmly in place. ​ Used with a size 14 Henderson 5 mm Molded Sole Gripper Boot , we found the TAC fin pocket to be tight, which is helpful when avoiding unnecessary midfoot flexion. But we could not get the foot pocket to fit a new pair of size 14 ​Henderson 7 mm Quick Dry Aqualock Boots . ​ We will continue diving with the TAC Non-Military fin and look forward to trying out one of INDIGO's latest offerings: The Bionic AF Omin-Directional Carbon Fiber Standard fin . Figure 2. Defiant XT (left) and TAC Non-Military. Figure 3. TAC Non-Military with Indigo spring strap.

  • Review: DGX Gears Gauge Reader Masks | ATA/BAR Divers

    Inexpensive & Effective Vision-correcting DGX Gauge Reader Masks Bottom Line If you are grappling with the close-up vision limitations of being a mature diver, there is an inexpensive and effective solution for your older eyes underwater. Check out the DGX Gears Rio Gauge Reader Mask from Dive Gear Express. UPDATE: Comparing DGX Gears Ren v. Rio gauge reader masks. The time had finally come. Reading instructor slates—let alone the beloved Shearwater Perdix AI (in spite of its big and bright display)—had become too difficult for these 60-something year-old eyes. Similarly-aged dive buddies had nothing good to say about stick-on reader lenses, and custom-built prescription scuba masks seemed unreasonably expensive, so the decision was to just deal with it… until it became impossible to do so. ​ Stumbling upon vision correcting masks at Dive Gear Express (https://www.divegearexpress.com/ ) was a fluke. The real shopping mission was to purchase long, double-braided flex hoses. Being a past DGX customer, I felt comfortable with the quality of their gear portfolio and am regularly pleased with pricing, so I examined their mask offerings closely. ​ It didn’t take long to review their line of corrective vision masks and settle in on the DGX Gears Rio Gauge Reader Mask . The term “gauge reader” escaped me until I wore the mask underwater. Just like DGX states, the corrective lenses allow you to “read your SPG but offers clear sight at distances.” In other words, you won't be reading a novel underwater with this lens design, but a glance at a gauge or computer is what they are designed for. Indeed, the corrective portions of the mask lenses have a distinctively low profile, which is contrary to most stick-on lenses that tend to distort distance vision and is a chief complaint among new users. ​ How does the Rio work? Quite well actually. The lenses are all-but-unnoticeable during regular viewing of distant objects. When it’s time to focus on a computer screen, gauge, or recite from instructor slates, a downwards glance brings the formerly fuzzy digits of my Perdix and my backup SPG into crisp focus. Instructional slate reading? I found using a single eye (focusing downward and outward) works best, but that might change with additional use and experience. The mask fit is comfortable for my larger face. And with a price of $49.95 (as of this writing), the mask is a reasonable deal, corrective lenses or not. ​ Get to Know Dive Gear Express ​ If you are not familiar with Dive Gear Express, you should be. DGX offers good products at exceptional price points.* They also have some great “Tek Tips” throughout their site, including on the Rio Gauge Reader Mask product page , where the company discusses how to order the right prescription lenses at length. (Ever wonder if a black dive mask is best? They have a Tek Tip on that too!) Finally, if you are getting out your scrounging up a cigarette lighter, toothpaste or Soft Scrub in anticipation of “prepping” your new DGX mask, think again and review the DGX warning here . Just like the company says, you won’t have any problems with mask fogging with a simple rinse of baby shampoo or other defogging agent before your dive, so no "mask prepping" required . ​ Update: DGX Gears Ren v. DGX Gear Rio Gauge Reader Masks ​ If you visit the DGX vision correcting masks webpage , understand there are two types of masks available for purchase: "vision correcting" masks and "gauge reader" masks. "Gauge reader" masks are discussed here; "vision correcting" masks are more like conventional eyeglasses with their entire lens corrected for vision. 1/1 The descriptions of each gauge reader mask is available on the product webpage. As written by Dive Gear Express, the Ren is designed to fit "narrow and standard faces," while the Rio "fits most medium to wide faces." We purchased both masks for a side-by-side comparison (click images to enlarge view): The Rio fits medium/large faces while the Ren fits smaller/narrower faces The nose pocket on the Ren is smaller than the Rio. Overall width of the masks are similar. Skirting of the Ren is slightly larger than the Rio. Water volume comparison: Rio holds <1/8 cup more than the Ren. Masks straps appear to be identical. Mask buckles look identical. They operate easily allowing for quick adjustments and provide a firm grip of the strap. ​ * ATA/BAR DIVERS are not compensated spokespersons for DGX. We are just happy customers.

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

    Swimmer's Ear: A Diver's Home Remedy for Your Consideration Bottom Line : 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. Disclaimer If you happened upon this page, you are likely in search of 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... but there were no doctors available for us, hence this story! 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 wise man of the sea 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! Post Analysis Before moving forward with a home remedy for Swimmer’s Ear, make sure your condition is not something worse, like barotrauma . Swimmer’s Ear (otitis externa) symptoms are well defined on this Google page . Being an over-user of Q-tips 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: 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 Wise Man of the Sea recommends his solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide, 25% isopropyl alcohol, and 25% white vinegar. We will be packing this solution on every dive trip and will be using it to prevent ear infections rather than having to deal with an active infection! Links Stop the Drops by Divers Alert Network (DAN) ASK A TOP DOC: How Can I Prevent Swimmers Ear? by Philadelphia Magazine Swimmer’s Ear by the Mayo Clinic 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 DAN Anatomy of the Ear: Video by Blausen 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: The Diver’s Complete Guide to the Ear 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 Healthy-U – Diver’s Ear: Under Pressure 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, click here . If you are looking for a shorter time commitment... Dr. Frans Cronjé with DAN Southern Africa posted this 14-minute YouTube video which offers some interesting tips and illustrations.

  • 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. ATA/BAR Divers 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 —and classes subject to cancellation —without notice. Emergency First Response: Primary & Secondary Care [First Aid, CPR & AED]

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