Why PADI Tec 40?
What are the prerequisites
To complete the PADI Tec 40 course in addition to being a deep qualified diver you will need to have completed 10 dives deeper than 30 metres. Be qualified to dive with enriched air and have dived at least ten times on enriched air below 18 metres. You will also need to be a PADI Advanced Open Water diver. You will, because of these pre requirements be a more experienced diver than when you completed your deep course when you start your PADI Tec 40.
What will I learn?
Whilst studying for the PADI Tec 40 course, you will learn how to use dive decompression software to plan your dives, which will include decompression dives with no more than 10 minutes total decompression time. You will learn how to use a single decompression gas with up to 50% oxygen. This gas will add conservatism to your decompression profile. You will start to use technical scuba equipment, twin cylinders joined by a manifold or side mount cylinders, each with its own independent regulator.
So the training is for divers who…
There are five goals in the Tec 40 course
Is this the natural progression for me as a diver?
The PADI Tec 40 course is technical diving but it is not about deep dives and long decompression hangs at this level. Technical diving is not for everyone. It is not necessary to be a Tec diver to enjoy diving, nor should you think of it as an inevitable step in a diver’s growth. You can enjoy diving for decades without ever making a technical dive. But, this step allows you to start to expand the recreational dive limits.
There are some new terms (lingo) to learn these include:
Developing as a “Tec Diver”
The course is interesting and builds on the foundations you already have as a diver you learn to be a responsible Tec diver and demonstrate the characteristics every Tec diver should have:
Self-Sufficient. The responsible Tec diver plans and executes each dive as though it’ll be necessary to make the dive and handle all emergencies alone. That is, you should never rely on any other diver for the safety or knowledge required to execute a dive.
Team Player. Although self sufficient, the responsible Tec diver, dives as part of a team. When you Tec dive, you need to think of yourself as a team player contributing to a team effort.
Disciplined. Technical diving has too little leeway for cutting corners, bending rules, disregarding dive plans, omitting safety equipment or exceeding the limits of your training and equipment. Responsible Tec divers maintain their self-discipline.
Wary. One of the best ways to come back from every technical dive is to assume that everything can and will go wrong, and then have contingency plans for when it does. Responsible Tec divers are just a tad paranoid, and it serves them well.
Physically Fit. Responsible technical divers exercise regularly, eat properly, see their physician regularly and maintain the fitness level they need for the dives they make. You need to be fit for the dives you make; this includes having sufficient physical reserve for emergencies.
Accepts Responsibility. To be a responsible technical diver, you need to accept responsibility for your personal safety, while accepting and acknowledging the risks and demands Tec diving imposes./p>
The PADI Tec 40 training course includes:
Equipment, You also learn about the equipment and how it works what to do when it goes wrong. You learn where to store your spares and how to access them.
Gas planning, equivalent air depths, maximum blend depths, partial pressures, maximum operating depths, gas consumption, gas supply and reserves and oxygen toxicity.
Team diving, how this differs from buddy diving.
Dealing with emergencies, gas sharing, shut downs, and S drills.
Getting into the Water
Once you have done this you can get in the water there are four dives as part of this course and they are about linking the new skills that you have learnt and practically applying them. Many of the skills will be familiar to you.
Training Dive One (this can be in confined water)
For dive one you will – complete an entry , buoyancy/weight check and descend. As you descend you will complete a descent check. Whilst neutrally buoyant, you hover for one minute.
You have to simulate a regulator free flow valve shutdown drill, within 30 seconds and a manifold leak isolator shutdown, again within 30 seconds. In my training we practised the shutdowns over and over again so as to develop the muscle memory needed to do this in a real life situation. At the end of the dive we rechecked our weighting with near-empty cylinders.
With the exception of the shut downs everything here will be familiar to all divers.
“A Good Diver’s Main Objective Is To Live.”
Before the second dive you learn about using a stage/decompression cylinder. You learn how to rig these, how to set them up and how to prepare them for use. You do some additional theory on decompression stops, gas switching and extended no stop diving. Decompression software and they introduce a new mnemonic to learn “A Good Diver’s Main Objective Is To Live.”
Good – G – Gas management
Diver’s – D – Decompression
Main – M – Mission
Objective – O – Oxygen
Is – I – Inert gas narcosis
To – T – Thermal exposure
Live – L – Logistics
You also learn how to NO TOX gas switch, you
Training Dive Two
On this dive, at 15 minutes bottom time, you are required to write your SPG reading on your slate. You also put on, remove and put back on your stage/deco cylinder. You also stage and retrieve a stage/deco cylinder and complete a NO TOX gas switch. During this dive you will also complete the part that I found most difficult in a dry suit… the gas shut down drill — close and reopens both regulator valves and isolator valve, switch your second stages to make sure you stay with the open valve. You have to do all this within 60 seconds. Finally you will have to complete a surface air consumption swim and deploy a lift bag.
As we were all completing these dives on twins or side mount setup meant that we had loads of time and this training dive lasted eighty minutes. This meant that we again completed the drill repeatedly to gain that important muscle memory and mastery. These skills need to become really practised and smooth.
Training Dive Three
Training dive three builds more on the first two dives.
On this dive you have to, on reaching the SPG pressure designated by your instructor, record your bottom time and depth on your slate. You will need to complete a three minute hover and also stage, retrieve and replace stages without stopping. In order to ensure that this is being completed by muscle memory and not on sight alone, you will also have to complete the removal and replacement of stage/deco cylinders with no mask on. You also have to deal with out of air problems by completing a long hose gas share a swim. Then the simulated deco part of the dive you have to complete a midwater (on line) NO TOX gas switches, and measure your surface air consumption for ten min in midwater “deco stop”.
Training Diver Four
Now it is really ramping up for dive four, you get to put everything you have learnt together and demonstrate that you are able to plan the dive following the “A Good Diver’s Main Objective Is To Live” procedure, and perform predive checks following the “Being Wary Reduces All Failures” procedure.
For our dive I was in the Red Sea, diving on the Salem Express Wreck. We put on and took of our cylinder at the surface and completed a managed descent at a controlled speed. On our descent, we completed our bubble and decent checks. Firstly, we simulated out of air scenarios by donating and receiving air on a long hose. We then staged our cylinders, collected them and clipped them back on. Then we completed shut down drills, this time in 45 seconds. Finally, we put up a bag and on the line completed a NO TOX switch.
During the decent we had to complete two decompression stops, one at 6 meters for five minutes and the next at 5 meters for 12 minutes, breathing from the deco cylinder, and recording required information for subsequent decompression SAC calculations. Throughout the dive we showed that we were aware of dive time, depth, and gas usage by writing this on a slate every 35 bar of back gas used. This dive was a seventy minute dive and we complete a series of stops to the surface simulating ten minutes of decompression.
Due to being in the Red Sea we were then able to go on and repeat these long dives with gas switching and decompression stops. On completing these dives, if you feel as i did, you will feel really accomplished. You will have completed at least four dives that will have challenged your skills and experiences. You will have added to your overall diving skills learning, mastering shut downs and improving your stop control. Your knowledge will be extended and more than anything else… you will be a safer diver. The knowledge you have for when planning a dive will also keep those you dive with safer so you will be a better buddy. But most of all you will now be able to dive for extended times beyond the no stop limits of recreational diving.
“Why Should I Complete the PADI Tec 40 Course?”
As a Tec 40 diver I can dive using 28% EANx to 40 meters for 19 minutes on air the eRDP gives you 9 minutes.
On 30% I can dive to 36 meters for 26 minutes, the eRDP on air gives you 13 minutes. Even on air I can dive for 18 minutes.
On 21% at 20 meters I can dive for 55 minutes. The eRDP will give you 45 minutes. If I change my gas to 32% I can dive for 100 minutes.
In summary, as a PADI Tec 40 diver I can make my dives safer by having more time to spend at my chosen depth and by having redundant systems, that I have mastered, means I am self-reliant.
As well as contributing to the Scuba Leeds diving blog, Nick Smith also keeps his own blog which covers all sorts of topics. If you like what you have read from Nick on the Scuba Leeds blog, be sure to give his blog a visit! Nick Smiths Blog