Streamlined equipment, proper body position and buoyancy control.
Having spent the best part of 3 years working as a recreational instructor I developed a comfort zone as to my in water skill that I at the time thought was really rather good, I would say this is also true for a very large number of divers be it new or old. Looking back on it now though I would have to say it wasn’t so much a level of skill more a level of competence. I was competent at all aspects of the job, and happy with that. Here though is where we start to see one of the flaws of the comfort zone as it were. You can become too comfortable which then prevents you from trying to excel, the skill level stagnates as the acceptance grows.
Acceptance from yourself and others around you will keep you at that level and until you start to become really challenged the skill level will remain the same. For many the challenge that requires the extra skill may never happen. Be it as a fresh open water diver or as someone training people to become instructors without the challenge to go beyond ones comfort zone diver skill will remain at the low level of
Non-Ideal Training; lack of streamlining, buoyancy and proper equipment configuration
competence. This can be seen in many diving environments and ranges from the in water skill of say appropriate buoyancy control to propulsion techniques to other simple things such as appropriate equipment handling and say streamlining. After all for many if their skill level is ok why push it any further, especially with all your peers accepting your skill as the same as theirs obviously you have to be good right? Sure right up until you enter a more challenging environment and you realize you are somewhat out of your depth. Oops now sadly we have an accident waiting to happen because we were too comfortable.
So how to combat this is the challenge and finding the right rate at which to try to be better is the critical thing. After all trying to run when one cannot walk is a pretty pointless exercise. Of course having appropriate diver training is going to be of huge benefit, it is after the training which looks to be the area that could be improved the most. Constant practice of simple skills always
striving to be that little bit better, there is no such thing as a perfect diver and if you think you are oh dear you have a long way to go. Constantly trying for better in water control, at all times even while just fun diving, is going to make diving a far more pleasant experience, it is not enough though to just leave it there. The key thing after this point is then communication between divers. Being able to after dives encourage others to strive for better, after all your diving is only as good as your team mates or your buddies. We need to encourage everyone’s skill development at all times not just while on courses. When an environment like this starts you will quickly see everyone’s skill level improve. People start to push their comfort zone of accepted
Highly Skilled Recreational Diver
skill as they improve the people they dive with will also improve as long as there is appropriate communication. Then the snowball keeps rolling and getting bigger as it were, the domino effect begins and soon you have even new divers really striving to perfect all aspects of their diving, then as their diving life continues they can then keep that ball rolling and help other divers they meet push
out of their mediocre comfort zones.
So really it falls down to all divers, anyone that considers themselves as an ambassador to the underwater world be it a newly certified diver on their first live aboard trip, to instructor examiners assessing new instructor candidates. We can all help improve our levels of skill and in the process change our opinions of what we view as acceptable levels of diving and move away from this “comfort zone” level of diving..