In every class that I teach there is at least one person who asks the question “what level do I need to be at to become a truly secure, advanced diver?” My answer is always the same. Rescue Diver. This class also happens to be my favorite recreational course, both to take and to teach, because of the in water time. You spend about three times as much time in the water than in the classroom during the Rescue Diver course. This means you will actually practice the skills over and over, instead of just talking about them. For your next goal in diving, I suggest that you work toward your rescue diver. I promise you will not be disappointed with the class or the information, and you will also realize that you want all of your buddies to be Rescue Divers also. What most divers do not understand is that the Open Water course is more of an “Intro to Diving” course. This is only the bare minimum that someone needs to know to dive safely in a very limited set of conditions. By expanding your knowledge and experience by taking specialties and advanced courses such as Rescue Diving, people not only open the doors to all kinds of new diving, but they enable themselves to dive more safely and help others around them be more safe. A lot of us get used to diving in warm Caribbean waters with our usual dive buddies, and having the Divemaster plan our dives. We tend to be a bit lazy in our diving, and a little lax on the rules we learned in Open Water. We are a little less thorough with our buddy checks. We don’t watch our air or our no-deco time as closely as we used to. We don’t stay as close to our buddy after awhile. After all, we have never needed our buddy to be right next to us, right? Take the Rescue Diver course and you will see diving in a whole new light. What would you do if you did need your buddy? Would you know what to do if something were to go wrong during your dive? Would you know what to do if your buddy ran into a problem under water? Taking the Rescue Diver course will teach you why the rules we learn from the beginning of our dive training are so important. Not only will you be a better, more self-aware diver but you will learn how to deal with less than ideal situations, whether it is a panicked diver or a type II Decompression Sickness (DCS) hit. In-water skills that you will learn include but are not limited to how to perform self-rescues, recognizing and calming potential panicked divers, and administering proper first aid to victims of diving accidents. Self-rescues, have you ever thought of that? Hopefully you will go through your whole diving career with no accidents to you personally or anyone around you. In fact, it is probably safe to say that most of us will never see or know anyone who has seen a serious diving accident. But that does not mean that you should never know how to deal with these accidents, because although statistically you are not likely to experience them, there is always the chance that you will. How many people, at some time in their life, have taken a CPR course? Your chances of actually doing CPR on someone are probably about the same as those of you having to take part in a dive accident rescue. But people believe that it is worth the time and effort to learn CPR “just in case.” Why should diving be any different? Why should we not try and make diving a safer sport? So why do I wish that all of my personal dive buddies were Rescue Divers? Here is the answer: because I want to know that if something goes wrong underwater they will be able to deal with the problem without endangering themselves or other divers. Even more importantly, if something goes terribly wrong with me I want to know that someone else is on the scene with some idea of how to handle the situation. This gives better chance of surviving a bad situation. It is that simple. I’m not trying to scare anyone here. Diving is wonderful, but accidents do sometimes happen. The more knowledgeable you become as a diver the better you will deal with a stressful situation and the more secure you and your buddy will be as divers. Talk to someone at Dive Addicts about becoming a rescue diver and prepare yourself for one of the most enjoyable classes we offer. You will love the security that comes from diving at a whole new level. Josh Thornton, Dive Addicts Director of Training.