1. Modern Standards for the Modern Diver
The personal dive computer is, in our professional opinion, the safest invention to the sport of SCUBA diving after the regulator itself. It can be worn on the wrist like a watch, or attached to your pressure gauge. Its function is to feed you information regarding your current depth, your No Decompression Limit, and your Ascent Rate while on a dive. They have many other features as well, but the ones mentioned here specifically relate to Decompression Sickness. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, we had to learn how to calculate this manually with dive tables. Twenty years later, many agencies are still teaching dive tables. SDI is the first and only agency to start divers using a dive computer and mandate their use for Open Water students.
Why is this significant? Ask ten divers that learned on tables if they can honestly remember how to use them. Based on our experience meeting divers every day, we would be shocked if more than 1 said yes. We know that Nitrogen accumulates in our tissues during a dive. We know that residual Nitrogen from a dive stays in our system for ~24 hours. We know that Nitrogen is the primary driving force behind Decompression Sickness.
Does it seem like a safe idea to forget that part of your training? Also, if 90% of people are forgetting, can you say that it’s an effective teaching method?
We felt like SDI chose the most practical, as well as safest, approach for teaching new divers by adding dive computers to their standards for Open Water as it also eliminates human error from calculation with tables. SDI was also the first agency to introduce eLearning, the first to lower the minimum age to 10, the first to introduce a Solo Diver certification, the first to pioneer and codify technical diving standards through their sibling agency Technical Diving International (TDI)… it seems like SDI leads the way as an agency of firsts.