Dive More: A Resolution You Can Stick With

Dive More: A Resolution You Can Stick With

It’s that time of year again; time for the ol’ New Year’s Resolution. Vows will range from losing weight/getting in shape to cutting down on drinking or eating healthier. Most of these vows seem to start with the greatest of intentions but quickly fade into un-fun drudgery. How many of you have bought a new piece of exercise equipment on or around the first of the year that became a coat rack within a few months? The problem with most New Year’s resolutions is that they’re usually things you know you probably SHOULD do, but you don’t really WANT to do them. As a result, unless you’re very disciplined, it’s ridiculously difficult to stick with them. The fix? Vow to do something that’s good, healthy, and enjoyable. Vow to DIVE MORE! Here are a few examples:

Vow to take a continuing education course. If you have “just” your open water certification, you’re missing so many diving opportunities. Most reputable dive operators will not take you to the “cooler” dive sites without Advanced Open Water or above. Many wrecks, awesome coral formations, and even some specific critters are all found below the 60′ depth limit that the Open Water certification allows. Some of our dive trips (North Carolina, for example) require your AOW to even go. Even if you don’t plan to do much “deep” diving, the AOW certification will give you stronger skills, increase your knowledge, and make even shallower dives more enjoyable. If you already have your Advanced, take the Rescue course! If you’ve held off on Rescue thinking it’s about jumping out of helicopters into raging rivers to save drowning victims, fret not. The Rescue Diver certification is much more about simply expanding your scope of awareness to other divers around you, noticing things wrong or out of place, and nipping potential issues in the bud before they become big problems under water. Even if you never save someone’s life during your diving career (and you probably won’t), at least you’ll know how!

Vow to get specialized in some diving discipline. Getting your skills maxed out in a particular specialty of diving will greatly increase your knowledge and enjoyment when doing that, or any other, type of diving. Some of these are general, like Enriched Air Nitrox, which are beneficial to almost every kind of diving. Some are more specific, like Search and Recovery or Underwater Navigation. Skill in these areas can make you indispensible for making sure a group of divers gets back to the boat or shore safely after a dive or retrieving somebody’s heirloom watch (hopefully waterproof) that fell off the side of a boat. The Deep Diver course (AOW is a prerequisite) will get you trained to go to the maximum recreational depth limit of 130′. The best part of all these? They’re easy and can be done in a weekend or less!

Vow to dive somewhere you’ve never dived before. This could be somewhere far away and exotic or as simple as Beaver Lake instead of Tenkiller. Or go on one of our many group trips we organize every year! The far away and exotic part is a no brainer, obviously, but try to break out of your bubble. If you’ve only dived the Caribbean, vow to try the South Pacific! If you’ve only gone to Cozumel, vow to try Belize or Roatan or Little Cayman! And while we all want to dive in crystal clear, warm water with tons of fish, beautiful coral, and a great beach waiting for us when we get back to land, sometimes that’s not always possible. Although “real life” should NEVER get in the way of scuba diving, work schedules, finances, family committments, and other things have a tendency to do that from time to time. You might be surprised to find that there’s a lot more fun to be had than you might think in our local lakes! Plenty of friendly fish and scuba parks full of boats, cars, and airplanes are some of the staples to be found, and when it comes to increasing some of those skills we discussed in the last paragraphs, lake diving can’t be beat! One of the most important, and fun, aspects of lake diving is the social interaction. Every weekend that we go to Beaver, Tenkiller, or the Blue Hole, there’s all sorts of fun to be had out of the water as well as under, and new friendships are always made.

Vow to get someone else invloved in diving. “If everybody was a scuba diver, the world would be a better place.” That’s one of my favorite phrases, and I truly believe it. Scuba diving is SUCH a social activity, and it’s always more enjoyable with friends/family! Think about the difference between coming home from your dive trip and showing friends pictures of the cool things you saw as opposed to gathering together at the end of the day’s diving, comparing pictures, and talking about the cool things that you both/all saw! Tell your friends and family about how awesome diving is, get them involved, maybe even gift a certification course to a loved one if you’re able! If they’re feeling a little anxious or wondering whether it might be for them, talk to them about doing a Discover Scuba Diving experience. It’s cheap, has zero committment, and it usually makes life-long scuba converts. The bottom line (besides making the world a better place)? When you have a dive buddy(ies) you like to dive with, you’ll do it more!

Many, if not most, New Year’s resolutions fail within a matter of months, mostly because they’re not fun. Losing the spare tire is great, but who wants to lay off chips and cookies?! On the flip side, increasing your dive skills, knowledge, and experience are definitely positive things, AND the journey is a FUN one! There’s a reason we call it the “Lifestyle Upgrade.” So, let’s all vow to DIVE MORE and make 2023 a great year with at least one resolution we can stick with because it’s not only beneficial, it’s fun as well.

Until next time, never stop learning, never settle for “good enough,” and stay sharky, my friends!

Why is it so hard to stick with resolutions ?

New Year Resolutions Are Hard

They're Not Fun!

This is too often the case. We start off with the best of intentions but quickly lose motivation. I can neither confirm nor deny that my workout room has ever looked like this…

PADI Continuing Education Course

Learn Something!

Your Open Water certification is kinda like a driver or pilot license; it’s a license to learn. So, learn! Increase your skills while having a lot of fun, and guarantee you don’t have to sit on the “kiddie boat” on your next dive trip.

Enjoy Lake Scuba Diving

Don't Forget The Lakes!

Is it 100′ visibility? No. Are there sharks, morays, and sea turtles? No. But diving lakes, quarries, etc. are more fun than you might imagine! If you haven’t tried it already, you might be surprised at the number of fun things there are to see and interact with! And every skill that you learn and master in a lake? They’re a lot easier when you do them in the ocean.

Scuba is More Fun With Friends

Bring Your Friends!

Most activities are more fun with friends, and scuba diving is no exception. If your friends and family aren’t certified yet, tell/show them what they’re missing! When you have great buddies to dive with, you’ll want to do it more. Then then more you do it, the better you get. The better you get, the more you want to do it. See what we did there…?

My Top 10 Reading List

My Top 10 Reading List

          I never get tired of diving. I never get tired of talking about diving, learning about diving, teaching diving, or reading about diving. Whether it’s a trade publication, consumer magazine, blog, novel, or instructional manual, any chance to stuff my brain with more knowledge and information is always welcome. Sometimes it’s important to my job as an instructor, and sometimes it’s just a fun diversion. Sometimes it’s both! Here’s a list, in no particular order, of my Top 10 favorite books about diving (at the moment). Each of these books, as well as others, adds one layer or another to the way I dive and think about diving. I think you’ll enjoy them and get a lot out of them. There are many others not on this list, but some of them do get a bit technical. If you’re interested in those, drop me a line and I’ll share those too!

1. Shadow Divers by Rob Kurson

Deep wreck-diving legend John Chatterton discovers an unknown submarine off the New Jersey coast, thus beginning a six-year, odds-against-them journey to identify it. New friends are made, friends die, marriages are strained, and dive skills are put to the test. Kurson writes so well that this book reads like a novel with cliffhangers all over the place. However, it’s all true. This is the book that got me into technical diving, and I was lucky enough to learn tech and deep wreck diving from John himself.

Shadow Divers Robert Kurson

2. Pirate Hunters by Rob Kurson

The further adventures of John Chatterton. This time, he and John Mattera are seeking the lost pirate ship of Joseph Bannister, the Golden Fleece. If they can find and identify it, it will be only the second pirate ship officially discovered since the Wydah off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. But of course, they’ll have to deal with nations, governments, and rivals along the way. It’s not quite as good as Shadow Divers, in my opinion, but Kurson’s definitely still got it.

3. Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria by Kevin F. McMurray

The Andrea Doria (named after the 16th-century Genoese admiral) was the pride of the Italian cruise fleet until bad weather and bad decisions got her broadsided by the Swedish icebreaker, Stockholm, in 1956. Now lying in about 240 feet of water, she’s long been called the “Mount Everest of Scuba Diving.” While providing an exciting and profound diving experience to those properly trained, equipped, and careful, the Doria has certainly earned her “Mount Everest” moniker by claiming the lives of many divers over the decades. A great read.

4. On the Bottom: The Raising of the Submarine S-51 by Edward Ellsberg

The collision and sinking of the S-51 off the coast of Long Island, New York, in 1925 was a terrible accident that resulted in the tragic loss of 33 submariners’ lives. The salvage operation, led by then-Lieutenant Commander Edward Ellsberg, however, is a storied tale of heroism, innovation, and hard work. This is a great book, detailing US Naval salvage operations at depths that seem relatively tame today. But in 1926, in the infancy of hard hat diving, and in the cold, low-visibility waters of New York, the work these men did is absolutely amazing. One of the principal divers, Chief Gunner’s Mate Tom Eadie, went on to write his own book about the operation, as well as the salvage of the S-4 submarine in 1928, called “I Like Diving.” Good luck finding that one…

5. Iron Coffins: A Personal Account of the German U-Boat Battles of World War II by Herbert A. Werner

While not really about diving, per se, this was one of the books I read to get in the mindset of diving deep shipwrecks. It’s a fascinating read. I’m not sure which was scarier, being in the torpedo sights of a German U-Boat during WWII or being aboard one. I do know that if you had to be on one, you wanted to be on the one Werner was on. This guy was apparently charmed. Commander Werner details the shift from the time when U-Boats owned the ocean and were the terrors of the seas to the time when they found themselves on the run from great advances in American and British technology and tactics. Toward the end of the war, very few U-Boats returned to their home ports.

Iron Coffins Herbert Werner

6. Dark Descent: Diving and the Deadly Allure of the Empress of Ireland by Kevin F. McMurray

Although less well-known than the Andrea Doria, the Empress of Ireland is yet another case of mistaken intentions and poor decision making that led to the loss of over a thousand lives when she collided with the Norwegian cargo ship, SS Storstad, in the wee hours of May 1914. Now in 130 feet of water in the frigid, dangerous waters of the St. Lawrence river, the Empress provides thrilling dive opportunities to those qualified and daring enough to try. McMurray is always a fun read.

Dark Descent Kevin F McMurray

7. Diver Down: Real-World SCUBA Accidents and How to Avoid Them by Michael R. Ange

Mike Ange is quite the biggie in the scuba industry. He’s authored numerous publications and has served on the training or safety boards of many of the biggest scuba training agencies. In this book Mike lets you learn from others’ mistakes by detailing dozens of dive accidents, mostly resulting from diver error. Many of these ended in serious injury or death. Ange then teaches you how to avoid these same situations with many what-to-do and what-not-to-do explanations. This is a great read for safety-conscious divers.

Diver Down Michael R Ange

8. Titanic’s Last Secrets by Brad Matsen

Another book that doesn’t really have a lot of actual diving in it, but it’s still a fascinating peek into the world of shipwrecks by going into great depth (no pun intended) with the most famous wreck of all, RMS Titanic. Diving legends John Chatterton and Richie Kohler are tasked with discovering whether Titanic was truly built to be “unsinkable” or not. Read the book to find out what they discovered! Matsen may also put to rest some myths you’ve come to believe about Titanic and her sinking…

Titanic's Last Secrets Brad Matsen

9. The Last Dive: A Father and Son’s Fatal Descent Into the Ocean’s Depths by Bernie Chowdhury

Many of you may think to shy away from this book since it does end in tragedy and death. No, that’s not a spoiler; it tells you right on the cover. Nonetheless, I encourage everyone to read it. Not only is it a well-written and fascinating story, but it’s also full of very important lessons for life. If you take nothing else away from it, never allow poor planning, cost-cutting measures, bad attitude, or ego to have any place in your future dives!

The Last Dive Bernie Chowdhury

10. Deco for Divers by Mark Powell

This is the one “technical” book I’ve included in the list because it’s not really ALL that “technical.” Powell is one of the foremost experts in decompression theory, gives countless lectures and teaching presentations around the world, and is the Director of Global Development for Technical Divers International. This book is pretty much required reading for anybody interested in decompression theory. It is indeed aimed primarily at the advanced diver, but it’s full of knowledge and information that anybody can understand and find useful. I’ve taken his 12-week course based on this book, and interacting with Mark throughout the course certainly increased my knowledge far beyond what I thought would be possible. Not just for tech divers, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in deco theory and just what’s going on in your body every time you dive.

Deco For Divers Mark Powell

Happy reading!

Until next time, never stop learning, never settle for “good enough,” and stay sharky, my friends!