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For the yachting professional on the Mediterranean

Dive Skills

Article by ONBOARD Magazine

GUE Dive Training

AS A LEADER IN SCUBA EDUCATION AND SAFETY, GLOBAL UNDERWATER EXPLORERS (GUE) TALK ABOUT THEIR ADVANCED DIVE TRAINING PROGRAMMES WITH THE EMPHASIS ON SAFETY AND GOING BEYOND THE BASICS

The guests on your yacht expect a certain level of service, and you’re the one that makes sure they get it. Every aspect of your yacht from the engine room through to the catering employs an unmatched attention to detail. Your scuba-diving operation should be no different. However the majority of your staff are likely trained by an organization that has no effective quality

control. You can be a dive master with 60 dives of experience. The level of skill, precision and attention to detail is simply not present in this sector of the diving world. You would not hire a chef who sole experience was to have been a burger flipper in a fast food joint.

When your guests dive you want to be sure that they return safely, and have had a fantastic experience in line with the rest of the service they receive on your yacht. If your staff had diving skills and knowledge that were significantly better then you have now, then your diving activities would firstly be safer and secondly mean that your guests had a more enjoyable experience.
Is there a premium scuba diving organization?

In 1998 a group of highly skilled divers formed an organisation to redefine the way that recreational scuba diving is conducted. They aimed to produce divers with a very high skill set, a strong focus on safety and teamwork, and a passion for sharing the underwater world with new divers and the public alike. This organisation is called Global Underwater Explorers.

Since its inception the reputation of GUE has spread and it is now recognised as the premium brand within the diver education sector. Its reputation for conservation an exploration work is also second to none.

GUE trains scuba divers at every point from entry level through to cave, technical and re-breather levels. It also has basic skill class that has been universally emulated, a dive master level and an instructor development pathway that exceeds all industry standards.
Attention to detail counts

The difference between a GUE diver and a regular diver is quite simply the attention to detail. Small things matter. Making sure the equipment is configured properly to allow comfort and efficiency in the water. Making sure breathing gases have been properly analysed keeps everybody in the group safe. Making a proper plan and having the confidence an authority to stick to that plan results in more enjoyable experiences, fewer “close calls” and less stress all around.

GUE training takes a little longer, costs a little more but the returns on that investment pay dividends very quickly.
Do we really need this? If this is the first time you’ve heard of GUE you may be a little sceptical. However in the 20 years of our existence, we have grown slowly and organically and our reputation has spread by word of mouth. Our training certifications, as well as our leadership and instructional levels, are all ISO certified where an appropriate standard exists.

Some see our training as complex and over difficult, however we believe that investing time in good skills development leads to divers with more confidence capability and comfort in the water. And when you are responsible for the safety and happiness of your guests then it beholds you to be as good as you can be.

Our divers understand the value of quality services
GUE divers are typically very loyal to the organization. They are typically professional people who understand the value of a quality service. When they travel they will seek out diving facilities that offer either GUE training or facilities that provide a high quality service along with an understanding of the skill set and capabilities of a GUE diver. They will also seek to dive with other divers who are similarly trained by GUE.

So how does it work?
GUE offers various levels of training but the entry point to previously certified divers is called the GUE fundamentals class. This four day event comprises six dives. The skills progress from proper neutral buoyancy and propulsion techniques including swimming backwards then culminate by teaching proficiency in sharing breathing gas with another diver and making a controlled assent to the surface. The skills must be completed within a buoyancy window of 1.5 m. Divers must also demonstrate proficiency with surface marker buoys manipulating cylinder valves and comfort without a mask. The material also includes theoretical components including breathing gas management strategies, the use of Nitrox as a breathing gas and an overview of decompression theory.

GUE’s first professional level certification is that of a recreational dive leader. This individual must pass a fundamentals class as described above and will then receive instruction in how to take on a leadership role typically for guided dives or acting as a safety diver when clients are capable of more independent activities. This class takes four days and covers the important aspects of preparing a group of divers to dive safely, briefing them as to the goals and conduct of the dive, safe control and communication in the water as well as of course a high degree of personal diving skill refinement.

How do we find out more?
Many GUE instructors are happy to travel to deliver courses. The fundamentals class is normally taught to 3 divers at a time and would be a perfect staff training exercise for your crewmembers involved in the scuba-diving aspect of your yacht. But most importantly their understanding of safety is enhanced.

The GUE recreational dive leader program is a perfect second step in the improvement of the scuba-diving activities present on your yacht. Classes can be delivered in a similar way as the fundamentals class subject to the candidates having met the prerequisites.

GUE Dive Training
GUE Dive Training
GUE Dive Training


Equipment

Scuba diving is an incredibly equipment intensive activity, and scuba divers love their toys. As full time, professional diving instructors, we are very hard on our gear, and so we only recommend brands and products that we actually use. Here are a few of our favourites:

Wetsuits
Fourth Element are a small UK based company with big ambitions. They make a wide range of swimwear and wetsuits made from recycled fishing nets, under the “Ocean Positive” banner. The wetsuits have been designed specifically for scuba diving, rather than trying to adapt surfing suits, and so are comfortable and warm for your diving clients. The company has supplied teams in the Volvo Ocean Race and is also supporting a team in the upcoming Clipper Round the World Race.

Diver Propulsion Vehicles
There is nothing quite like the feeling of scuba diving at high speed. Being able to cover large distances without exerting much energy also adds to the enjoyment. DPVs are the most fun you can have underwater, with the added bonus of feeling just like James Bond as you whizz around the reef. However, with great distance, comes great responsibility. As you and your guests move further away from your starting point, you need confidence in the equipment based on reliability and engineering. SUEX are a market leader in diving propulsion vehicles, they combine Italian styling with a 20 year history of supporting dive exploration projects around the world. With their new ERON range of Diver Propulsion Vehicles the DPV now talks directly to a Wireless dashboard that can be either DPV or Wrist mounted.

Halcyon
Alongside the development of GUE came the brand Halcyon. Halcyon diving equipment is designed and used around the world by some of the most extreme exploration teams. Halcyon are famous for their wing style BCDs, which have some great benefits for dive centres due to their infinite flexibility of fit, and this will be great for onboard dive lockers too, where space is at a premium. Their product line comprises of BC systems, Regulators, Lights, and accessories such as Lift Bags, Marker Buoys, Reels and Spools.

Brownies
Brownies Third Lung offer something a bit different. With battery powered surface supply systems that can allow guests to explore the shallows without the bulk of traditional scuba. After a short on-board training session, you can easily and quickly get your guests underwater, while keeping them together and in safe depths. A Brownie’s Hookah system can be built into your own boat utilizing your boats power source or floats on the water where storage is only a carry case 24” x 18” x 20” and a medium size duffle bag. This keeps the whole system compact, and takes up a very small amount of space in the dive locker.

Paralenz
Having all the equipment and training is massively important, but being able to record the dive, and then relive it time and time again is really cool. Traditionally diving cameras have been big, bulky and hard to manage, but that has all changed with the advent of Action Cameras. Our favourite is a camera specifically made for scuba diving, The Paralenz. This aluminium bodied tubular camera is designed to be unobtrusive, and super simple to use. They also have an accessory called the Third Person Viewer. At first glance this is an odd looking Selfie Stick, but it is actually designed to float the camera in the water and have it follow you around the dive. So the camera can be used handheld, mask mounted or on a variety of mounts, produces great looking 4k video, Means that you can run a camera to capture your guest’s dives, but without losing your ability to safely and easily manage the dive and keep everyone happy and safe.

You can find out more details about GUE, the specific content of the classes and the equipment required by contacting John Kendall (john@gue.com) or Rich Walker (richwalker@gue.com) who are both fundamentals instructors and instructor trainers with GUE. Or you can visit www.gue.com