Rescue Diver Courses at Sairee Cottage Diving Koh Tao

[singlepic id=268 w=320 h=240 float=left]Complete one of the most challenging and satisfying courses Recreational diving has to offer and become a Rescue Diver!!!

Completing the rescue course can be one of the most rewarding achievements in the diving adventure. Ask most dive professionals and they will tell you the exact same thing. Not many of us will remember our open water courses or advanced courses but many of us will definitely remember our rescue course. The reason for this as I have already stated is that it is the one course before professional level that you feel a real sense of progression and self achievement on. I have recently finished teaching a very successful three day rescue course with three of our new Divemaster trainees- Wess, Kate & Emma. So what does the rescue course actually consist of???

Day one- A classroom session to start with the SSI video viewed & the study guides looked over. Many things that you learn in the course can appear invisible to the untrained eye. A lot of attention is paid to Stress with in turn can lead to panic…A scenario we want to avoid at all costs both on the surface and underwater, for obvious reasons. Panic itself usually only sets in after many “stressors” occur. These include- equipment problems, weather condition, personal confidence in skills, personal fitness and many other things. All of which can be noticed with a trained eye. Once a stressor is detected it is essential that this be solved sooner rather than later so the situation does not develop into a panic situation. Much of the theory side of the course will focus on these areas and it’s not until you get into the water that you can get “hands on” and the real fun begins!

First day in the water consisted of a brief re-cap on self aid skills. Much of which are learned in the open water course these include- Equipment removal replacement, regulator retrieval, no mask swim, emergency ascents, and also surface toes and cramp removal. Many of which we would not have rehearsed since completing the open water course, which in some cases can be a long period of time ago. So it’s essential that we practice these skills so that they can become automatic responses should they happen at any time. After mastering all the skills we moved onto approaching panicking people on the surface. In many scenarios, from both panicking swimmers & snorkelers to panicking divers. Each of which create a different situation for the “rescuer”. Several different approaches are taught including from the front, side and also in a panicking divers case, from underneath. Remember, a panicking diver does not want to be underwater so underwater automatically then becomes the rescuers “safe haven”!

Second day is much like the first reviewing theory study guides and completing the final exam. Wess, Kate and Emma all passed with flying colours. Afternoon and session two in the water starts at 100mph with our newly qualified Dm’s Gaz and Lee playing victim for our soon to be rescue divers. Upon arriving at the dive sight the rescue candidates are timed setting up their full scuba gear. You must be able to act fast in an emergency! After this was done in less than 3mins many different scenarios were played out with myself, Gaz and Lee jumping into the water and playing victim for Wess, Kate and Emma to rescue. Most importantly, assessing the situation before completing the rescue is a must. From what conditions are like to evaluating what equipment you must wear before getting into the water, to approaching the panicking person. Making sure you keep a good distance from the person, calming them down and using a barrier to protect yourself if necessary! One of the most important things you must remember when completing a rescue is you own safety. Do not become a victim youself!!! A few mistakes were made by the three candidates who ended in them being dunked underwater but overall they did very well!!! After many rounds of practice for the three we moved onto approaching and dealing with an unconscious diver on the surface and the steps in which you get them back to the boat as you call for help at the same time. A 25min “problem” dive was then completed with myself Gaz and Lee all pretending to have problems underwater whilst diving. Kate, Wess and Emma all had to deal with these accordingly and calm the situations down…Which they managed very very well! This can be the most fun part of the course for all concerned! Problems underwater may include a lost mask or fin, problems with breathing or buoyancy…all of which must be solved by the rescuer!

[singlepic id=266 w=320 h=240 float=right]Day three of the course and again many different panicking situations were played out and recovering an unconscious diver on the surface was repeatedly practiced. We then moved onto the expanding square search pattern which would be used in the event of a lost diver. We then went underwater and practiced the worst possible scenario in diving. Recovering an unconscious diver from underwater. Using new techniques learned by our IT Neil Francis we safely retrieved Gaz & Lee (both acting to be unconscious underwater) from the bottom to the surface. After some practice of this we moved into the “final scenario” of the course in which Wess, Kate and Emma had to combine everything they had learned on the previous day into one. A panicked diver breaches the surface and they must act quickly. The approach maintaining a safe distance is key, to calming the paciker down and evaluating what has happened? A diver is missing and they must do a search pattern to recover an unconscious diver from the bottom safely, and then go through the procedure at the surface to quickly get them back to the boat while arranging emergency evacuation. Back at the boat and the victim and rescuer must at this stage be out of all equipment and hoisted up the ladder which takes a lot of effort. Wess, Kate and Emma would all agree that rescuing someone uses a lot more energy than you would think!!!

Like I said at the start of my blog, the Rescue Course is definitely one of the most fun and rewarding courses you can complete. Installing a lot of confidence by the end of the course. I for one remember my rescue course like it was yesterday and remember feeling like I could deal with any situation both under the water and out of the water upon completion…

Looking for a new challenge? Sign up for the next Rescue course at Sairee Cottage Diving and reap the rewards afterwards.

Views of the newly qualified Rescue Divers;

“The whole course was amazing. I feel a lot more confident in my diving & myself in General” : Wess Rawsthorne

“This was my favorite dive course to date. Whilst also making me feel loads more confident in my personal dive skills to the safety of others” Kate Parker

“This course for me greatly increased my confidence both in my diving capabilities and being able to assist others. I really enjoyed the course!” Emma Godfrey

For me personally, the rescue course is up there with my favorite courses to teach…I’m glad everyone took a lot from it and enjoyed it. The course truly does live by the Sairee Cottage Crew’s motto of “Work Hard, Play Hard”

Hope you enjoyed the read guys!!!

Gordon MacBride


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