PADI Sidemount Course
Sidemount diving was first introduced in the 80s when divers from the UK would strap tanks to their legs to dive underwater sumps and old mine shafts. Over the years it has evolved for cave diving and now we use it for a variety of recreational and technical activities.
Sidemount is the art of diving with tanks clipped to your harness at your sides, you can dive with as many or as little as a single tank as needed for your own personal dive mission with safety in mind. We usually start you with 2 tanks and if you like the configuration we progress into a Technical Sidemount and use up to 6 as needed for the dive mission.
To take part in the sidemount diver course you need to be a competent open water diver but having your advanced open water certification would be of benefit.
The course starts with an evening of gear preparation, how to rig your tanks for sidemount, different types of harness used in sidemount, regulator configurations for sidemount diving and a few on land skills practices, watch some skills videos and complete the knowledge reviews.
The Next evening we head to the pool to practice gearing up, entering the water and conducting our sidemount drills. We demonstrate and talk you through all skills then let you practice them until we have you comfortable and doing these skills with your eyes closes. You will practice things as simple as buoyancy control and deploying SMBs then move onto harder skills like out of gas scenarios and gas shut down drills. Finally after the skills are all done and mastered we take time to swim around holding precise depths with buoyancy control making sure you are comfortable for the up coming boat dives.
We then move onto the open water dives, where you will complete 3-4 open water sidemount dives. The first day we complete 2 sidemount dives from the shore or boat, going back over the previously learnt skills from the pool, working as a team we conduct our dive missions then do a de briefing afterward with the video evidence of what you looked like in the water. In the afternoon/evening we adjust any gear we need to and go over any critiquing of trim, position or things we need to concentrate on for the next dives.
The last day of the course can go 1 of 2 ways, if the dive sites allow we perform one long dive of 70-90 mins using the gas from both cylinders, this is the dive that makes you comfortable, an extended period of time sidemount diving is an awesome way to finish your sidemount journey but if the dive sites or timings do not allow for this we conduct 2 dives and have just as much fun. There are a few skills to do but nothing you have not already mastered so its pretty much fun diving in a team.