Decompression Courses

by in Technical

Decompression Courses at Alba

Decompression diving involves intentionally going beyond your No Decompression Limits (NDLs) to achieve longer bottom times. This has many advantages and does not necessarily mean diving to great depths.

It all depends on the kind of diving you want to do. There are lots of wrecks in the 30-40m range that can be frustrating to explore when staying within your NDLs.

Going beyond your NDLs on a single tank is not a safe way to dive for a variety of reasons. Gas supply is inadequate, you have no redundancy of supply or back up in case of equipment or buddy failure, air is an inefficient decompression gas, and any emergency or situation that occurs during a dive must be dealt with underwater, which recreational training does not prepare you for.

Similarly, nitrox is not normally an option because you will likely get low on air before you get the chance to take advantage of longer NDLs at depth. Decompression diving in a twinset or sidemount will give you the time you want to properly explore during the bottom portion of your dive.

Learning decompression diving builds upon the foundational skills learned in the sidemount or intro to tech courses, and teaches a variety of skills, procedures, equipment use and theory that includes:

  • Decompression theory
  • Gas planning and gas management
  • Risk management
  • Team protocols- roles, fault-finding..
  • Equipment selection and use
  • Diving procedures
  • Managing decompression cylinders
  • Oxygen management
  • Emergency skills and procedures
  • Dive planning using software
  • Decompression model choice

Decompression Dive Training at Alba

Technical training at Alba is always incremental. We also have a policy of doing more dives on courses than are normally required. There is little point whizzing through the theory, skills and diving procedures, and then only giving you the chance to practice over 3 or 4 dives before deciding whether you meet the requirements or not.

Keeping it simple

The knowledge and procedures necessary to undertake decompression diving safely take time to develop, and our philosophy is keeping it simple increases safety. For example, if you are writing down extensive dive plans on a slate, this is hardly keeping it simple. Devoting most of your brain during a dive to refer and stick to a bunch of numbers on your slate is an unnecessary distraction from the dive at hand.

For decompression diving in the 40-60m range, your dive plan should be in your head and written only as a back-up in your wetnotes. There are numerous other examples. Task fixation and loss of situational awareness are proven to reduce safety in the airline industry and medical profession. Diving is no different, and our approach is all about Safety, simplicity, streamlining, and optimal equipment.

TDI Decompression Procedures

The decompression procedures course is the next step beyond advance nitrox diving. The course will qualify you to dive to 45m and undertake accelerated decompression using up to 100% oxygen.

Most dive centres run the course over 4 dives and 3 or 4 days. We don’t think that’s enough time to become proficient enough to undertake these kinds of dives without an instructor, so our course is 6 dives minimum.

Course outline-  5 days

  • Theory sessions
  • Equipment and dive planning workshops
  • Dry land skills practice (land drills)
  • Minimum 4 open water dives (6 dives standard)
  • Max depth- 45m.

Course schedule

  • Day 1- Equipment configuration, theory, and land drills
  • Day 2- Theory, skills session in a pool, or pool-like conditions
  • Day 3- Theory, 2 dives
  • Day 4- Dive planning, 2 dives
  • Day 5- Go over dive plans, 2 dives

In order to enrol on the course, you need to:

  • Be aged 18 years old.
  • Be qualified as a SDI Advanced Adventure Diver, Advanced Diver, or equivalent.
  • Be an advanced nitrox diver or equivalent.
  • Provide proof of 25 logged open water dives.

For more information on the TDI Advanced Nitrox course, please click here.

Raid Deco 50

This is an accelerated decompression course, allowing you to dive to 50m using either air or trimix (highly recommended), and undertake up to 30 minutes of decompression using a single decompression cylinder of up to 100% to accelerate your decompression. This is a very comprehensive course that is equivalent to TDIs intro to tech, advanced nitrox, and decompression procedures combined.

Note that the course usually takes 8 days to complete, and includes more dives than you would undertake at other dive centres for the equivalent level of training. This is intentional to allow a smoother progression and ensure that you have done more than just the bare minimum required to fulfil agency standards. Having the time to increase your understanding and competence is crucial to becoming a safe and skilled technical diver.

Course content

  • Theory sessions
  • Equipment workshop
  • Dry land skills practice (land drills)
  • Skills session in a pool, or pool-like conditions
  • Minimum 8 open water dives (likely 10 required)
  • Max depth 50m.

Course outline

  • Day 1- Discussion of course, theory discussion. Equipment configuration workshop and dive set up.
  • Day 2- Pool session covering weighting, trim, buoyancy, and dive skills and procedures.
  • Day 3- Theory discussion. Dive 1 (15-20m)- skills and diving procedures. Dive 2 (20-30m).
  • Day 4- Dive planning & equipment prep. Dive 3 (30-40m)- simulated decompression dive. Dive planning & equipment prep. Dive 4 (30-40m)- simulated decompression dive.
  • Day 5- Dive planning session. Dive 5 (30-45m)- simulated decompression dive. Dive planning & equipment prep. Dive 6 (30-45m)- simulated decompression dive.
  • Day 6- Dive planning & equipment prep. Dive 7 (30-45m)- decompression dive. Dive planning & equipment prep. Dive 8 (30-45m)- decompression dive.
  • Day 7- Dive planning & equipment prep. Dive 9 (40-50m)- decompression dive.
  • Day 8- Dive planning & equipment prep. Dive 10 (40-50m)- decompression dive.

In order to enrol on the course, you need to:

  • Be 18 years old.
  • Be a certified diver for at least 3 months.
  • Be certified as a Nitrox, Deep, and rescue diver, and have experience in navigation and night/restricted visibility diving.
  • Have logged at least 5 hours between 27-40 m.
  • Submit current Rescue Breathing, CPR Training and Oxygen Provider certificates.
  • Have logged 50 hours underwater or 75 dives using open circuit.
  • Provide documented proof of prerequisite requirements must be presented to the Dive Centre for approval prior to any in water training.

IANTD Technical diver

In order to enrol on the course, you need to:

  • Be 18 years old.
  • Be an advanced nitrox or higher.
  • Provide proof of 100 logged dives (30 of which must be deeper than 27m).

If you would like more information or have any questions about Decompression Courses at Villa Alba, please get in touch.