National Association of Rescue Divers

Open Water Training

Open water training should be like pool training, fun. All skills should be practiced, but no theory discussed. Like pool training, there should be a quarterly skills evaluation. The equipment used for open water training includes everything for an actual scene call. It should include water rescue dummies, back boards, stokes basket, ropes, C-collars and any other equipment used. Open water training must include night training as well as daylight.

The most important skill to practice in open water is search and recovery. Search patterns need to be practiced over and over again. Treasure hunts can make the search class fun. Take turns having a team member place four our five objects in the water the day before the hunt. He is the witness. The remainder of the team pairs off and solicits information from the witness. He only answers questions that are asked and does not volunteer information. Just like a real witness the team with the most objects wins, which is usually based on who asked the best questions.

Another search game is: Find the golf ball. Buddy teams are used as the searchers. This game also has two variations, easy and hard. First the easy way. The buddy pair to search stands on the bank without any gear on or assembled. A team member then takes a golf ball and throws it into the water with the search team watching. As soon as the ball is tossed time starts. The search team has to get into their gear, buddy check, check in with the Divemaster, and then find the golf ball. On exiting the team must check in with the Divemaster and record their air, bottom time and maximum depth before time ends.

Now the hard way. Everything is the same except the searchers do not watch the ball enter the water, but the rest of the team does. They must find the ball based on interviewing the witnesses. No one may volunteer any information. It can be seen that these games develop not only search skills but interviewing skills as well.

Compass work is an important aspect of Dive Team operations. Practicing the same old square, triangle, and out and back gets boring. To make it fun there are compass games. These compass games can be done at night or daylight as can the search games. First is the basic compass course. This is done by plotting a prearranged course on a slate and having the buddy team follow the instructions. The team that comes out closest to the plotted exit wins. A tape measure is needed to measure the distance the team exits in relation to the actual stake.

A more advanced compass course is done like the military compass course. The first leg is given being direction and distance, every consecutive leg is based on the team finding the marker ending the last leg. The marker buoy underwater will have a slate giving a distance and direction to the next marker. Marker two cannot be found until marker one is found, and so on. The markers should have numbers on them and the divers have to record the numbers off the markers, this prevents cheating. Do not let anyone know the number of legs in the course until after they exit. This should be a timed exercise being that all divers exit when one of the buddies reach 500 psi. This type of compass course is extremely difficult underwater and is best at developing compass skills. Once its been done a few times in daylight try this one at night for some real fun.



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