There is one thing about it, scuba diving is an equipment intensive hobby and lifestyle. When you get into Technical Scuba diving, that amount of equipment goes up astronomically!
So why do you want to get into Tec Diving and start your exploration that way? Maybe the better statement is that you don’t want to get into all that equipment but want to stay down a little bit longer and feel comfortable about that. Well a couple of your diving certification agencies have broken the tried and true Tec Diver programs and made some intermediate steps. Since it is what I know the best, I will reference the PADI program. PADI has broken their Tec Deep Diver program down into 3 sections. They are Tec 40, Tec 45, and Tec 50. This blog will talk about the Tec 40 program only.
Tec 40, your deepest depth is 130 feet, you are able to plan a dive with up to 10 minutes of “Deco” time, use up to a 50/50 enriched air mix, and you can use your recreational equipment. In my opinion, this is an excellent way for you to stay safer on your deep dives, become more confident and even tell people you are a Technical Scuba Diver, and didn’t spend the small fortune on the equipment.
Now understand, you are still going to have to purchase a couple of things. Just not the doubles, new BCD (unless yours needs to be replaced) and the whole plethora of hoses. You can stick to diving your aluminum 80′s, or even splurge a bit and get high pressure steel 100′s, but that is your choice. You can use your regulator, hoses and gauges. What you do need to do, is have the ability to have an independent air source that you can breath off. Most people accomplish this by “rigging” and deco bottle. Normally a 30 or 40 cubic foot bottle will serve all your needs. Then you will have to purchase that regulator set up for that equipment and a pressure gauge. You have met the minimum requirements of the Tec 40 program.
What can you do with that set up? How about a dive down to 120 feet and stay there for 20 minutes? This past weekend we did our annual trip to the Straits of Mackinac. There, one of our newest Tec 40 dives did just that style of diving on a single 100, with a deco bottle filled with a 50/50 enriched air mix. Had the ability to dive on one of the most amazing shipwrecks that he ever seen. He actually did two dives like that over the weekend. Same results, phenomenal dives and able to enjoy them both. Better yet, because we planned them out, he knew where he needed to be the entire diver. No guessing and no nagging concerns about what if…..
So if the equipment requirements are so simple, why not take that plunge and give yourself a better chance on the deep dives by taking those introduction courses into Tec diving. A little more learning never hurt anyone and it will pay off in the long run.