This module is one of the most challenging parts of diver training. It pushes your ability to take in information. Most of this class is in the classroom, but what you are learning becomes critical later on once you start diving and deep diving.
The class is broken down into two six-day segments and one four-day segment.
“The hardest part is that there is so much information to absorb. The math isn’t really that hard, but just the amount of information in the short time is what is the hardest.”- Instructor Bradley "Pete" Peterson
The first 6 days is Physics. This is the theory portion of the class. You’ll learn the Gas Laws, and understand how different gasses behave under pressure. Then, you get into decompression, and learning the theory of how to dive. You’ll learn rules, dive tables, and other information that will help you get in the water, get to work, and get out of the water safely.
The next 6 days is Medicine. This is where you learn how to dive safely with the knowledge you have about gasses and their limits. You’ll learn how to notice the signs of different types of dive injuries and sicknesses in the water, and how to treat them on the surface. You’ll also learn about how to handle the effects of nitrogen narcosis, which is a feeling of intoxication that affects you after you pass 99 feet of depth. By training in the chamber, Instructor Bradley Peterson explains, “you’ll learn how to work in that state safer because you get to know how your body reacts.”
Instructors will also teach you how to orient yourself in the water, and how to do flips in case you get turned upside down. You practice this on the last day of the Medicine segment, when you do a gear layout of all of your required gear for school, and a swim test to make sure all your gear fits well and that you can swim.
The last segment is a two-day chamber segment where half the class goes into 1st Aid/ CPR and the other into the chamber, all the things you’ve learned so far come together and you get to practice them inside the Hyperbaric Chamber. You try out things like using appropriate gasses, getting comfortable with the Air Spread and Chamber operations, and experiencing pressure changes. One of the most obvious pressure related changes is your voice rising in pitch, and the amount of times you must “clear” the ears with only 60 feet of travel. Later on in the program you will be doing these things in open water, but for now you begin in the chamber. “It’s a very controlled environment, so they actually watch the theory come together” Says instructor Peterson.
“The hardest part is that there is so much information to absorb. The math isn’t really that hard, but just the amount of information in the short time is what is the hardest. In order to succeed, you have to spend a lot of time studying after hours, simply because of the volume of information that comes at you. You really need to have your home life squared away so you can focus on that first month.”
“The day they actually get into the chamber and do their diver candidate pressure test. It is the first day they actually get to put this theory into practice. I think if you asked any student there would be a resounding yes, that’s the most exciting part of my class, except for my humor and wit of course.”