Tech Diving: Go Big, But In Baby Steps

Technical diving is definitely about thinking BIG. Some of us scuba divers get really excited about the next dive, especially if it’s a deep shipwreck we have been studying. With all of this excitement, we sometimes have a tendency to jump ahead, thinking we are just thinking big. It’s really the baby steps that get us there.

If you ever had an experience of watching a military pilot, or military personnel of any MOS (job) go through the checklist of important tasks, it could be interesting.

The checklist may be redundant and very routine but required. “Flip switch ‘A’, ‘check’. Connect cable to portal ‘C’, ‘Check’. All of this is so no one misses a step.

When I was in the US Navy, I had my fair share of experience with checklists. We had to read a black screen with light orange letters that spelled things out, similar to what many would refer to as DOS script. We couldn’t go to the next step without actually doing what the previous step required. If you did not do that, the system failed and you had to start over again. This could be after several hours into it.

Our job was to fix the boxes that came out of fighter jets, such as the F-18′s and F-14′s. Although we were not on the front line, our job was to keep these jets in the air. We cannot play games with the checklist; for the safety of the pilots we had to make sure we strictly followed the instructions given to us to fix these high-tech electrical boxes. It was also in our best interest, and that of the pilot, to get it right the first time. No shortcuts or playing games. We were protecting lives and defending our country.

Tech diving is no different. The front line would be you and your dive buddy. Tech diving brings great adventures, so why take the shortcut?

Many tech divers go big by challenging themselves to greater things. It could be that unexplored shipwreck or the artificial reef in Florida, the Spiegel Grove or the Oriskany. Anything you do has to be worked out into a carefully detailed plan. Each plan has a checklist that needs to be completed. Taking small steps to make sure you ‘check’ everything is very important. All in baby steps.

Exploring deeper shipwrecks or that wall that goes down into the abyss brings huge excitement. As you move along that U-boat laying at 200′ that was sunk during WWII, you are viewing history that most will never get to see in person. As you approach the massive hole on the Starboard side of the U-boat from a torpedo, you start to imagine how it happened. To break up your daydreaming, a small fish comes swimming out. As you start to head back up the anchor line, you turn around for one last look from 50′ above the shipwreck, and you are amazed that the visibility is so clear. You can still see the fish swimming along the bow and some sea life that is growing on the shipwreck. It’s breathtaking.

When you do any dive, shallow or deep, it’s important to take these little baby steps. Those baby steps help you cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’. This helps you get to the big things that only some will only have a chance to daydream about.