Tag Archives: decompression

Diving Dry with Doubles

Diving Dry with Doubles
by
Matthew Mandziuk

Have you ever noticed that the most active divers on the dive site are the one’s who are Diving  Drysuit with Doubles?  Quite often its the same 10-12 divers who sign up for a lot of the same trips and who often prefer diving together with the group.  The reason for that is comfort, with their kit, with the group, with themselves in the water, whereas the other 10-12 guests are a revolving door of divers with a ranged diving background.

In this blog we are going to talk a little about the benefits of diving Diving a Drysuit with Double Tanks.

By the end of this reading you should have a clearer understanding of the partnership between diving with a drysuit and doubles, the benefits of diving with a drysuit and doubles, some of the training offerings with divers in a drysuit and doubles and where diving in a drysuit and doubles can take you.

Why Dive Drysuit and Doubles? 

At first it sounds a little much, diving a nylon or neoprene full body suit, hood, gloves and then more weight than we even used in a wetsuit?  Drysuit divers wear approximately 6-8lbs minimum in fresh water (more in salt because of the added buoyancy)  more weight than a diver in a single piece 7mm jumpsuit (or about the same weight as they’d wear with an old school farmer John and Jacket).

That added weight can be inconvenient at best.

Where does one put that extra weight?  

Most of our DDS Divers utilize a backplate and harness system which promotes better horizontal trim, posture and streamlining , it’s expandable and fully adjustable to accommodate the drysuit much easier than a jacket bcd can and is far more comfortable.

To learn more about backplates in general, please click the hyperlink above.

Divers diving in Canada with a single tank often times use a stainless steel backplate with a weighted single tank adapter, that system has a total negative buoyancy weighting of approximately 10lbs.  Nearly enough to sink anyone in a 7mm wetsuit with 2-3lbs maximum per side additional, however a drysuit diver is going to require an additional 6-8lbs minimum depending on the undergarments they wear.

In an attempt to  promote proper horizontal trim, the diver will want to re-distribute the weight evenly around the body with a maximum of 4-5lbs per hip pocket and up to that much weight on each of the single tank straps for a total of up to approximately 20lbs of weight plus the backplate system = 30lbs. Doesn’t that seem like a little much?  

In an attempt to minimize the weight the diver wears, many will go to a single steel tank which can be 2-8lbs negatively buoyant by todays standards diving with a Faber steel cylinder.  

A few years ago Worthington cylinders were preferred for their additional negative buoyancy characteristics with the X7-100 and X8-130 being the 2 most popular options.  In Faber the FX100, FX133 and LP85 are our most popular sizes.  Strangely enough the 100’s and 130’s were also the most suitable tanks for doubling up for deeper dives.  

Faber FX100 swings from -8.41lbs full to -0.59lbs empty.
Faber FX133 swings from -9.08 full to +1.45lbs empty
Faber DVB85 swings from -3.8 full to + 2.32 empty

Worthington X7-100 had a swing of -10lbs to -2.5lbs
Worthington X8-130 had a swing of -11.7 to -2lbs

Having a tank that is negatively buoyant allows divers to reduce overall weight required and keeps some of that negative buoyancy behind you which helps improve your trim rather than having all that weight on the hips, but you don’t want to overweight yourself with tanks too heavy and underwear too thin.  Try and find the balance.  Many divers will even favour aluminum tanks for shallow shore diving with thin garments.

Adding an extra tank minimizes or eliminates the need for additional weight while adding a safer configuration that builds on our progressive single tank system utilizing a long hose/short hose and spg on 24″-26″ HP hose and it gives divers  the ability to solve a catastrophic failure thanks to redundant regulators.

Aluminum twins are popular option for divers looking for a great wetsuit set that can be used with a drysuit, however, they are more suitable for use on shallow dives.  When worn with a drysuit the diver will have to wear a heavier steel plate, a v-weight with lead down the centre of the tanks and a compact and streamlined wing.  They are easy to dive with little learning curve.

Steel tanks will take the diver further through deeper dives, caves, wreck penetration and offer more reserve gas on the divers back to deal with emergencies.

Vertical Divers with all the weight on the waist in a jacket bcd with dangling everything
DDS Diver John displaying perfection with great trim, buoyancy, control and style as he swims around the Tugs in Tobermory, ON

Many divers prefer the additional gas capacity of the steel tanks as well as the larger sized tanks allow divers to dive deeper and stay longer in comparison to the standard aluminum 80 tank which is still the most popular scuba diving tank on the market.

 

Drysuit Divers and DDS Divers have better trim because a drysuit surrounds the entire body with a little bit of air (less is better).

Redistribute weight, minimize weight and enjoy easier diving.

 

As divers tend to dive more off the dive boats and spend more time on their favourite dive sites, divers start looking at how to get more bottom time.  

Diving Nitrox allows divers to gain up to 50% more bottom time on sites around 100′ and deeper, while yielding even more bottom time shallower, however, the limiting factor at that point tends to be their breathing rates and the sizes of tank they use, so a steel tank will in fact increase their bottom time an allow them to achieve their dive plans up to the Nitrox NDL most dives.

For divers who find even on Nitrox, the NDL isn’t always long enough, extending their range into decompression diving often is the trick, as a diver learns how to properly and safely plan their dives with a little bit of decompression utilizing advanced nitrox mixes to accelerate decompression times.  This is where doubles are most beneficial.

DDS Divers practicing bottle handling

When a diver combines the drysuit for maximum exposure protection and comfort along with a set of twin tanks, they no longer have to worry about switching out their tanks on that rocking dive boat in between dives, they no longer have to worry about adding weight to their hips or anywhere usually on their body, and they can certainly benefit from the increased balance and comfort that doubles offer.

You’ll also find divers enjoy just going out and working on foundational skills is easy to observe as our divers are always out in open water honing their skills.

Diving Dry with Doubles allows for more even balance in the water as the tanks are placed over top of each lung rater than down the spine like a single tank, while giving the diver a more comfortable suit to don and doff.

Drysuits are easier to put on than a 5-7mm wetsuit.

Drysuits are more effective for warmth retention.

Crushed neoprene or trilaminate Drysuits don’t compress with depth like wetsuits which get thinner with each atmosphere making the diver heavier because of the initial weight they start the dive with, as well as making the diver colder because those thick suits become much thinner every 30ft/10meters they descend.

Are Doubles For You?

If you can carry them on your back, reach your valves and dive with them comfortably, the answer is yes!

DDS Divers working on valve shutdowns on dry land getting the sequence down.

Look at the number of accidents that have happened in recreational diving situations with single tanks, especially on deeper dives.  Most recreational diving accidents occur in a single tank with no redundancy (pony bottle, sidemount, h-valve, doubles) or lack of training.  

A diver breaths their tank empty, their buddy runs out of air and they didn’t reserve enough gas for them and their buddy to ascend, they went in cold water and the regulator froze up, they hit the regulator or tank valve off a shipwreck or overhead environment creating a catastrophic failure, the BCD freezes, their dive computer blows off the end of their high pressure hose (another reason to wrist mount your computer) so they panic seeing bubbles streaming out of the high pressure hose, etc….

Minimize the risk, Increase the Fun and Learning and be more mentally and physically prepared with more advanced training.

If you’re interested in diving deeper than 80′, cavern or cave diving, technical diving, ice diving, mixed gas diving or wreck penetration, you should do it on doubles.  To many people did it wrong and it cost them their lives.

Be the best diver you can be.  Get involved with DDS and we’ll make you the best diver you can be with our training, experience dives, trips, charters and exploration offerings.

We’ve found these factors to be some of the most beneficial tools to extend your diving into a more fun and exciting world:

Dive Planning: Plan Your Dive, Follow Your Plan, Have an overplan, bailout plan, but don’t deviate from the main dive plan

Gas Management: 1/3 down and around, 1/3 back, exiting water with 1/3 of your gas supply 

Redundancy: Doubles allow the ability to shut down your regulator in the event of a failure, free flow, freeze-up, burst disc failure etc. Isolation manifold allows to shut down and switch over by isolating and shutting down the offending post or just shutting down the offending post.

Narcosis Management: Don’t Dive Deep On Air.  You’re narc’d at 130ft/40meters whether you know it or not.  Don’t dive deep on air, it’s silly, outdated and unsafe with education and helium training available now.

Team Diving: Serious Diving requires divers you can trust in an emergency and in an pinch. Don’t just dive with the randoms you find on a boat down south, they’re usually once a year divers with horrible habits and inferior training.  Dive with divers you have a positive history with or as ask us and we can refer you to more progressively minded shops

No Solo Diving on Deep Dives: Solo Diving is popular now, we’d likely choose this option if diving south with random divers instead of having to buddy up with people that we don’t feel comfortable diving with, however, deeper dives require piece of mind, extra equipment and a proper plan with lots of “what-if’s” to be safe guarded against.  It’s not worth solo cave, solo deep (exceeding NDL) or solo overhead environment without buddies

Analyze Your Mixes: Always, Always, Always analyze your mixes when you pick your tanks up, make sure they’re labelled and if diving with a fill that was “just filled” and you have to grab and go, analyze it again before your day of diving begins.

Practice , Practice, Practice: Complacency Kills.  Work on trim, buoyancy, bottle handling, dealing with simulated emergencies, smb deployment, alternate fin kicks, etc.  Be the most polished and best diver you can be.

Fit is Everything

Don’t just jump into drysuits and doubles blindly.  It requires the right fitting suit and undergarments first and foremost.  Many brands of drysuits are inferior in fit and quality, even the brands offering “custom fit”.  

You’ll notice most shops try and pedal the cheaper suits that are like garbage bags or garbage bags wrapped in lycra to cover up the garbage bag look. This is like buying a drysuit from McDonald’s!  Don’t Waste Your Money

If you truly want to LOVE your drysuit and want to enjoy using it, take the time to get properly measured and properly fit.  Don’t just let the dive store hand you a suit off the rack and tell you that it’ll fit you perfectly, we’ve had that happen to several students from out of town that couldn’t complete their required skills during Intro to Tech Training and ended up renting suits from us to finish the class, then ultimately buy a brand new suit from us.

Do it Right.

We are partial to Diving Unlimited International because they offer the best quality, service, workmanship and there is an actual after sales service with them.  They are our top choice for hard to fit people too.  It’s all about comfort and fit with them.

DUI have great value priced suits with their Coronado, San Diego and Yukon II suits and the new Cortez (2019) suits obliterate most brands “top of the line suit” for quality, features, performance, as well as coming with user replaceable quick change ZipSeals, meaning you don’t have to send the suits away for service unless you damage the suit or zipper!  No brand can compete with that!

DDS Divers enjoying a winter getaway to Muskoka

Santi offers a great quality and great looking suit.  We do their stock and modified stock suits.  You’re allowed up to 4 alterations at no extra cost with them and they do offer custom too.  Suits are very tough and stylish with a beautiful Euro look of elegance and colour.  They do take some time 2-3 months typically (sometimes less sometimes more).

Fourth Element offers the most flexible drysuit on the market.  It’s durable and looks great and they’re using technology to their advantage instead of dive stores who can miss measure someone by using BIOMAP technology to digitally create an image of the person to cut the suit for.  Great suits for a great price with great service…it might just take a bit more time to get the suits made 2-3 months typically.

BARE offers a great stock suit at a good price depending on what you get with the suit from your LDS.  Just but it from DDS and you’ll be happiest.

The Drysuit Underwear is as important for fit and mobility as the drysuit itself.  Santi offers modified stock and custom underwear, DUI offers DuoTherm ultra stretch polartec suits for custom fit as well as a great selection of stock sizes in up to an XM450 material which is exceptional underwear for cold water.  Fourth Element offers an amazing range of suits for a range of conditions made with some of the nicest feeling and fitting materials.

Learn more about diving doubles by stopping in or sign up for a Discover Doubles NTEC night with us.  

NTEC will introduce you to the doubles configuration, foundational skills you should master, emergency drills and more. It’s a perfect prep-workshop that introduces divers to the principles that will help lay the groundwork moving forward towards more regimented training with the right guidance, education, exercises and more to help ready you for our NAUI Intro Class.

Our NAUI Intro to Tech Course is a Rudimentary Elements of Diving Course that will highlight the foundational skills and develop them from a recreational perspective that will dovetail into more advanced and technical diving activities and show recreational divers a preview of what their diving can be like by testing and honing a divers finesse, comfort, trim, buoyancy, effortless skills, problem identification and reactions, team diving, smb deployments, buoyancy refinement, fin techniques and so much more.

wreck-diving-lake-michigan-1
Matt exploring the Car Ferries James W. Curran and John A. McPhail in Lake Huron

NTEC and Intro are the 2 most exciting, modern, challenging classes that will help improve your skills and enjoyment in the drysuit the most. Tie in NTEC and your PADI Drysuit Specialty Course together and see diving with a  different mindset than what you’d hear/see/learn in a traditional PADI system of diving education.

Diving Dry allows for longer bottom time in cooler water or more dives per day. A more comfortable gear up experience from a boat.

When you look at our DDS dive trip pics on Facebook or Instagram you’ll notice aside from a pool or an open water course weekend, the majority of the divers you see on our trips and con-ed classes are all in drysuits and you’ll notice that a lot of the same divers come out year after year on our charters and trips because their level of enjoyment is substantially higher than a wetsuit divers.

A friend of ours had a shop in Massachusetts and they trained their divers exclusively in drysuits.  They offered by far the most expensive open water course from NY-Maine and everywhere in between, yet their continuing education rates were 400% vs a national industry average of about 25% of divers who go diving and train after open waters.

So they found enormous success training their divers and promoting colder water diving trips because like DDS, they realized the best diving in the world was around the Great Lakes, Atlantic wrecks, Florida and surrounding areas. They were right.

In Closing

Drysuits will last you longer than a wetsuit, will give a diver buoyancy control that is easier to maintain when you where a little “squeeze” on the suit vs a wetsuit which compresses and changes depth the deeper or shallower you go.

Drysuits will allow for colder water immersion and more dives per day, while in between dives the divers will warm up faster, so the energy that is rejuvenated is much higher, especially with todays’ warmer Thinsulate’s and heated systems.

Combining a drysuit with a set of doubles sets a diver up for a lifetime hobby where anything is achievable.  

The divers can spend more time under the water enjoying their hobby.  They don’t have to change tanks awkwardly on the boat in between dives like single tank divers do.  They add a larger gas source to deal with emergencies such as low on air or an equipment failure, while also adding redundancy in the event of a regulator or valve failure.  

Aside from a little extra weight on land, there isn’t much difference between a single tank and a lot of lead to sink a recreational diver and a set of doubles.  

For divers who can’t wear a set of doubles, try Sidemount!  Sidemount is a great option for divers who don’t have the ability to reach back to shut a valve down or who have had back surgery or a physical limitation that negates the ability the wear doubles on their back.

At Dan’s we believe in a more fun progression, so training our divers the right way from the very beginning is so imperative and gives them so many more options moving forward beyond Open Water, Advanced, Drysuit, Rescue, Divemaster and Instructor.  Don’t get caught in the boring progressions that the recreational agencies endorse, there is a much more fun, challenging and enjoyable progression ahead.

Experience more in the world of scuba diving instruction with Dan’s and let us show you a better way to do things that makes more sense and creates better divers.

Dan’s is an innovator of progressive recreational and technical diving, bringing the most modern skills and philosophies forwards before anyone in Canada as we continue to lead and offer the highest standards and most exceptional dive training for recreational and technical diving and have helped shaped some of the finest explorers in the world of scuba diving too.  Train with Dan’s and see a brighter diving future.

 

Technical Diving Courses The DDS Difference

Technical Diving Courses The DDS Difference

Technical Diving The DDS Difference…..Cave Diving Courses, Technical Diving Instruction and Rebreather Explorer Courses.  Tech Diving at it’s Best….Let Dan’s be your guideline to diving excellence and perfection.

Learn_to_cave_dive_in_Florida_Mexico_Dominican_with_Matt_Mandziuk
Matt’s approach to cavern, cave and technical diving instruction is rooted in safety, reliable and streamlined equipment choices, problem solving and situational awareness

There are many choices in the technical diving courses market place. We want to be your first and only choice in technical diving courses and equipment.

We offer programs that are taught to higher standards from more experienced instructors who are willing to travel anywhere you are located to learn how to dive the best way possible.

If you want a technical diving course that is a cut above the rest, we’ll go that extra mile to make you the best diver you can be.

We helped introduce technical diving to the Canadian diving market in 1986 when we partnered with Dive Rite. We were among the first divers certified in the safe use of Nitrox around 1992 and started offering  technical diving courses in 1995, rebreather training in 1997.

In 2000 we began offering the most progressive technical diving educational courses after being introduced to a better style of diving.  We began to embrace and teach our recreational and technical courses with a more streamlined equipment configuration and a team diving approach inspired by what is now known as the “Hogarthian”, “NTEC” or “DIR” philosophy.  We simply call this team diving methodology a more progressive style of diving.

Not long after this, we began our path down the expedition diving trail participating in exploration projects that have been featured on television, in newspapers, radio and dive magazines exploring shipwrecks and caves.

By 2007 we had begun offering cold water wreck sidemount training and became one of the first facilities to start offering recreational and technical diving classes in a progressive Sidemount  configuration.

white-arrow-explorer-ccrThroughout the 90’s and early 2000’s we had had a love/hate relationship with rebreathers and after many people suffered tragic ends, we were on the fence until we came across a rebreather concept so simple, yet familiar, we had to start diving it to see for ourselves. After a number of CCR Dives we brought in this progressive rebreather configuration to be paired with double tanks of any size, dual-isolation manifold and long hose/short hose/spg configuration laid out the same way as someone would wear a doubles kit but with no bubbles in CCR or fewer bubbles in PSCR rebreather configurations and of course a breathing loop with bail out valve configuration.  We offer Rebreather Training  on the White Arrow Explorer CCR, PSCR Expedition model and any similarly laid out rebreather from the other manufacturers.

By teaching diving the right way we have given our technical diving course graduates more academic and in-water awareness, more team and goal oriented dive opportunities, structure, uniformity, a more streamlined gear configuration and the ability to conduct dives in a safer fashion in comparison to the vast majority of tech divers certified in the market.

Our dedication to our students’ development, our passion for underwater exploration, and our personal diving experience and disciplines set us ahead of the pack as the clear cut leader in technical diving education as we continue to lead the way in technical diving education.

Group and Private Instruction for all levels of Technical Diving Courses are available. If you can’t come to us, we’ll even come to you, whether you’re in another province or another country. We have gear, we will travel. Courses can be done on weekends or over a block of consecutive days.

Why we’re different – Do your homework

With proper gear and training, technical diving extends your bottom time so you can truly enjoy our local wrecks. Shawn, Grace and Jeff tech pictured here post-dive of the Forest City.
With proper gear and training, technical diving extends your bottom time so you can truly enjoy our local wrecks. Shawn, Grace and Jeff pictured here after an early Spring dive on the wreck of the Forest city as they prepped for an upcoming season of tech dives

If you’re interested in any of our technical diving programs a FREE CD is available offering a wealth of information about our courses and how we can help improve your diving to get you the most enjoyment, current information, complete and concise outline of what to expect when taking one of our amazing technical diving courses. Contact us for details and Technical Diving Course info.

Take a look in our BLOG section to see learn more about what we do, where we’ve been and how we teach or read testimonials from some of our students.

We also have a number of great videos and photos in the Photos & Videos sections. Take a look to see our students and our divers in action!

 

 

 

 

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Dan’s Dive Shop pioneer of Progressive Scuba Diving Courses and Equipment Sales

Vintage Diver Dan 1970’s

Established in 1974 by Dan Mandziuk, Dan’s Dive Shop has shared the adventure of scuba diving in Niagara, Ontario for over forty years.  We are Canada’s innovator of higher level progressive scuba diving education in Recreational, Cave & Technical Scuba Diving instruction and a purveyor of the highest quality scuba diving equipment in recreational, cave and technical diving.

At DDS we are known for offering the highest level of scuba diving education at every single level of training we offer.

We teach many of our scuba diving courses locally in Niagara, however, we also teach abroad anywhere our students want us to be, which includes other cities, provinces, states and even countries.

Matt Mandziuk carry’s on the legacy of DDS with Progressive Gear & Courses

Not Just Niagara….Dan’s is totally mobile and we are able to teach scuba courses anywhere we can drive to or fly into.  We’ve taught students from all over the world who have sought out the best scuba diving education and we have delivered time and time again.

We’ve taught students from every province in Canada, a number of the US States and other countries.

We attract a large number of students from the greater Hamilton area, as well as Burlington, Oakville, Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo,  Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.  Northern Ontario is a popular destination for us to teach in as well as we can cover Sudbury, Espanola, Little Current, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and much more with the utilization of eLearning, Skype, FaceTime or Podcasts, with watermanship sessions held in the most convenient locations possible, especially for our students in Northern Ontario.

Unmatched Retail Shopping

Shop with us Online

We are proud to offer Canada’s Largest Inventory and selection of scuba diving equipment from the top brands in the industry.

We carry the largest selection of scuba and snorkeling equipment offering the highest quality snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, as well as swimwear and metal detectors.

Our pricing is the  most competitive and we offer you the best pricing and service guaranteed on all the scuba gear we sell.   We will not be undersold.

Customers from all over North American and abroad shop our online dive store regularly for the best deals on scuba and snorkeling equipment, as well as expert drysuit sales and service.

Why pay more buying gear from your local dive shop or buying it out of the U.S. when we guarantee you better pricing, equipment choices and service?

We take away the hassle of crossing the border, paying duty or brokerage fees, or expensive shipping.  Let us do the work for you and get the best gear at the best price.  Email or call us for a gear quote.

Fun and memorable dive trips

We love diving locally around the Great Lakes and surrounding areas.

We honestly believe that we have the best diving in the world right here in Ontario and some of the other coastal provinces (Quebec, BC., Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to name a few), so we are pleased to offer both local and down south scuba diving trips and excursions to cater to divers who like diving in any environment warm or cold.

Experience a fun day charter, a fun filled weekend trip out of town diving  the great local Canadian sites, U.S. sites, or join us for a week or more doing some further more exotic scuba diving destinations on one of our dive travel trips around the world.

We run amazing trips South as well!  We routinely run trips to Micronesia, Mexico, Honduras, Florida, Bahamas and many other warm water destinations too.

Count on our team

Get to know our great team of staff and instructors who are all active and constantly learning divers. We love what we do and are always looking for like minded people to join our dive team.

The majority of our dive team are local Niagara area Divers, with some of our team covering the Toronto and Burlington regions. If you want to learn to dive using a different philosophy that focuses on diver comfort, development of foundation skills, team diving with the ability to go anywhere you could possibly imagine in scuba, the possibilities are endless here at DDS.

E-Learning at your pace

Whether you’re just starting out or are already certified –  PADI’s eLearning is a flexible and convenient way to take more dive courses online at your pace. Sign up and get started right away with the instructional videos and interactive learning modules. Register Dan’s Dive Shop as your local PADI Dive Centre when you sign up and you can come in any time to ask us questions about what you’re learning.

Active in our local community

We’re involved with many charities and events such as: Project Aware Foundation, We Are Water Project, Dive For A Cure, United Way, Terry Fox Foundation, Race Against Autism, Old Timers Hockey, St. Catharines and Welland Rotary Clubs, Grimsby Auxiliary Marine Rescue Unit, as well as local hospitals, police departments, fire departments,  schools and many other organizations.

Experience the difference

Come in and see the difference we can make in your diving career. It’s fun, challenging and you’ll get a lot more out of this sport with the right store backing you in the right gear with the right skill and techniques.

Let us help you become the best diver you can be – join Dan’s Dive Shop and Divers Edge training.

See you in the water!