Too many Scuba incidents – Stress, and how to deal with it.

The background

I cannot explain why, but it seems as though more recently there appears to be a wave of scuba diving deaths or incidents that I am being made aware of. Maybe, it’s just a coincidence that it happens to be people within my social networks sharing this information, or maybe with the continued growth of social media has made it easier to have access or exposure to this information?! I don’t know. Either way, the incidents have come to my attention as of late and to me its something that cannot be ignored.

I am not a detective and I do not want to even open the door to try to suggest what has been the cause of such incidents but the interesting common denominator with the majority of these incidents is that the cause of death remains unknown. The diver has failed to surface. When I do hear of such incidents it does prompt me to examine and share with the diving community one topic that is simply impossible to ignore, and I can assure you with no doubt, that each diver that has failed to rejoin us for sure experienced this on their last fatal dive. Stress.

The problem

Stress is an emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil. It is a normal human emotion we all experience when we face threatening or difficult situations. Stress is not the same as fear, which is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat, whereas stress is the expectation of future threat. Associated with the secretion of adrenalin, stress can help us avoid dangerous situations or get out of them. It can make us alert and it can spur us to deal with a threat or other problem and not simply avoiding it (i.e., the “fight or flight” reaction). However, if feelings of foreboding become too strong or last too long, they can hold us back from many normal activities and have debilitating outcomes.

A more intense form of stress is panic, a sudden, unexpected but powerful surge of th-4fear. Panic can cause a wholesale flight from the immediate situation, a reaction that is especially dangerous for scuba divers. A diver who experiences panic at depth is subject to near-drowning, lung over-expansion injuries and death. Panic attacks are extremely dangerous under water, and sometimes its difficult to know what triggers them.

Out of a millions of certified scuba divers, a percentage of recreational scuba divers die each year, but little is known about the precipitating events for many of these deaths. A coroner’s report of “drowning” tells us nothing about what led to, or caused, a divers death. Reports by DAN (Divers Alert Network) and other agencies into scuba diving accidents state that:

“Researchers in diving accidents implicate panic, as a response to stress or anxiety as the major cause of diving fatalities”


In Medical Examination of Sport Scuba Divers (1998), Alfred Bove states:

“Panic, or ineffective behaviour in the emergency situation when fear is present, is the single biggest killer of sports divers”.


In 1998 the Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC) guideline for the Recreational Scuba Divers physical examination listed “a history of panic disorder” as an absolute contradiction to scuba diving.

However, we must be very clear that there is no way to determine that panic in accidents does result in fatalities, this is merely an assumption based on knowledge of the psychological and behavioural responses that people make to stress. What we do know is that many people feel stress before a dive especially when they are starting out on their scuba diving journey. It is completely understandable as it is a new alien world that is being explored. Beginners don’t know what it is going to feel like underwater or if they will enjoy it. In abnormal situations, stress is manifested by apprehension and dread, though it sometimes cannot be attached to a clearly identifiable stimulus. This stressful state usually occurs in response to a mishap, such as a dive mask flooding with water. This may cause the diver to panic unnecessarily and behave irrationally. The essential feature of a panic attack is a period of intense fear that is accompanied by a sense of imminent danger and an urge to escape, or a desire to flee from wherever the attack is coming from. An
expected result of a diver having a panic attack would be that the divers breathing rate increases, there by resulting in decreased efficiency or oxygen exchange, and a feeling of suffocation ensues. The diver would then typically try to make a rapid ascent to the surface or departure from a certain location or frantically grabs for air supplies and lack of concern for the safety of others.


Another way that panic can show itself is what we call Passive panic. These divers are perceived as calm, they will sink, and perish without a call for help. The buddies of these divers thought their associates were non-stressed, and normal. Recognizing this form of panic is very difficult, the victims show no outward signs of any difficulty, but most will have “blank eyes”. Underwater they may lose their regulator and not try to replace it. They will not try to save themselves. Typically a passive victim will seem confused, or vague and then slip underwater. It is the divers total inability to look after themselves and willingness to sink that appears in most case studies.

Either way the panic manifests itself it arises when individuals lack a solution to a critical problem. Sometimes, experienced divers with hundreds of logged dives also experience panic for outwardly no clear reason. The panic most likely occurs because divers lose sight of familiar objects, become disoriented and experience a form of sensory deprivation. The likelihood of a victim of panic coping with any situation is slim to none. In the study of divers death, many still had the weight belt still in place, mouthpiece had been removed, buoyancy compensators were not inflated, and air was still in the tank. This all suggest panic.

One training goal of all scuba diving agencies at all diving levels is to provide the diver with these “solutions” which should become automatic behaviours.

The factors of stress and what to look out for.

Physical Causes of Stress:


Sensory Deprivation

Time Pressure


Cold Water

Poor Fitness/Swimming Ability

Strong Currents, Waves, Obstructions

Dangerous Marine Life

Psychological Causes of Stress:

Peer Pressure

Social Evaluation

Ego Threat

Fear of the Unknown

Fear of Evaluation

Pre-Dive Physiological Signs:

Increased Heart Rate

Rapid Respiration

Muscle Tension

Frequent Urination

Increased Perspiration

Voice Changes

Decrease in Skin Temperature

Pre-Dive Behavioral Signs:


Mental Errors


Extreme Cockiness


In-Water Symptoms:

Rapid Respiration

The “Wide-Eyed” Look

Inefficient Swimming

Clinging and Clambering

Fixation and Perceptual Narrowing

Sudden Surfacing

High Treading/Trashing

Equipment Rejection

The studies

Many studies have been conducted to examine divers with a history of panic attacks and what were their in water responses. Similarly, reports have been conducted with random scuba diving populations to examine if a panic attack has ever occurred and what the divers response was. This type of panic survey has quite interesting implications on diver training. From these studies and what I can read and interpret are some general conclusions:

  1. Generally the data collected by these various studies would suggest that training of how to deal with emergency situations is largely effective. There was a high percentage of panicking divers who stated that they did remember their training in the emergency situation and it enable them to deal with the situation.
  1. All divers benefit from repetitive skill practise. The more familiar divers are with skills, the more likely they are to respond appropriately to panic. Repeated practice in confined water, including spontaneous drills, raises the response availability levels.


  1. Student divers who show more elevated levels of stress and anxiety may be more prone to panic. This may be clear if they show stress when dealing with a new skill. These individuals benefit greatly from repetition, through though the practise required may be higher than for other individuals.
  1. Studies would also suggest that women are much more likely to recognise and ask for help than men in a stressful situation. I am not sure why, but I guess that cultural influence is probably a good speculation. Male self-reliance is quite high in most cultures, asking for help may threaten their self-esteem, or men may be conditioned from a young age to not seek out assistance?! Emphasising diving as a team activity maybe help deal with these gender differences and enable men to be more receptive to assistance and may help to offset self-esteem issues.

Prevention techniques


Professional training builds your diving confidence, nobody can argue this point. Years of research and tried and tested techniques have gone into the created of today’s scuba diving courses. Modern scuba diving training has been specifically designed to ease stress and slowly build on skills to a point where divers are ready to go out into open water. Organizations, such as SSI, have skills and procedures that divers must learn in sequence – these standards are adhered to by SSI Instructors worldwide. Studying theory, watching videos and learning skills in the pool is followed by practicing in the sea with your instructor. This allows you to slowly develop at your own pace – only progressing when you are comfortable with each section.

This sequencing of training not only applies to the recreational diving world but also to those more experienced divers who are looking to extend their diving either to greater depths or to involve mandatory decompression. For these divers, their basic diving skills should be habitual, but more importantly they are now going to enter a world where sometimes to “go up” is simply not an option. Decompression diving, throws into the equation even more potential stress situations that need to be trained for and managed well.

Stress & Rescue Diver Course

Scuba divers describe the SSI Stress & Rescue Diver course as the most challenging, yet most rewarding course they’ve ever taken. Why? Because you learn to prevent and manage problems in the water, and become more confident in your skills as a diver, knowing that you can help others if needed. Through the course you will learn accident prevention, as well as how to handle problem situations is they occur. The programme is about avoiding, recognizing and solving problems on the surface and underwater.

The SSI Stress and Rescue course prepares you to deal with dive emergencies, minor and major, using a variety of techniques. Through knowledge development and rescue exercises, you learn what to look for and how to respond. During rescue scenarios, you put into practice your knowledge and skills.

Course Content:Diver Stress & Rescue

  • What Is Stress?
  • Stress In Diving: Causes And Prevention
  • Detecting And Dealing With Stress
  • Accident Management
  • Skills Needed To Deal With Panic And Rescues
  • Conditions That Complicate Rescues

Equipment familiarity

During scuba diving training, divers learn how to set up, adjust, check, and put on their equipment. Understanding how your equipment works will give you added confidence and reduce stress. Making sure everything is fitted correctly and securely, with the help of your instructor or buddy, is very important. One of the most important factors to think about when looking at equipment is to make sure that the type of equipment that you are wearing is suitable for the diving environment but most importantly making sure that you have the correct training to be able to use all the equipment in an efficient, habitual automatic way.

Confined Water Practice

This is probably the area of scuba diving at all levels that is simply overlooked. The majority of certified divers only going back into a confined water environment when making a new course and the shallow water skills being a mandatory part of the new course. As I mentioned earlier, as a diver learning to scuba dive their training is performance-based, and they have plenty of time to learn and practice scuba diving skills in the pool before heading out to the open water. Just have a think to yourselves honestly, when was the last time you personally made a review of all scuba diving skills and I mean more than can you clear a mask!

Relaxation and Visual rehearsal

All divers of all levels should begin their dive feeling relaxed and calm. Try not be rushed to get ready, give yourself time to go through the dive plan in your mind with your buddy to make sure you are both clear of the techniques, emergency procedures, entering and exiting methods and generally the diving route. At the start of the dive aim to become relaxed with slow, deep breathing and allow yourself time to get to get orientated to being underwater by pausing after your descent. Take an additional moment in the shallow waters to regulate your breathing. The key point is understanding that breath control and relaxation go hand-in-hand.  Check your equipment and computer, and to signal to your buddy that everything is OK. To not rush and do not be rushed by others. When you rush, you create stress and may not follow the procedures you have been taught. Similarly, don’t rush around underwater – take time to appreciate what nature has created and enjoy the full experience of breathing underwater. Having a good level of calmness will aid in control of stress levels in the water. Divers who also learn the “Calming Response” in Stress and rescue courses, learn a technique which involves stomach breathing. The calming response is a fast and effective way of improving relaxation and performance.  Scuba divers, using this technique, can significantly increase breath control and relaxation within 5 – 10 breaths.

Diving discipline

I have addressed the issue of training and that comfort through repetition of skills is essential in creating automatic habitual responses. However, as divers consider themselves to become more experienced a certain degree of complacency could become evident. This complacency to me is more of an issue than the novice diver with more limited experience. Dare I say it a sense of arrogance surrounds this type of diver and the perceived assumption that “it will never happen to me”. This type of diver no longer considers the underwater world to be a hazardous environment and as such may lack respect for the potential hostile conditions that scuba diving situation can present. Diving preparation falls to a minimal level, equipment is not maintained to an acceptable standard, and recommended diving guidelines no longer apply to them.

Don’t let yourself fall into this category. Have discipline, keep up to date with current training developments, equipment advances, stay mentally and physically active, keep the respect for the underwater world, keep your skills refreshed, plan a dive and dive the plan, and finally leave the ego at home!


The fact of the matter is that Scuba Diving has inherent risks that simply cannot be removed. However, though the techniques outlined above we can aim to make ourselves as divers as prepared as possible for the activity. Similarly, stress is an emotional factor that also cannot be eliminated from the human psychology. However, there are ways in which we can have better control on stress, awareness of where, when and how it can occur can enable us to keep a good handle on it.

The underwater world can be as unpredictable as it is amazing, this it what keeps drawing us back to it.

Dive safe everybody.

Cat Braun

Tekstreme Diving Manager & Owner

SSI Recreational & Technical Instructor Trainer

Scuba Diving Industry & Drop Out – The complexities of the teaching environment

An introduction

SSI_LOGO_Loyalty_Cycle_RGB_pngOver the years there has been a lot of changes going on in the scuba diving business. Continued growth in the industry involves attracting new customers and keeping certified divers interested and active. It involves a continuing upgrade of services not only in retail and education, but also in the resort and hospitality sector. Although there are many aspects of scuba diving that are different from other businesses, the basics of business still apply. The art of winning new customers and keeping existing customers is still paramount for a successful business.

Behind the diving operators the training agencies and the manufactures are a team of individuals whole sole purpose is to market the scuba diving industry to the worldwide community. Their primary goal is to attract the audience, to sell them the desire to sign up and learn this physical activity of Scuba Diving. The scuba diving industries, as well as many others (including the hospitality business) to me, in my opinion, have a lack of perspective. For instance, hotel web sites are aimed to advertise the greatness of their facilities, but there is usually very little information about the quality of services. In comparison most scuba diving sites that I have looked at aim their information on how good their services are, but not why they are so good; they use many generic words to describe the key places to visit but not why they are so beautiful, unique or special. They claim their centre and their instructors are the best, yet fail to say how or why.

The Statistics

According to most statistics from web sites that you look at, they will state that there are approximately 1.2 million scuba divers all over the world.  (2013 numbers)


Now, as to the accuracy of those numbers I cannot possibly comment as I have no access to official data but lets use the number to give us a general idea. Apparently 66% of the scuba divers all over the world are male and 34% of the scuba divers all over the world are female.  (We will look a bit more into that further on) We know that customer retention is vital for a financially successful company to exist but what I want to examine is how many customers do dive centers manage to enroll in an entry level course through the powers of marketing only to find that they drop out before completion of that course?! I want to examine immediate retention, not long term retention.

Dive centers or clubs that focus on sales only and neglect customer service may bring in lots of new members, but if the students are not satisfied during training, there is a high chance of drop out and the dive Centre’s low retention rates may be chipping away at their bank balance. According to some reports, it costs two-and-a-half times more to recruit a new member as it does to retain an existing member. Dive Centre employees need to work together as a team to minimize attrition and maximize immediate retention.

The teaching environment – Understanding participation

As many of you might know my university training before I entered into the scuba diving industry was within the Sports science, coaching and Teaching realm. I don’t pretend to have a master’s degree in this area or any PhD, and I have never written any professional papers on such topics, but my base knowledge combined with 15 years of actual teaching scuba diving has taught me quite a lot!


What I can tell you is that the majority of the population learn most efficiently in a non-stressful environment. Excessive stress caused by an over emphasis on successful performance and negative orientated feedback frequently results in lowering of self-esteem and severely hinders the learning process. Juniors especially find activities stressful when they perceive they will not be able to adequately respond to the demands of the others in a group, and therefore risk a negative social evaluation of their ability. If exposed to a stressful environment overtime anxiety, fear of failure and inadequacy will increase leading to dropout. But how can that be relevant in the scuba diving world? Surely, this is not an issue because the customers, lets not forget, are paying customers and so would never be the subject to negative feedback by their instructor or made to feel in any way uncomfortable or incapable. Right? Secondary, this is not a competitive environment; there are no teams, no winners or losers. Right?

Wrong… Here are a few example situations:

  • A diver, who repeatedly cannot clear their mask, will consider himself or herself to be a loser if everybody else in their group has managed to successfully complete the skill.
  • An Instructor who is becoming frustrated by a student who cannot perform a skill will start to lose their patience and show negative mannerisms due to the pressure of time constraints and the perception of the need to “pass everybody” by tomorrow. These mannerisms can be in the form of facial expressions, sarcasm, lack of attention etc
  • A student who has completed a skill easily may begin to get bored and irritated by other members of the group who take longer to learn. This can result in abusive comments and an undesirable pressure put upon the rest of the group.
  • An Instructor who is becoming irritated with a junior diver as the instructor does not know how to hold the attention of the younger mind with begin to show anger and lose their calm.

Unfortunately within the teaching environment there are always going to be two variables that cannot be removed:

  1. The Instructor
  2. The Student

The Instructor

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) claim as of 2015 it has a membership of over 136,000 professional individuals. I wonder how many of those professional individuals have ever had any official training in teaching, coaching, skill acquisition, or psychology outside of what they were taught in their 10 day Instructor Development Course. (Please note at this point, that this is not about any one agency, this is about the scuba diving professional levels as a whole) I wonder how many of those professional individuals know the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of students? I wonder how many of those professional individuals understand why you must change the way you teach to an introvert in comparison to an extrovert?

classroomThrough my background I was able to learn about such areas and how to deal with such variations in teaching. I do not write this trying to persuade you that I am the best teacher, far from it, but what I do want you to understand is that my background has given me a huge advantage when in the teaching environment. This advantage, this knowledge, many Scuba Diving Instructors do not have. Based on that, how can we expect the instructors to be able to deal with so many different group dynamics, personalities, Egos, gender, age variances and combine that with learning an activity in this alien underwater environment. That’s a tough job! I personally feel that during Instructor training their should be at minimum some time spent on the psychology of learning, to at least give these new instructors more of an awareness of what to expect.

I can tell you that there are some amazing instructors out there, who had not had any formal teaching training but are absolutely phenomenal instructors who their students keep returning back to them time and time again. Likewise I can also tell you that there are some instructors who have reached such a professional level based on their personal performance and scuba diving ability, but really they should not in the teaching environment with customers. The key attributes of the Scuba Diving Instructor; patience, persistence, compassion, organization, and empathy to name a few being sorely missing.

The Student

Of course, in the teaching environment we cannot leave out the actual student. In order to be able to understand why students respond and act in different ways when in a learning environment we must first examine the goal orientations:

There are two main goal orientations, mastery orientation and ego orientation.

Mastery Orientation – More preferred ego

– Learning & Task mastery

– Personal Progress

– Participation

Ego Orientation

– Social comparison

– Public evaluation

– Normative success


Within a group of individuals learning to dive you may very well get a mixture of such Ego’s. It is the tough role of the Instructor to then try to balance that out and to have control to prevent any unwanted transfer of negativities from one student to the next. It’s quite possible that the students who have Mastery orientation feel pressurized and stressed by the Ego orientated individuals. This can cause tension and distraction from the actual skills practice.

In examining the Ego motivations we have only scraped the surface of the psychology of learning and I can sit here and write thousands more pages on so many more concepts of skill acquisition and performance development but I wont. I just want to give you the understanding that the teaching world is complex and there is no “one way” to teach.

If we are to look just very briefly a little bit more into the gender differences we would find that the values that females
seem to naturally embrace – taking part in an activity not just to be successful but to have fun, is the complete opposite of the Ego orientated individual. Maybe in such conflicted environments the female will then decide to “Opt out” rather than endure if the perception of fun is no longer present. Could that partly help us understand the ratio difference of males and females taking part in scuba diving activities? Studies also confirm what women tend to suffer an increased crisis in confidence and larger drop in self-esteem in non-mastery motivational teaching environments. As a result, females are more likely to quit the activity in comparison to their male counterparts because they do not view themselves as being not good enough.roathan_balbi-5299

By understanding the principles of reinforcement, effective communication and positive feedback Instructors will be able to create a mastery motivational teaching environment. Adults and children alike in this type of environment are more competent when learning new skills, show greater persistence and performance improvement, they have less fear of making mistakes, display greater sportsmanship, enjoyment and have lower levels of tension and worry about performance.

If the experience is positive, the student will likely continue participating. If the experience is negative, the student may drop out, and lose interest completely in scuba diving. That student is now lost forever.

How to be a successful Instructor

If becoming a scuba diving instructor is a pathway that you are looking to head down then I would like to suggest a few things to you. Firstly, be selective not only of where you make your Instructor Training Course (ITC) but more importantly who is running the course; the Instructor Trainer (IT). Feel free to ask the IT what is their background, how much time will be spent discussing the psychology of learning during your ITC, how much time will be spent on customer retention and the methods in how you can achieve this. This is what will enhance your teaching ability over other instructors.


My next piece of advice is to read. There are many very good sources of information on the Internet with regards to teaching styles and techniques. Try these styles out with your students and see what a difference it makes. Of course learn and take note from your peers around you. Look, listen and see how other instructors are teaching. I don’t want you to copy them, no way, you are your own individual personality, but maybe take some features from one instructor that you like, combine it with other styles from a different instructor and create your own personal style. If you manage to achieve this, your students will keep returning to you over and over again. And finally stay passionate, enjoy being the teacher, make a difference to somebodies life.

“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship” James Comer

Cat Braun

Tekstreme Diving Manager & Owner

SSI Recreational & Technical Instructor Trainer

“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship”

Scuba Diving Instructor – The Real Story

The Background

“When are you going to get a proper job?” is a question that has been asked to me for most of my adult life. Mostly from my mother, but the question was also heard from well-meaning family members. (Of course it was said in a joking manner but I am 100% sure that the belief was, at that time that I was wasting my life by not pursuing a “normal career.”) Coming from a family of teachers, Lawyers, Hoteliers and Engineers to name a few industries, I still think to this day heading into the Scuba Industry was not a respected profession by the people around me. However, saying that, that very same mother who would question me about a “proper Job” would also always remind me of the fact that you only get one life and you need to live it. I was blessed that my mother never tried to hold me back from anything that I wished to pursue.

However, believe me or not, I didn’t consciously set out to enter the diving industry on a full time basis. Becoming a scuba Instructor was merely a way to increase my qualifications, which was going to escalate my employment opportunities when I was looking for a “Real” job as a School Physical Education teacher.

Now, its 15 years later and I still have not got that “real job”!

The Scuba Industry.

There are as many reasons for why for people learn to dive so it is impossible to list them all. Some activities seem to be perfect precursors for scuba diving. Active swimmers take to diving pretty easily. People who enjoy snorkeling also have an advantage. They have already seen some of the fish life beneath the sea and so are “hooked” already. Snorkelers usually have an easy time transitioning to scuba diving.Lifestyle

People who currently enjoy active outdoor activities are also the type of persons who are drawn to scuba diving. With its increasing popularity, scuba has become “fashionable”. Take a look at the holiday section of most magazines and you will see the “him and her picture perfect” fully kitted out in neoprene and wearing scuba equipment whist walking along a lush white beach with palm trees in the background. Scuba diving is reaching a pinnacle in media pop culture. Scuba Diving has moved from an activity for a select few adventurous individuals into a global recreational activity available for all the family. Nearly half of all new divers are women and it is also used as non-discriminatory therapy for physically challenged individuals. Diving is no longer a sport for daredevils; it has become a lifetime activity that you can enjoy with your friends and family. It’s a means to learning more about the beauty and intricacies of life on our planet.

Why consider becoming an Instructor?

Teaching is a challenging job with many unique frustrations, but the rewards of teaching are unquestionable. Instructors get incredible joy in seeing the difference they make as students gain new insights, become more interested in a subject, physically develop skills and learn about themselves. As an Instructor, you see your efforts everyday as you use your intelligence and creativity to help students become excited about and learn about the scuba diving world.


For many people, their work is a means to an end. They work for a paycheck in order to live their lives. But those called to teach have a true vocation. To those with whom you interact most during your day of teaching – the students – you are not an employee but a friend, a mentor and a guide to the world. An Instructor makes a difference in the world by enabling each of his or her students to fully maximize their talents, skills and character. Being an Instructor is a job that offers a great deal of variety. Each day or week, instructors get to work with a new group of students with unique personalities, experiences and ideas.


While scuba classes have mandatory standards that instructors are expected to follow, it is the instructor who will decide what will happen in the lesson. Not many jobs provide an individual with so much room to be creative and autonomous each day. Additionally, you will never learn a topic better than when you start to teach it. Students always ask the most interesting questions, prompting you to dig deeper, explore, investigate and learn more about the aspects of scuba diving.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve had the pleasure of training scuba divers of all ages and backgrounds. So I can tell you with all honesty that being a scuba instructor is one of those jobs you enjoy doing every day of your life, if it was not the case I would not still be doing it! But, believe it or not, having fun just isn’t enough, because after awhile, even having fun can get boring. What has continued to motivate me over the years is the challenge. What other activity allows a teacher to deal in subjects as diverse as physics, physiology, marine science, mechanics, physical education, psychology and even public relations? You also have to have some pretty good counseling skills. Scuba instructors bring a whole new meaning to the term “jack-of-all-trades.” Our job believe it or not is at times very tough, demanding and often unappreciated, but it’s never boring.

The Reality

To the outside person, the Scuba industry is full of young guys and girls running around in the sun with perfect tans, making a wetsuit look good and swimming with Dolphins in tropical warm waters. This, unfortunately, is a delusion and mistaken belief. Becoming a Scuba Instructor isn’t easy—and neither is actually being one. But remembering why you go into this industry in the first place helps to stay focused when those challenging days come around, and take pride in your successes. I will emphasis at this point that teaching is a passion, not a paycheck! If the idea is to make loads of money, then this is not the industry for you! It’s incredibly hard work but, it is the most rewarding job out there and every day is different.


Is being an instructor for me?

Now, as much as the life of a Scuba Instructor has many benefits it for sure is not a suitable path for everybody! In fact, you may not be cut out for it at all. A scuba instructor has to enjoy and be capable of working with a wide range of personalities and circumstances. If your only motivation to become a diving educator is that you love diving, then forget about it. People skills are just as important and often more so than diving skills. Patience is perhaps the most important requisite; and a close second is flexibility coupled with the willingness to work long and highly irregular hours.

Effective communication and human relations skills are as essential as diving skills. What’s equally important is a professional appearance and demeanor. Scuba Divers are sophisticated travelers. The last thing they want to see after spending a good chunk of their paycheck is to visit a dive destination is some beach bum in a dirty T-shirt. They put their lives in our hands, so they expect someone who can instill professionalism and confidence.

The issue of responsibility is important to both understand, accept and cannot be ignored. Regardless of how much fun it may be, you can never take the responsibility of the instructor role lightly. If you do, people can die; it’s that simple. This can be a harsh realization, and anyone who lacks the commitment or maturity to accept such duties shouldn’t even consider the instructor route.

Preparation to become an instructor requires mastery of diving theory, which includes a thorough grounding in diving physics, physiology, equipment mechanics and even a little marine science and oceanography. You’ll also need near-perfect diving skills, and an ability to deal calmly with stressful and unexpected situations like entanglements or out-of-air emergencies. In terms of physical prowess, you will be expected to complete watermanship tests to prove your physical abilities in and on the water and that you hold a minimum level of physical fitness that is expected of an infidel in a responsibility role.

During your Instructor Training Course (ITC), you should expect to learn a great deal about teaching, both theoretical and practical. You will learn how to plan and conduct classroom, pool and open-water lessons. You’ll learn how to organize training activities to maximize safety and efficiency. And, you’ll learn the standards and logistics of conducting the various programs you’ll be certified to teachITC

Is it worth it?

Personally I have never regretted my decision to remain within the Scuba Diving industry. In the early days, I was blessed
to be able to work for one of the most reputable scuba diving operators who not only supported their instructors in the work place but also encouraged us as instructors to continue training and always strive for the next level whilst maintaining high levels of standards and service. Over the years I have continued to develop my personal skills and have learnt the scuba diving industry as a business. This has had a direct effect on the growth of my own scuba diving company and subsequent future scuba diving ventures.Blog-4

I now look to the future and see continued personal growth for me as an Instructor Trainer and scuba diving ambassador. I can think of nothing better than to open up this amazing industry to others who could take inspiration from me and look to also becoming the scuba instructor.


“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do”

Cat Braun

Tekstreme Technical Manager & Owner

SSI Recreational and Technical Instructor Trainer

Our rebreather of choice.

As we move through the years the industry of scuba diving is continuing to grow with vengeance and with equipment constantly becoming more innovative and versatile. The rise of the underwater rebreathers has not gone unnoticed and is equally undergoing dramatic evolutionary changes on a year by year basis. I think back to my very first days as a recreational diver where I noticed the the world of technical diving, and if memory serves me right I can personally only recall the number of rebreather units that I was hearing about on one hand, maybe even with just a few fingers. These were the Kiss Classic, the Drager Dolphin and the AP Inspiration. Probably there were many more but for sure they were not significant at that time in my area. Now, the list of CCR units is considerably larger. We at Tekstreme Diving specialise in the training of divers on the rebreather units produced by Ambient pressure diving (AP diving); Inspiration, Evolution and the Evolution+. Obviously, it would make sense that as rebreather instructors we do actually own and dive these units personally. I wanted to give you an insight into why as individuals we have found ourselves in this situation. Its important to note that each member of our team has had additional training on other types of CCR unit but as individuals and as a company we still chose to focus and specialise in the rebreathers by AP Diving.


Lets firstly have a look in more details about the Ambient pressure Diving as a company. Everything AP make is conceived, tested and assembled in their factory and research centre in the heart of Cornwall, UK. They aim to be the be the best in everything they do, and to help educate, support and inform the worldwide diving community wherever they can. Right now they are pushing the boundaries of technical and sport diving through advanced product development. They are currently on their 6th generation Inspiration range of closed circuit rebreathers! Through extensive research and punishing test regimes they aim to make equipment for divers that is built properly, works well and tackles the snag-points and problems we all come across underwater. Their products are routinely inspected and verified by third party agents Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Ltd to achieve the essential ISO 9001 manufacturing standard. They manufacture 95% of all products – right down to the brass and plastic components – in-house. Experience has taught them that if ever there is a problem, it’s usually created by an external supplier. Keeping it in-house they retain that family-business ethos – pride in what they do and quality control over the whole process. Start to finish.


For more than 45 years, AP has led the way in diving – innovating, designing and manufacturing equipment of the highest quality. Since its foundation in 1969, the company has grown at a phenomenal rate, from a small family-business to an internationally respected dive manufacturer with a global network of great dive instructors, distributors and support centres. Their customers range from individual sport and professional divers, to search & rescue services, the military, police, fire service, bomb disposal, ship’s divers and coastguards through to the commercial giants of the salvage, shipping and oil industries – in over 50 countries worldwide. There are currently 55 people working in the manufacturing and innovation centre in Cornwall, UK. Nearly all of them dive. They have product designers, engineers and test-divers working away at solving the problems divers face – constantly looking for ways to make your dive better, more comfortable, more exciting. They have attracted and retained some of the best people in the dive & manufacturing industries, who are not only proud of the products they make but are proud to offer an after-sales service that is second to none – clearly made so much easier by having continuous production and ready availability of spares.

Chris Armstrong – Inspiration & Evolution Advanced Trimix Instructor


My interest in rebreathers started in 2005. At that time I learnt on an Inspiration Classic but at the same time used the Evolution for the vision electronics which at the time had only come out the year before.It wasnt until early 2009 that I used the unit seriously and became a trimix ccr diver. The Instructor trainer suggested I could teach on these units so a few months later I became a CCR air diluent instructor. I really enjoy teaching these units and over the years continued to become an Advanced Mixed gas instructor. I did a crossover to try something different in 2015 but always went back to the AP units. I like the fact they come in a complete package and have my own unit with the advent of back mounted lungs and rechargeable battery unit. The additional options from AP are varied to suit all and the service response is second to none. You can also find AP units around the world and parts are available in all continents. There is a good reason why AP units still have around 50% of the world market!

Duncan Spenceley – Inspiration Classic Advanced Trimix Diver & Air Diluent Deco Instructor


I started ccr diving following an awesome open circuit technical dive on the Rosalie Moller. We were the only divers on the wreck and conditions were perfect. However I had to end the div e as I had reached my turn pressure. My buddy was diving an AP Inspiration and I was amazed how close he could get to the marine life. In fact I had to be extremely vigilant of where he was as he spent most of the dive enveloped in Glassfish. We then proceeded to complete our decompression. The swell was picking up and I spent an additional 20min of decompression over my CCR buddy! In my head I was already planning when I could fit in my CCR Course…I wanted one of those magic boxes….

The AP Inspiration was available to use on days off from work so it was a natural progression to qualify on the unit and build up some hours and save some money to purchase my own. I ended up buying a AP Inspiration Classic. The reason for this was I could afford it at that time and dive it now versus waiting to save up for a vision. AP were fantastic…they provided me with a full service history of the unit before I purchased it and I had it sent directly to them for checking before getting it sent out to Egypt.

The support and customer service from AP is second to none. A quick call or email and queries are answered almost immediately. You can’t fault that.

I love my little yellow box of magic…

Cat Braun – Evolution Advanced trimix diver & Air Diluent Decompression Instructor


I personally choose to dive the Evolution+. I find that being slightly smaller in height, the length of the evolution unit is perfect for me. However, i found that the smaller scrubber unit was a time restriction on some of the deeper dives that i was wanting to make, hence i chose the Evolution+. One of the main features / attractions for me of the AP Units is the ability to dive them completely manually or completely automatically. This gives me great options when i am in the water depending on what i am doing. I love the fact that every part is user changeable (pretty much) and that as AP produce new technologies / advancements, that these are available to all existing AP divers with units. The support team at AP is second to none. I deal with them on a company and personal level and find that communication is prompt, precise and very customer friendly. I still have the yellow box attached, i like the fact that divers in the water can see me clearly and it does protect the whole back section of the unit. All in all no complaints from my side.

Shaun Fox – Inspiration Vision Advanced trimix Diver IMG_1454

As a recreational diver I was looking for something else to do in diving in Hurghada, Egypt where I currently live. I looked around and someone suggested trying a Rebreather course. This was in around 2008. After doing a 40m Air diluent rebreather course I purchased the KISS Sport from the training company. When I wanted to progress I found this was very difficult due to lack of instructors in my area and that spare parts were not readily available for the unit as they had to come from Canada. So once again I looked around for a different unit. I did research online, I read many articles, I went to the dive show in UK and looked at the units there. Some units to me looked messy and some looked home made. It then became clear that the only rebreather that meet all of my personal criteria was a unit from AP diving. It was CE approved, as AP Diving was based in the UK spare parts and replacement parts would be easy to get, servicing would be easy to get done, help was only a phone call away and last of all it was/is a neat unit and would fulfil all my diving needs both recreationally and technically. All in all it ticked all the boxes. So, as it been reliable? Yes it has. Have there been problems? Yes, but with all mechanical / electrical equipment things can happen. The good thing is that APD is only a phone call away and for me they have provided a first class service. Have I made any changes? Yes I have. I have taken of the “plastic box” that it is supplied with and have replaced it with a Stainless Steel frame. My reasons behind this were that the plastic box can crack at the base, a frame cannot. The unit stands up better with the frame in comparison to the plastic box. With the frame I have easier access to all the working parts of the unit more easily than having to open the box and finally its easier to see if there are any leaks in the water when I can see all working parts directly. One other big advantage with the frame is that I don’t need any additional weight with a 5mm wet suit and only a small amount with a dry suit in the type of water that I dive in. For the me the Inspiration has been very reliable and, If you follow the rules and do what it says in the book it can be for you too. Would I buy another one YES I would.

So, thats we we here at Tekstreme think, but what do other rebreather divers think…..

Richard Wait – Inspiration Vision Normoxic Diver richard wait

After considering many units on the market when I first looked at a rebreather back in 2011, the one that stood out the most was the AP units. From the proven history with the Classic to the renowned customer support, AP appeared a good choice. Now having dived many hours with mine, having dealt with the factory and dived with many others with other CCRs, I’m still very pleased with my decision. One of the aspects I really appreciate from AP, is they have been fully supportive of their existing clients – easily allowing new features / add-ons to be user installed to units even over 10yrs old!

Jason grey – Inspiration Vision Advanced trimix diver

jason grey

I chose the AP Inspiration Vision since it would suit my technical diving very well, but was also easily slimmed down for recreational use. I was lucky enough to make the jump to CC with some friends and it was a no brainer to go the AP route, not only for its technical diving capability, but also because the manufacturer is local, and very well respected as a market leader and innovator, with a well deserved reputation for customer service. My personal choice was to select the vision unit since it was 2nd generation, and the fully integrated single handset with Fibre Optic HUD offered the additional security I felt I needed from a CCR. The upgrade options produced since then have also added additional levels of personal comfort and security, future proofing my investment, and provide further confidence. Finally the support community for the AP products is awesome. Simply because they are so numerous you can almost guarantee to have someone on a boat or trip with either the knowledge or a spare part that can assist you should it come to that!  I’ve lost very few dives due to problems with the unit, and I’ve had some amazing experiences while diving with it that would not have happened if I was still on Open Circuit.  It’s good to be able to access the hard won experience of the AP community, and being one of the biggest and longest established/most dived units has to be a very good thing.

Peter Sullivan – Evolution + Vision Normoxic Diver

peter sullivan I chose and dive my Evolution+ after much deliberation. Firstly they are made in the UK, so parts and back up were not an issue. Secondly AP were the first mass produced units on the market and the problems they had originally had been worked out ( I shelved buying one for probably 10 Years ). Thirdly is there simplicity to dive. I like to be as independent as I can with as many options as I can . I use the FFM plumbed into gas switching block to off board bailout , with the option to plumb to onboard .All off board has O/C regs .

Steve Wilkinson – Evolution + Advanced trimix diver


I dive an Evolution +.  The main reason I went for an AP unit was because they’re manufactured 20 mins from where I live and many of the local divers use AP. My little unit is compact so great for travelling and good for RHIB diving here in the UK. I get two long dives out of the 2 ltr cylinders. All AP kit is made to be tough enough for UK wreck divers so I’m happy with my unit. I’m  Advanced Trimix qualified with IART and TDI

Mattjin Buwalda – Inspiration Vision Normoxic Diver IMG_1463

All units are heavy, expensive and need a lot of training to be operated safely. But AP offers good reliable service and maintenance and that’s what you really need on the long run.

Ricky Ng – Evolution Vision Normoxic trimix diver


Why I chose AP rebreather is because AP rebreather price is competitive with the others.  It is especially suitable for me because it’s size is compact, easy to travel, weight is less then others. The twin tanks weight is a bit heavy for me.  Rebreather can give me around 8kg less then the OC and AP have lot of instructors though the world.
The final is the outlook is attractive.  I can buy it online and configuration options is suitable from recreational to professional tec dive level.  It make the new CCR diver easy to afford to starts.
Chris Burrowswood – Inspiration Instructor
Chris Burrowswood

The AP Units are simple to use. Over the years repairs have been thorough. In the picture I am about to dive a Vision with trimix on the u-869.

Peter McCamley – Inspiration Air Diluent Instructor703996_4849178477896_142984492_o

I have had my Inspo for 7 years now, I have mod 3 for 6 years now and am a MOD 1 instructor for 5 years now. I also dive a Sentinel, which I love to bits, however for the dozens of sub 100m dives, the chosen weapon of choice is my Inspo. I have it on a Dive Lite Wing and an Alibox with a AP BOV just plumbed into my 3 litre for a Sanity breath or two until I get onto the bailout. After 2500 hrs last year it had its head serviced with new software…..then it had a blank handset twice on a 85 and 90m dive in The North Channell in Donegal. AP had a software glitch but wouldn’t admit it to me, but did to an Instructor mate and he gave me the new software. In the meantime I plugged in a Nerd and all is class. Front mounded lungs coming under my arms only allows for 2 breaths in the loop, but they are well out of the way. (Shown to me by Al Wright) I use a cell checker and AP16’s and have never had a cell issue. Like a car or any machine, it needs to be started every week and preferably dived at least once a week. I have just fitted two new 1st stages at £130 each, as its two years since I stuck a service kit into it. Service kit in the first stages is a must every year as the piston gives no warning of disintegration and if it does you will end up with cylinder pressure instead of 8 bar. Very bad if its your O2 1st stage, as Solenoid will stick open. Love the AP as i have had it round the world from South China Seas to Bikini to Australia to Middle East and Europe + America with around 1800 hours in Donegal. Best thing about it is that you can get bits for it at the back of the ditch. In conclusion I love my inspo for 3 reasons. 1: 110% reliable….2: Parts availability 3: Ease of use and amazing versatility.

David Street – Inspiration Vision Diver

I bought my AP Inspiration Vision in 2008 and over the years the unit has been significantly modified. The yellow box, comfort harness, weight pockets, wing and front counterlungs are all gone.

The reason for this is because the yellow box filled with water created drag. The comfort harness added buoyancy which meant that I needed extra lead to sink. The front counterlungs created too much “clutter”. I never liked them (or all the straps hanging around. So I got rid of them and replaced them with a 3mm stainless steel backplate and harness, back mounted counterlungs, a dual bladder wing and a Kent Tooling travel frame.

The only remaining original parts are the breathing loop, the head unit and scrubber. This setup works for me.


So as you can read from all of the contributors to this blog that there is so much versatility to the AP units which makes it one of the leading rebreather units and companies in the world. Their continuing support to the owners of their products is unquestionable and they continue to strive to respond to the CCR community and develop new technological advances.

Most of my description about AP diving as a company has come directly from their webpage and you can read more by heading to

We at Tekstreme Diving offer the full range of rebreather courses for the AP inspiration and Evolution in the resorts of Sharm El Sheikh, El Gouna and on board our technical safari trips.


30m Air Diluent No decompression diver

45m Air Diluent Decompression diver

60m Mixed Gas Diver

100m Advanced Mixed Gas diver

Please feel free to email at us for more specific details on the CCR courses available or head to

Enjoy the silent world.

Cat Braun

Tekstreme Manager / Owner

Deco schedule Decals, what do we think?

It was during the first quarter of the year when I was contacted by Huw Singer. Huw is the owner of a new product range and business venture called Deco-Decals. He has created a set of “stickers” which are designed to be attached to a slate of some kind, most commonly a multi-page wrist slate, for writing your scuba diving decompression schedule upon for use in the water during a decompression dive. IMG_5407 These “Decals”, as we more commonly call them, have apparently been made by instructors for instructors, and I have been sent a few freebies to try out and provide feedback on. Apologies here Huw for the delay in testing but busy times had got the better of me. Anyway, let the testing begin. With teaching aids like these its always difficult to please all instructors all the time, as between us in the professional industry we all teach in slightly different ways, which is why myself and a few colleagues set about to review this product with an open mind. The first thing that strikes you when you see these decals is the colors that have been used reflecting the severity of the decompression situation. i.e the main plan is green, the deeper and longer contingency plans are in orange and the lost deco gas and bailout contingency plans are in red. Now, here was where the first comment came in from one of my team who rightly stated “What is the point of having colors? As you go deeper you lose the color spectrum anyway”. In response to this comment I rightly agreed, but then I began thinking of the diving environments where visibility and general light is not quite as good as we have it in the Red Sea and the reality that divers in these other conditions would probably be using a torch and so the colors would be very obvious under direct torch light. decal 3 The decals are very easy to remove from their backing sheet and fit perfectly onto a multi page wrist slate. Now, I don’t know if Huw has designed them in such a way, but you can write on these decals with a fine point permanent marker pen, which afterwards by the use of a form of acetone i,e alcohol swob or nail polish remover you can remove the writing! Of course I am 100% that Huw would prefer that you use new decals each time rather than reusing them by erasing the data and starting again, but for sure the environmental and economical friendly divers would opt for recycling and saving a few pennies!! Thus making one set of decals last a lot longer. Sorry Huw! The layout of the decals is generally fine and it is at this point where we must remember who they are aimed at, the trainee diver. You will see that there are limited compartments for writing deco depths in. Not including a bottom depth you only have the facility to have 9 different deco stops. Now, for trainee divers and pretty much most dives up to the 50m mark which you would undertake even as a qualified deco diver, this is more than fine, but for deeper depths it’s simply not enough compartments. This is why I stress at this point to remember who the decals are aimed at. On a personally note, I like my students to have a bit of space next to the run time to write their arrival times at certain depths as it helps them to master a correct ascent. With this format of decal it is not possible. A small sacrifice maybe, but something like this for me is important. decal 2 My only other gripe, if I have to have one, is that the size of the time / run time compartment is slightly small so a very tidy, controlled writing hand is required in order for the info to be legible. For most entry level divers I can see that maybe this has the potential to become unreadable! Now the crunch. Cost. Of course we cannot ignore this as it will play a big factor in the divers / instructors choice to use the decals or not. Most instructors teaching in todays world will be using a form of duct tape, gaffer tape or equivalent tape with a regular marker pen. You can pick up a descent length roll of gaffer tape for around 5 – 7 euros. This tape also doubles up and can be used for cylinder markings, so multi useful, it can even be used to repair drysuit neck seals if necessary (I speak from experience!). OK, the tape is not really recyclable but if the cost is that much cheaper.decal 1 Personally, I think that the decals look very professional but wonder how long it takes before one of the leading training agencies copies the idea, sticks their logo on them, and makes them mandatory for training in order for their instructors to be consistent with each other.  Huw, I hope you have copyright. If anybody is interested in using these decals or trying them out you can head to or email Huw directly at Happy deco diving Cat Braun Tekstreme Diving Manager / Owner


Southern Red Sea Exploration.

So finally on dry land and I am back in the office where I find some time to reflect and evaluate upon the “exploration trip” that my colleague Shaun and myself had recently undertaken.

I use the term “exploration” for lack of better terminology, but I feel an explanation is in order as “exploration” also is not really the correct word!   The term “Exploration” would suggest to the reader that we were finding new dive locations, new reef systems, when simply this was not the case. We were in fact visiting very well know reef areas but the “exploration” part was specific to the depth that we were diving and the area of the reef we were diving.

 Emperor Asmaa

During my very first years working in Egypt I had the pleasure and opportunity to visit most dive locations within the Egyptian side of the Red Sea, from as far north as the straights of Tiran down the southern reef systems of Elba which lie on the Sudanese border and everything and anything in between. These were the days where as a safari guide you were not “fixed” to any single route, you were moved around from boat to boat, route to route each week. What this created was a generation of safari guides which a huge expanse of diving knowledge and experience of the entire Red Sea. Sometimes I miss those days, now however, I don’t think the husband would be so happy with me being out at sea for 6 weeks each time!

Anyway, I am becoming side tracked….

So, I found myself back in the southern area of the Red Sea, of which the purpose of the trip was to “explore” each of the dive sites between the depths of 40m – 80m. Currently, there are no companies who offer specific technical diving trips to this area, OK, there are a few boats where they could cater for the odd deco dive but nobody is looking specifically at these dives sites though the eyes of the diver who would like to go that bit deeper. We had to find out why. Is it because there is nothing of interest below 40m in this area? Is it because the potential stronger currents pose a safety hazard to divers during decompression? Or is it lack of knowledge of the area? Or is there simply no demand. We at Tekstreme Diving wanted to try and answer these questions….


The reef systems in the southern Red Sea are absolutely stunning in the shallow water and believe me this continues though to depth, actually, I would say even better in terms of quality of coral growth. As an example, the size and abundance of the Gorgonia fan corals that we were witnessing between 50m – 85m were mind-blowing. You need to trust me when I say it was like diving untouched reefs, reefs where no diver’s fin had accidentally clipped the coral and snapped off an entire branch, no damaged hard corals about from natural processes, this is what we were experiencing. It was amazing. You can see that not many divers are visiting these depths and the currents provide such a rich supply of nutrients that the soft corals especially can flourish.


A particularly favourite of mine is a narrow tower of a reef, the local turn for it would be a “Habili”. This particular Habili looks like nothing on the surface but is simply one the reefs which is the most rich in life, its an aquarium for all creatures great and small. This cone shaped reef gets wider as you get deeper and provides marine life, colour and excitement all the way down to around 75m. We actually spent most of our dive at 50m watching as grey reef sharks smoothly cruised in and out unfazed by us as we were still and quiet. The world of having no bubbles on a rebreather comes into its own and the pelagics come closer to check us out. There is a potential for much current on these reefs but as these reef systems rise all he way to the surface you will always have a reference to swim alongside as you fulfil your decompression obligations. Plus, we will always have zodiacs to support us from the surface so if any divers find themselves away from the reef they will always be tracked and collected.


Within the southern area there are also some wrecks. One in particular is sat at a maximum depth of 50m, this wreck attracts a huge array of marine life and has a great atmosphere. It’s at a nice depth to enjoy a longer bottom time having a scrape around and exploring the wreck in its entirety. There is also another more historic wreck, which is not greater in depth than 30m, but makes a great afternoon dive. Do dive it well it would still require some decompression due to its size so for sure a great feature of the area.

There is talk of another larger wreck within this approximate area but deeper which we aim to do a more specific search for on our next trip to this area. I am always a bit dubious when it comes to listening to tales of sunken wrecks as most of the time it turns out to be nothing, but when I have now had information from a few different sources all talking about a similar location, it certainly gets my attention.


Moving a little bit further north there are some reefs that sit on the edge of a deep-water trench with walls dropping vertically down depths. These reefs are fed by a stong consistent currents that suppy the goodness for the corals to flourish. It’s on these reefs as you descend through the depth ranges the types and colours of corals here is changing quite dramatically. The colours of the soft corals are not restricted to the shallow waters they can be found through 50, 60, and 70m. Whip corals, black corals and Gorgonians’ in substantial volumes and sizes can be found at depth. Some of these reefs over the years have taken their toll on safari boats and the wrecks that are left behind may not have an exciting history but, what you find is that over time they have created a mini ecosystem and they attract a wide variety of marine life around the outside and inside. For sure it makes a nice feature of the dive.


Of course we can’t be visiting the southern area without a stop at Elphinestone reef. This particular site needs no further exploration from us, this is one dive site that is already included in some of our other existing technical safari trips, but I include it here for those who have never had the opportunity to dive the reef. This finger long reef has dramatic plunging walls to the east and west, with plateaus on the north and south. You can dive to 100m all the way around this reef if you wanted to! Typically, we dive the northern plateau to any depth between 40 – 100m with eyes peeled with the to aim to find either Grey Reef sharks off the tip of the plateau or Hammerhead sharks. Its an area that gets a great current feed and so very nutrient rich. The colours of soft corals across the plateau are some of the best to be found in this area. As an alternative dive to the north, the reef has provided for us a natural landscape feature in the shape of an archway. Running directly under the southern plateau, this natural feature allows you pass from one side of the reef to the other. You can swim through this archway anywhere between 48m – 60m. It is also on this southern side of the reef where you have chance to find the Oceanic White Tip reef sharks patrolling the shallow waters.


As much as we have had a great week of diving and the exploration of the area at depth has begun there is a great deal more for us to do and hopefully more wrecks and natural features to be found. With the information that we now have, we have put together an itinerary for next year that will return to the sites that we have just visited but will also build in more time for further exploration. This means, for the divers on trip next year, will be just like us and exploring these areas for the first time. Is there a demand for this type of diving, this type of exploration, I absolutely believe the answer is yes.


“Exploration is really the essence of human spirit”

Frank Boreman

Trip Details

Dates = 14/08/16 – 21/08/16

Vessel = Emperor Asmaa

Price = 999 euros

Contact for details on the trip and how to reserve your place.

Cat Braun

Tekstreme Techical Diving

No decompression limits – When time is not long enough!

Picture the scene….It’s summer time, you have been working hard all year and waiting for your holiday to finally arrive where you can escape the chores of day by day life and spend one week in one of the best locations in the world for scuba diving. Yes, you are in the Red Sea. You have chosen to join one of the most popular safari routes that will take you to visit the famous Daedalus Reef to experience the schooling hammerheads.


The dive guides have got you up at the crack of dawn to be in the water first to get to see these amazing pelagics. You are hanging at 30m alongside the east wall of Daedalus reef, the current is mild, the water is warm, and then out of the blue you see a shadow, as you sit patiently the shadow comes into focus and you see the outlined of something big, could it be, are you going to be lucky, is it one, is it 10, yes yes yes there they are. The majestic Hammerhead sharks moving in synchronisation as a group cruising up and down the reef. You cant take enough pictures to capture the moment, this adrenaline experience yet calming experience is hard to match up with anything else on this planet….and then….beep beep beep… tells you that you have no decompression time left and you must leave to get to shallower waters! Damn damn damn!!!

Hammerhead Shark

Gutted comes to mind, you have plenty of gas but that bit of technology on your wrist is a reminder of one of the limitations of scuba diving, the No-decompression times. But does that have to be the case? No it does not. How about having some extra training to teach you how to plan a dive with some decompression to allow you just that little bit of extra time. That would be awesome would it not? You can do this training in your own existing equipment, that’s right, there is no requirement for any different equipment. You can continue to dive in your trusted comfortable BCD with your own reliable regulator and those pink fins that you have, these are also just fine. With just a few extra pieces you are all set to make your first decompression dives in a planned, safe manner.

XR equipment

You will learn the basics about dive planning and managing your gas volumes. You will learn about how to use the richer eanx gases in the shallow waters to manage your decompression. You will learn how to change gases in the water to optimise your dive and keep you in the water looking at those sharks longer than everyone else! Now that sounds good right?


The training I am talking about can be found in the SSI Extended Range Nitrox Course. It can be training from a land based resort or on a safari trip. It’s specifically aimed at those divers who would like to extend their diving just a bit more than the recreational limits. It’s not about depth, in fact its only a 40m course, but more importantly its about time. By having some training in the basics of decompression diving it opens up so many more dive sites around the world. The demand for this type of diving is growly hugely as world wide travel rapidly expands and more dive sites within the 30 – 40m range are available. Its not deep, its not dark and its certainly not dangerous, its simply extending your current diving, that’s realdiving.

If you would like more information on the SSI Extended Range Nitrox program you can head to:

or email me directly

Cat Braun

Tekstreme Manager

Winter Warmer in The Red SEA

When the European summertime comes to an end and Christmas would be fast approaching take a final chance to escape to the warmer waters of the Red Sea for some scuba diving action.

In November 2015, Emperor Divers will be offering back to back trips to visit the northern wrecks and reefs of the Red Sea and have very kindly offered Tekstreme the opportunity to invite trained decompression divers to join the boat. Tekstreme will provide a guide for divers wishing to enjoy a safari trip made up of non-deco dives and deco dives.


These trips are also the perfect opportunity for divers onboard the boat who currently do not have any decompression qualification to take the first level decompression course and maximize their times diving on some of the most amazing wrecks that the area has on offer. The SSI Extended Range Nitrox (SSI XR Nitrox) course enables you to continue to use your current scuba diving equipment whilst you learn the basics of decompression diving. You will be trained to dive to 40m utilizing eanx gases up to pure oxygen for decompression. You can do home study for the short course before hand, at your convenience, leaving the most enjoyable part of the course, the diving, to when you are on the boat with us.


The Safari route

The Wrecks and reefs trip is the best of both worlds, where you visit famous wrecks in the northern Red Sea along with some stunning reef diving. This trip is not about depth, but it’s about having the time to explore the wrecks and reefs in all their glory within the 30 – 45m range.

Abu Nuhas has four well-known wrecks: Ghiannis D, Carnatic, Chrisoula and Kimon M. All wrecks offering spectacular dives and plenty of fish life, and how about to try diving all four wrecks in one dive!

Night dives can be superb as Gubal Island offers protected anchoring for the night. A small wreck at 8-10 metres makes for a spectacular night dive with lionfish, scorpion fish and its resident giant moray eel as well as the wreck of the Ulysses.

The wreck of the Rosalie Moller is a perfect example of where having some decompression training can transform a dive. Imagine not being stuck to having only 20 minutes on the wreck before decompression but to be trained to happily have 40 minutes instead! Now we are talking! Next onto the Kingston lying at Shag Rock; the Carina lying close to Sha’ab Ali and the Dunraven at Beacon Rock in Ras Mohamed National Park.

blogrosalie moller_3wm

Last but not least lets not forget the most famous wreck in the Red Sea, the Thistlegorm, at Sha’ab Ali.

The SS Thistlegorm was sunk in 1941 after being bombed by the German Luftwaffe while on a mission to deliver a cargo of ammunition and other war materials to the British troops in North Africa. The Rosalie Moller, carrying a cargo of coal, suffered the same fate just two days later. Many divers have yet to explore the wreck and the surrounding debris field in all its glory again because the computer says “no”! This does not have to be the way. During your SSI XR training you will learn how to combine the best eanx gas for deeper exploration, in combination with an efficient decompression gas to enable you to be the first in the water and for sure the last out the water!

Whilst in Ras Mohamed, you may have the chance to do a dive at Shark Reef; a sheer wall falling into the blue. From here the boat heads back towards Hurghada.

In between wreck dives you will also visit the reefs of the Straits of Gubal, Gulf of Suez and those to the north of Hurghada. A variety of deep walls and hard coral gardens with an abundance of reef fish make them well worth a visit.

All wrecks are subject to divers’ experience and weather conditions.


The Dates

November 20th – 27th 2015

November 27th – 4th December 2015

The Price

As a special winter deal Emperor Divers are offering either of these trips above for 899 euros.

This price includes:

Airport transfers

7 nights accommodation

Marine park fees

Fuel Surcharges

All food and soft drinks on the boat

Technical dive guide

This price does not include:

Technical diving supplies:

Twin set hire or CCR tank hire = 60 euros for the week

2 x Deco tank hire / bailout tank hire = 30 euros for the week

CCR oxygen gas fills = 5 euros per fill / top up

Eanx gases up to 39% = 5 euros per fill / top up

Eanx gases between 40% – 79% = 8 euros

Eanx gases 80% – 100% = 12 euros

Sofnolime = 11 euros per kg


Please note that this trip is not a specific technical safari. It is a traditional wrecks and reefs safari with the option to make some decompression dives or join the entry level SSI XR nitrox course with one of the Tekstreme team. Tekstreme will guarantee their normal high level of service with regards to:

Custom gas mixtures to 200bar

Technical guide(s) available for all dives

Safety procedures and dive awareness

Detailed dive site briefings from a decompression perspective

Emergency oxygen and additional emergency drop down gases

There are no minimum requirements in terms of how many divers would like to make decompression dives. One of our guides will be there even if there is only one person who would like to make decompression dives! There does not get better service than that!

Contact us for reservations or more information.

Cat Braun

Tekstreme Manager

Tekstreme “The Tour” visits Malta

Tekstreme Wings

MALTA 2016

May 7th – 14th

Price = £600


The Maltese Islands’ clear blue Mediterranean sea is ideal for scuba diving. All three islands offer some unique diving experiences with an abundance of reefs, caves and wrecks that make diving here some of the most interesting in the Mediterranean. The calmness and clarity of the sea makes for excellent visibility whilst the risk of encountering dangerous fish is extremely low, creating the ultimate conditions for scuba diving. For the more experienced divers, there are plenty of challenging dives to choose from.

Price Includes:

  • 7 nights self catering accommodation in shared villas with equipment storage
  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • 5 days diving
  • Transfers to and from Dive locations
  • All ferry costs
  • 12 litre Twin set hire or CCR tank hire
  • 1 decompression tank
  • Technical guides


This trip is aimed at diving some of the most popular wrecks and reefs of Malta and Gozo to with all dives between depths of 30 – 55m. It is preferably that divers should hold a certification to enable them to dive to 50m on either air or limited trimix. Lower certifications of certifications are also welcome and courses to achieve the higher levels are available during the trip.

For the shallower dives (30 – 40m) there will be planned two dives per day. For the deeper dives up to 55m it is planned for 1 dive a day. This makes for a minimum 8 dive trip. The dives are subject to weather conditions but hopefully will include the following: P31 patrol boat, Rosie Tug Boat, El Faroud, MV Karwela, MV Xlendi, HMS Stubborn and the Blue Hole to name a few.

Nitrox, Helium and extra Deco cylinders are available but not included in the overall price. All extras are to be paid directly to the Dive centre at the end of the trip.

malta view

 Flights are available quite inexpensive from most major UK airports.

 Email to for more information.

Tekstreme “The Tour”.

Did you know, that one of the most common questions that I get asked when guests are enquiring to me about Tekstreme and wanting to do some diving with us is, “Are Tekstreme located in other countries?” To date, I have had to reply that the answer is no.

Another black shirt for the team copy

Tekstreme have, since establishment, concentrated their time offering technical services throughout Egypt. As a technical company we are one of the largest in Egypt with operations, through the facilities of Emperor Divers, in Sharm El Shiekh, El Gouna and Marsa Alam plus offering multiple specific technical safaris throughout the year. I guess personally for me, before taking Tekstreme to other destinations I want to be sure that we have the right attitude, approach, business plan, commitment, audience and of course the desire. Right now I believe we can easily tick all of those boxes. However, these things are not to be rushed. Much research needs to be done on destinations, availability, profitability, demand etc etc. We see in our industry too many technical operations opening up around the world yet one year later they close their doors. As a reputable technical diving company we need to ensure that if we take on such a project outside of Egypt that our customers can be assured that we will be there to stay.

Tekstreme Wings

Now don’t get too excited, this blog is not Tekstreme announcing a new location, not quite yet, but what we are doing in the meantime is to take Tekstreme “On Tour”. Beginning in 2016 we are going to be offering technical diving trips to multiple other locations outside of Egypt. This way, our customers who want to have the benefit of diving multiple locations, but staying with Tekstreme are going to be very happy. Tekstreme will be organising diving trips including accommodation in various European destinations to begin with, before expanding to worldwide destinations. We will only be using the facilities of highly reputable dive centres in each location who we know will maintain high standards that our customers demand. On each trip one of our highly trained technical team members will be there with our customers to ensure that our high standards are kept and of course to offer technical courses on each trip.

For each trip, we are keeping them quite exclusive, small groups only. We plan to take a maximum of around 8 – 10 divers on each trip. For us, it has always been about quality, not quantity and this philosophy will not change. We want to have a more intimate group of divers that we can care for on a personal level, rather than a conveyer belt of divers!


For us, these are really exciting times and we cant wait to take kick start Tekstreme “The Tour”, we hope that we are going to see many of our technical diver friends come and join us and make this the best technical tour ever.

Cat Braun

Tekstreme Diving Manager