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Notice my avatar. I am hard astern.
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I was taught by Tom Burton (RIP). He taught Jack all he knows!
 

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Jesus don't want me for a sunbeam
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Do you have to be able to swim to scuba? Oops!
My skills are as a good as they need to be for the diving I do but I can just about swim to save myself. The only reason I passed my PADI DM swim test was that I was left to count the lengths myself and, ahem, lost count so had to make an estimate :)

Fitness isn't arbitrary.
Isn't it? How good an instructor does it make you that you can pass a swim test? It makes fook all difference that I've seen. I've seen plenty of so called tech instructors with badges up their arms, presumably fresh from this great fitness check, that I wouldn't let teach me to eat soup without slurping. When you read some of the shite written on here by some of these gurus, it isn't particularly reassuring.

It is great that IANTD put an emphasis on fitness but I'd rather they put an emphasis on quality. I got my rebreather cert from one of Mr Mount's well known pet gurus from doing 15min in the pool on a unit and my trimix cert from a past director of IANTD without even getting in the water. I'd rather have someone that can teach than someone that can swim an arbitrary distance in a set time.

The guy I was referring to in my previous post was John Orlowski. John lives off a diet of coffee, beer and cigarettes, interspersed with the occasional hot dog just for the vitamins. On the other hand, he is one of the most experienced cave divers on the planet and one of the best instructors I've ever trained with (as well as being a very nice guy). He discovered Zacaton, he was a dive partner of Sheck Exley, he travels all over the US and the rest of the world doing body recoveries that no-one else will touch... Do you want to tell him he can't teach any more because of some arbitrary pool exercise?

I'm no expert but swimming up and down a pool doesn't tell you much about anything other than their ability to swim up and down a pool.

Dick Rutkowski has written some very good stuff on dive fitness assessments over the years and swimming never figured very highly in it. Though as an 80 year old beer swilling ex-Marine he probably shouldn't be teaching...

So to answer your question... yes I think a lot of instructors might be put off but not for the reasons you might think. If I was an instructor and the agency was stupid enough to make that the factor that decides whether I teach or not then I think I'd be finding another agency.
 
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Dive without politics
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Do you? My next course is with a guy in his sixties, I picked him based on knowledge and experience.

Today is the 70th birthday of one of our club members, most years he does more dives than anyone else in the club.

Neither would pass a swim test, both are excellent, knowledgeable and skilled divers.

When I passed my swim tests I smoked 20 a day and drank like a fish, now I drink much less and don't smoke and my diet is the best it has ever been.

I doubt I could make those times today....

Personally I would prefer an instructor who can explain things like, say, gas planning.
Being able to explain things wont help too much if you are required to perform a rescue, IMO.

Fitness should be a requirment IMO, many instructors i know swim with the DMC's, it opens their eyes when the instructor beats their time.

IMO, we should operate on a 'do as i do' system, rather than a 'do as I say' system, is that not part of being a mentor?

For the record i also dont think we should have cops that are unfit either.
 
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It's the swim test that's done without fins that I struggle with the reasoning of! Why do it?! If I was by the water and needed to rescue someone I'd be damn sure to jam a pair of fins on first! I certainly wouldn't strip to my swiming trunks to leap into UK waters... swimming in a drysuit without fins is like watching a small baby learning to swim - all flailing limbs and no movement!
 

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Fitness certainly isn't arbitrary! Having an efficient cardiovascular system and the required muscular skeletal strength to move stages around and do the sort of lifting required in tech diving has obvious and very real benefits to a diver. That said a swim test as a measure of dive fitness certainly is arbitrary! Swimming fast in a pool is all about technique and upper body strength endurance. I have worked with a lot of triathletes in my time, many of whom were some of the fittest guys you will ever meet and could run and cycle all day long but when they first started Triathlon they couldn't swim for toffee. Give them some some technique coaching and they improve overnight, have they got any fitter, no way, if they were dive instructors would they have improved as instructors, no way.

You can look at fitness for dive instructors in two ways. For instructors teaching groups of new open water students, and for instructors teaching experienced, competent tech divers. Would I let an eighty year old wheezing dive legend take responsibility for my 10 year old in an open water environment, no chance, would I sit in a classroom with him and hang on every word he said, hell yes!

I do think dive professionals have a responsibility to keep themselves in shape, and I think there should be instructor reevaluations on a regular basis(perhaps not annually but every two or three years) that should include both a fitness test and an evaluation of their instruction skills. This is the only way to keep the quality of instructor high across the board.
 

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Dive without politics
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It's the swim test that's done without fins that I struggle with the reasoning of! Why do it?! If I was by the water and needed to rescue someone I'd be damn sure to jam a pair of fins on first! I certainly wouldn't strip to my swiming trunks to leap into UK waters... swimming in a drysuit without fins is like watching a small baby learning to swim - all flailing limbs and no movement!
Its a test of fitness and stamina, simples.
 

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Jesus don't want me for a sunbeam
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Should instructors refuse to certify divers that don't meet the same levels of fitness they do?

There's nothing wrong with a CV fitness test, it's part of the annual HSE medical. Swimming up and down a pool tells you nothing about an instructor's ability other than to swim up and down a pool on that day. Suspending an instructor's status because of bad swimming technique is a joke.

Besides, when they are happy to bend the rules for particular instructors do you really think they'll play it straight on fitness? Yeah, right...
 

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Should instructors refuse to certify divers that don't meet the same levels of fitness they do?

There's nothing wrong with a CV fitness test, it's part of the annual HSE medical. Swimming up and down a pool tells you nothing about an instructor's ability other than to swim up and down a pool on that day. Suspending an instructor's status because of bad swimming technique is a joke.

Besides, when they are happy to bend the rules for particular instructors do you really think they'll play it straight on fitness? Yeah, right...

Yes instructors should refuse to certify divers that don't meet a prerequisite level of fitness! However within any given agency course structure the prerequisite level of fitness for an instructor should be higher than that of a student. I do agree with you on the use of a CV test rather than a swim test, perhaps the bleep test with differing pass levels for different courses?
 

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I really do have a pink weight belt
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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
There's nothing wrong with a CV fitness test, it's part of the annual HSE medical. Swimming up and down a pool tells you nothing about an instructor's ability other than to swim up and down a pool on that day. Suspending an instructor's status because of bad swimming technique is a joke.
My thinking was along the IANTD skills rather than the PADI ones; which incorporate Scuba distances as well as swimming.
 

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Devout Sceptic
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swimming isn't a great measure of fitness yet it seems (quite logically) to carry a lot of importance in the diving world.

I'm a crap (surface) swimmer the MD can show me a clean pair of heels in the pool yet her general fitness is certainly not great. My own fitness is far and above that expected of a 47 year old and is above that of the average 30 year old. I'd hate for it to be measured by swimming skill alone.

There will be plenty of in water exercises that could demonstrate a persons aquatic skills which may or may not be related to fitness. I'd rather know if a person was likely to be able to execute an in water rescue rather than how well they can swim.
 

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Notice my avatar. I am hard astern.
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Among the armed police at Gatwick Airport, there used to be one big, old, fat guy. I met him later on a diving trip and typical of me, I asked him what he was doing in the company of those young fit men. He pointed out that they were fit and well-trained but should the unthinkable happen, they'd need among them someone who was prepared to let off a round in the required direction. That comes only with practice and maturity. It's the same with scuba diving. When the chips ate down you need someone that has had the experience. The young fit guys can take over once the initial reactive manoeuvres have been taken care of.
 
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Among the armed police at Gatwick Airport, there used to be one big, old, fat guy. I met him later on a diving trip and typical of me, I asked him what he was doing in the company of those young fit men. He pointed out that they were fit and well-trained but should the unthinkable happen, they'd need among them someone who was prepared to let off a round in the required direction. That comes only with practice and maturity. It's the same with scuba diving. When the chips ate down you need someone that has had the experience. The young fit guys can take over once the initial reactive manoeuvres have been taken care of.
That's all very well unless the big fat guy has to run 800m to get to the scene of the incident, by which time Al Queda has blown up the airport!
 

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Dive without politics
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Any type of CV test would be fine, i am not too good at running though, flatish feet, sometimes called hobbit feet, so i would not vote for any type of running test.

My swimming ability is one of the reasons i dive and dont hill climb.

Lots of posters dont seem to be able to seperate the ability to teach, from a required level of fitness. Its does not need to be one or the other.

I have always thought that the swim test was a good thing, it has proved to be a brick wall to a few of my leadership candidates over the years, and it was an easy way for me to gauge fitness. If you can swim well your time will be less, and if you want a better time you can get lessons, if it matters to you.

Its hardly the iron man test, my daughter aged 12 swam against three DMC and beat them.

Of course it would always come down to how it would be policed, and that is an other issue.

Bottom line for me is students should be able to expect that their instructor would have an above average level of fitness.
 

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Jesus don't want me for a sunbeam
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My thinking was along the IANTD skills rather than the PADI ones; which incorporate Scuba distances as well as swimming.
I am still not convinced as to what it would achieve. Is there are a particularly big problem with unfit instructors causing a danger to the public? As a control, is it proportionate to the problem? I don't think it is. I can also see it being stupidly expensive as well. What good does it do when the HSE medical already does CV checks?

Are there students getting hurt in significant numbers because their instructors can't pass a swim test? I would've thought the HSE would be giving the medical a lot more scrutiny if that were the case. I suspect this is a non-issue, I don't remember many accident reports where instructor fitness was the problem. It sounds like interference for the sake of it and falling firmly into "waste of time".

There's nothing wrong with fitness but diving has bigger problems.
 
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NotDeadYet;1851155 There's nothing wrong with fitness but diving has bigger problems.[/QUOTE said:
I completely agree! I do however think that the general level of fitness within the dive industry is indicative of a lot of other areas within the Industry where the bar needs to be raised a lot higher. Biannual re evaluations for instructors would go a long way towards ensuring that quality of instruction is kept to a high level. I would add to this that there are an awful lot of competent conscientious instructors out there, but IMHO there is way too much latitude between the good ones and the bad ones. Fitness tests per se would do nothing to address this, (as i say above, there needs to be a more holistic method of instructor quality control)but they would separate those instructors who are prepared to put in the hard work for their trade, versus those that can't be arsed!
 

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In the UK at least, to work as a paid instructor you have to undergo a step test as part of the required medical do you not? Now I may be wrong but is this not a fitness test?

As and aside if I need to be rescued on a club dive the guy I hope is doing the rescuing is a mid sixties fat bloke, he is reasonably fit but the reason is that I know he will keep his shit together and do the best he can for as long as he needs to, he will also mobilise all the stunned spectators....
 

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I really do have a pink weight belt
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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Guys stop arguing about the HSE. I'm referring to all instructors worldwide. Widen the scope a bit.
 

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Nigel Hewitt
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Was it through lifestyle or genetic condition? I could have probably spotted the former very easy.
Definitely lifestyle.
You might blame it on the motorcycle racing crash where somebody drove over my chest, that's clearly a lifestyle choice, although the levels of stupidity that say "racing F2 road race bikes is the thing to do" could be genetic.
 
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