Keeping up with Diving Knowledge

The PADI Trimix course has an excellent section that implores divers to keep abreast of the changes that occur in the world of diving. I think every diver in the world would agree that it is in one’s best interest to lead dives in accordance to the latest and greatest thinking. But how is that done? How does the average diver become aware of how thinking is evolving?

In the past few years, several online social media devoted to scuba, especially Rebreather World and ScubaBoard, have been rocked by contentious threads on an important topic in decompression theory—deep stops. People participating in these debates have been among the most important names in decompression science and others who are heavily involved with dive planning, including Simon Mitchell, David Doolette, Bruce Weinke, and Ross Hemingway. In these debates, people have cited all the most recent research, including most especially the Navy Experimental Diving Unit study on deep stops. Anyone reading those debates with appropriate care and interest would have to be in touch with the current thinking of the top names in decompression theory.

I wanted to write a summary of that kearniung, and as I started to do so, I wondered what I would do if I had not read these debates and was instead a diver keenly interested in keeping up with the field. I wondered what I would do if I wanted to learn the current thinking on deep stops on my own. Accordingly, I Googled the phrase “Scuba Diving Deep Stops” and scanned the first 10 pages—100 results. What I saw was appalling.

In those 100 results, only 2 referenced recent research. Almost all summarized old—often very old—beliefs. In one case, an article professed to explain thinking on deep stops in the year 2018—as up to date as you can get. Yet it did not have any information in it that was not available 15 years ago. Most importantly, those 100 results clearly conveyed precisely the opposite meaning of the most recent debates among the true experts. Among the true experts, there is unquestionably a sense that deep stops do more harm than good, but in the Google results, deep stops are the greatest things going—everyone should be doing them.

So where does one turn for better information? I honestly can’t identify a better source than Google at this time, and that frightens me. I have therefore decided to create one myself. In this web site, you will find a tab for Resources. I plan to develop that into a library of the latest thinking so that divers can go there and learn what they need to know in order to become the best and safest divers they can be. I am just one unimportant person in the world of scuba diving, but perhaps I an create a service that some few will find helpful, even if that few consist only of friends and students.

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