Since completing the IDC I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations about what we must do on a course. Out of air simulations have been particularly interesting. In the good old days we were told that if our buddy ran out of air we were to cover our regulator to ensure they don’t try to grab it. That evolved to us raising our hands up to make it easier for the buddy to find the alternate air source in the triangle and we are now in the situation where we provide the alternate air source.
“Supply air to another diver using an alternate air source.” Does this mean the the air is supplied from our air source or that we literally supply the air and pass the octopus? I think these areas are always worthy of discussion and we evolve over time as we learn more about diving situations. If someone is out of air is there evidence that they try to grab our regulator? Well, if not then there is no reason to cover our regulator to protect ourselves. And so we learn from incidents and develop our practice.
The skills we learn are not to tick off a list of requirements for an open water course. Rather they are there to build core abilities that enable safe and fun diving. The encouragement of divers achieving good buoyancy earlier in the course and consequently completing their course neutrally buoyant (rather than negatively buoyant kneeling on the bottom) will lead to more confident and better able divers in the future.
There are other quirks that have emerged where rules have been created to say when a student has demonstrated a skill properly. The performance requirements are actually all that need to be met. We can learn from other instructors and pick up tips to make the learning easier for students but the reality is that all they have to do is to meet the performance requirements.