As a beginner diver and intern at Scuba Seekers Diving center in Dahab, and as someone who is always surrounded by professional divers most of the time, I came to understand that there is more to diving than just breathing into a regulator and waving at fish. My inquisitive nature forced me to ask different divers about their diving experiences. I learnt more about the differences between diving federations, until I came across GUE (Global Underwater Explorers).
GUE was founded in 1998. It is a nonprofit federation with the purpose to increase the quality of aquatic education by building an international base of qualified and capable divers and explorers. GUE’s high standards and prerequisites for enrolling divers into any course is why I was intrigued to learn more about it. Initially, the person has to be a non-smoker.
Since diving is a physically demanding sport that requires a person to be fit, the preconditions made sense. The damages caused by smoking on the lungs and cardiovascular system can put a diver at higher risks of DCS than a non-smoker. The oxygen carrying capacity in the body decreases, making the body unable to sufficiently rid itself of the nitrogen absorbed, causing an increase of bubble formation in the tissues. Most divers would already know the following consequences of such incidents.
GUE also focuses on standardizing and improving certain skills such as the importance of buoyancy, and efficient trimming and propulsion techniques. The GUE standard gas used in recreational dives is Nitrox, which means that all GUE divers are already a good deal familiar with the difference between different gases and the biological effects they have on the human body.
How to be a quality diver
I was very hesitant to take the course at first, believing that it made more sense to continue my courses as a dive guide instead of wasting time and money on a course that will only enhance my diving skills from A to Z. Nonetheless, I still wanted to be a quality diver before becoming a dive guide, knowing at the back of my mind that the GUE course included everything I needed to achieve that.
After having a discussion with a friend about his GUE experience, he said that the Fundamentals course has completely changed his perspective on diving, which was enough for me to finally take the plunge and enroll for the course.
Throughout the 4 days of physical and mental training, I felt my perspective in diving gradually changed as well. I became more aware of my habits and how to logically enhance them, and also focused on the small details that make drastic differences. Even though most diving federations teach the same set of skills needed to become a diver, GUE presents the information differently in a way a diver logically learns the reasons behind why certain things are done before learning how to do them.
Conclusively, my expectations of the course were not only met but also exceeded. I feel more confident in the water, now that I can consider myself a safe diver for others diving with me and myself.
Hamza, Heather. “Doing It Wrong: Smoking and Diving.” Quest: Vol 12. No. 3