GUE Tech 1 Class
GUE Tech 1 taught by Karim Hamza
GUE’s Technical Diver Level 1 course is designed to prepare divers for the rigors of technical diving and to familiarize them with the use of different breathing and decompression mixtures. Additional course outcomes include: cultivating, integrating, and expanding the essential skills required for safe technical diving; problem identification and resolution; the use of double tanks/cylinders and the potential failure problems associated with them; the use of Nitrox for accelerated and general decompression strategies; the use of Helium to minimize narcosis; and the applications of single decompression stage diving, with respect to decompression procedures.
Applicants for a Tech 1 course must:
- Submit a completed registration form, a medical history, and a liability release to GUE Headquarters.
- Be physically and mentally fit.
- Hold insurance that will cover diving emergencies such as hyperbaric treatment, e.g. DAN Master-level insurance or equivalent.
- Be a nonsmoker.
- Obtain a physician’s prior written authorization for the use of prescription drugs, except for birth control, or for any prior medical condition that may pose a risk while diving.
- Be a minimum of 18 years of age.
- Have earned a GUE Fundamentals “Technical” pass.
- Have a minimum of 100 logged dives beyond open water certification.
The Tech 1 course is normally conducted over a six days, requires nine dives and a minimum 40 hours of instruction, encompassing classroom, land drills and in-water work.
Tech 1 Specific Training Standards
- Student-to-instructor ratio is not to exceed 6:1 during land drill or surface exercises; ratios cannot exceed 3:1 during any in-water training.
- Maximum depth of 170 feet/51 meters.
- Dives should not be planned to incur more than 30 minutes of decompression time as established by GUE’s DecoPlanner.
- No overhead diving except by active GUE Cave 2 Level instructors while teaching in the cave environment.
- Students participating in a Tech 1 course conducted in a cave must be at least GUE Cave 2 divers.
GUE training materials and recommended reading as determined by the course study packet received via online download after GUE course registration.
- Introduction: GUE organization and course overview (objectives, limits, expectations)
- History of technical diving
- Situational awareness
- Dive planning and gas management
- Building a solid dive plan
- Gas requirements
- Gas strategies
- Breathing gas dynamics
- Physics review
- Oxygen toxicity
- Narcosis and CO2
- Gas density
- GUE standard gasses
- Physics and physiology
- Dissolved gas theories
- Bubble control models
- Decompression illness
- Practical decompression
- Using decompression gasses
- Decompression strategies
- Contingency managements
- Reel and guideline use
- Dive team formation, communication and protocols
- Manifold operation and failures
- Decompression bottle and switching procedures
- Decompression cylinder failure protocols
Required Dive Skills and Drills
- Demonstrate proficiency in safe diving techniques; this would include pre-dive preparations, inwater activity, and post-dive assessment.
- Demonstrate awareness of team member location and concern for safety, responding quickly to visual indications and dive partner needs.
- Demonstrate a safe and responsible demeanor throughout all training.
- Demonstrate proficiency in underwater communication.
- Demonstrate basic proficiency managing a GUE equipment configuration.
- Demonstrate safe ascent and descent procedures.
- Must be able to swim at least 400 yards/375 meters in less than 14 minutes without stopping. This test should be conducted in a swimsuit and, where necessary, appropriate thermal protection.
- Must be able to swim a distance of at least 60 feet/18 meters on a breath hold while submerged.
- Demonstrate proficiency in gas failure procedures, including valve manipulation, gas sharing, and regulator switching as appropriate.
- Demonstrate proficiency in surface marker buoy deployment.
- Demonstrate proficiency in switching to a backup mask.
- Demonstrate familiarity with required course equipment.
- Demonstrate proficiency in managing gas sharing scenarios, to include a prolonged gas sharing event.
- Comfortably demonstrate at least three propulsion techniques that would be appropriate in delicate and/or silty environments; one of these kicks must be the backward kick.
- Demonstrate reasonable proficiency with a single decompression cylinder.
- Demonstrate proficiency with effective decompression techniques, including depth and time management.
- Demonstrate dive rescue techniques, including effective management of an unconscious diver.
- Demonstrate good buoyancy and trim, i.e. approximate reference is a maximum of 20 degrees off horizontal while remaining within 3 feet/1 meter of a target depth.
- Demonstrate the ability to manage a failed decompression cylinder using available team resources.
GUE base configuration as outlined in Appendix A, plus:
- GUE double tank configuration
- Primary and backup lights
- One decompression cylinder
- Small argon regulator and bottle where appropriate
- One primary reel per team
Prior to the commencement of class, students should consult with a GUE representative to verify equipment requirements and appropriateness of any selected equipment.
Equipment Standards - Appendix A
The GUE base equipment configuration is comprised of:
- Tanks/cylinders: students may use a single tank/cylinder with a K-, H-, or Y-valve. Students may also use dual tanks/cylinders connected with a dual-outlet isolator manifold, which allows for the use of two first-stages. Consult course specific standards and your instructor to verify size requirements.
- Single tank: one second-stage regulator must supply a 5 to 7 foot/1.5 to 2 meter hose (2 meter long hose is required for all cave classes). The first stage must supply a pressure gauge, inflation for the buoyancy compensator (BC), and a means to inflate a drysuit where applicable.
- Double tank: one of two required first stages must supply a pressure gauge and provide inflation for a drysuit where applicable. The other second stage must supply a 5 to 7 foot/1.5 to 2 meter hose and an inflation source for the BC.
- Backplate system:
- Should be held to the diver by one continuous piece of webbing. This webbing should be adjustable and should use a buckle to secure the system at the waist.
- A crotch strap is attached and looped through the waistband so as to prevent the system from riding up a diver’s back.
- The continuous webbing should support five d-rings;
- The first placed at the left hip
- The second placed in line with a diver’s right collarbone
- The third placed in line with the diver’s left collarbone
- The fourth and fifth are placed on the front and back of the crotch strap where divers plan to use advanced equipment like DPVs.
- The harness below the diver’s arms has small restrictive bands to allow for the placement of reserve lights. The webbing and system retains a minimalist approach.
- Buoyancy compensation device (BC):
- A diver’s BC is back-mounted and minimalist in nature.
- It is free of extraneous strings, tabs, or other material.
- There are no restrictive bands or restrictive elastic affixed to the buoyancy cell.
- Wing size and shape is appropriate to the cylinder size(s) employed for training.
- At least one time/depth measuring device.
- Wrist-mounted compass.
- Mask and fins: Mask is be low-volume; fins are rigid, non-split
- At least one cutting device.
- Wet Notes.
- At least one surface marker buoy (SMB) with spool per diver.
- Exposure suit appropriate for the duration of exposure.
Additional Course-Specific Equipment
- Where required, bottom gas, decompression, or stage cylinders are marked in accord with GUE standards and configured in line with GUE protocol. They should be as close to neutral as possible with a relatively small swing from negative to positive during the use of the cylinder.
- Where argon bottles are applicable, they should be sized appropriately for the environment; small tanks are placed on the backplate with larger supplies affixed to the diver’s left back gas tank.
- Surface marker buoy: where required, the SMB should be appropriate for environmental conditions and deployed using a spool with at least 100 feet/30 meters of line.
- One reserve mask is required for some classes.
- Underwater lights:
- Where required, back-up lights should be powered by alkaline batteries (not rechargeable) and stowed on the d-rings at a diver’s chest.
- Reserve lights should have a minimal amount of protrusions and a single attachment at its rear.
- The primary light should consist of a rechargeable battery pack and be fitted with a Goodman-style light handle.
- Where burn time requirements create the need for an external battery pack, it should reside in a canister mounted to the diver’s right hip.
- Guideline devices, as required during cave diving activities:
- A primary reel is required for all cave diving and provides a minimalist form factor with a handle designed to support a Goodman or “hands free” handle operation.
- The primary reel should contain at least 150 feet/45 meters.
- A safety spool is required for each diver while cave diving and should contain at least 150 feet/45 meters of line wrapped on a simple spool.
- A jump or gap spool is required during Cave 2 dives and should contain at least 75 feet/23 meters of line wrapped on a simple spool.