The Rescue Diver course

A fundamental course to maintain safety at sea. 

With the desire to continue learning and growing as a diver, one day I decided to stop being an advanced diver to be a Rescue Diver, I believe that rescue divers are much safer in the water, since they teach us based on prevention of accidents. 

Today I want to tell you about this course and my experience as a student at that time. 

Without a doubt, it was the most fun, challenging and satisfying course I have ever done. We were a group of 6 students, we all worked, so the classes were once a week, every Saturday. 

It could be said that it is a «hard» course, but it would not be fair, in fact, what is sought is that each one gives 100% within their physical possibilities to help a person who needs it and for this they taught us different techniques. 

In the theory stage, we dealt with a real accident in each of the lessons, we saw how it happened, what caused it, what was done, what failed and what should have been done. They taught us to apply logic, criteria, and technique. The PADI digital material that we use for the course integrates texts with images and videos, making learning very easy, entertaining, and dynamic. 

Our instructor named Bigo was a former army and navy diver. He, despite all his demands, made you love the sea a little more and more. Of all the instructors he had had up to that moment, he was the strictest, the toughest, but seen from a distance, I appreciate his commitment, his way of transmitting his entire experience up and down the sea. I appreciate all the teachings that I received from him and that they accompanied me and accompany me on each dive. Without a doubt one of my best references. 

We also had training in the pool, where we simulated real rescue scenarios. In my case, it could be said that I started on the wrong foot and instead of rescuing my partner in the drill, they ended up rescuing me. And no, it wasn’t a drill, sadly. I remember that I had had a very long day at work, hardly eaten and the steam from the heated pool ended up doing its thing. In the middle of the exercise, I blacked out. Can you believe it? Well, not me. I open my eyes and I was no longer in the water; I had been lying on the edge of the pool and I had my instructors around me trying to wake me up. Fortunately, I pulled myself together, continued training and it turned out to be one of my best days. 

For that exercise they had put an inflatable boat in the middle of the pool and the practice consisted of how to raise an unconscious person into the boat, without any help. It was quite a skill. 

Once the theoretical sessions and all the passed exams had concluded, it was time to implement a rescue at sea. The second stage was already underway, and the last details of the trip were ready. 

The chosen destination was Ibiza, we all traveled together as if it were an end-of-year trip. I really enjoyed sharing with instructors and divemasters their funny anecdotes while we shared some math and life experiences. 

We arrived in Ibiza; the SCUBA IBIZA operator was already waiting for us with all the equipment ready for our first group dive. Impressed by both the boat and the equipment, with latest models in perfect condition. The instructors were very friendly and were in all the details, they made you feel at home. 

Our hotel was so close to the beach that we accessed the sea with just a few steps. Really a paradise. 

That night we had dinner and early we went to rest. The next morning, and after a rich breakfast, we walked to Scuba Ibiza. This diving center also has its location in its favor, since it is in a strategic place for those who arrive by plane, ferry, or private boats. 

Once in the center, we divide according to each level. Those who were going to perform open water of the PADI Open Water Diver course, those who participated in the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, those who were only going to dive and us, the future PADI Rescue Divers. 

If my memory serves, I believe that the name of the dive site was the Malvin Sur islet, an islet characterized by its tranquility, located within the Freus de Ibiza marine reserve, right in front of Playa den Bossa, a highly sought-after beach in the night of Ibiza. The islet, at the anchor point, has very shallow depth that increases as we follow its wall. The bottom is mainly covered with Posidonia oceanica, which gives it the appearance of a huge garden. The fact of being an islet sheltered from winds and waves makes it the perfect place to carry out all the skills and rescue exercises. We were looking forward to the activity that they would have prepared for us for that day. 

There we were, the 6 nervous divers, ready to be «tested». We went back to doing all the exercises we had practiced in the pool. I remember one of them very well. It involved extracting an unconscious diver and carrying him out of the water. This exercise consisted of first confirming and ensuring that the diver was unconscious, for this we had to splash him with the water and get his attention. Then turn him face up to reverse his position and stabilize his buoyancy, for this maneuver we had to remove the weight belt and inflate his vest, while asking for help. Then we had to remove the mask and regulator and go on to open the airways to check his breathing, for about 10 seconds, putting our face close to the victim’s nose and, at the same time, observing the diver’s chest. Then we began with rescue breaths and at the same time we were taking off the equipment while we removed it completely until we put the victim on the boat, with the help of the other classmates. After reviewing the exercises, we began to practice with the drills. 

In my practice, I had to rescue Boti, my favorite instructor, a 78-year-old man, whose healthy life, fully active and in harmony with deep blue, turns his appearance into a 60-year-old man. My exercises came out perfect and I received congratulations. Thus ended the day, with the satisfaction of having achieved it. In the evening we all went to dinner and toasting for having become PADI Rescue Divers. 

I learned that the «secret» of this course is to be able to see an accident before it happens and thus be able to avoid it. But if it cannot be avoided, you learn to make an effective, safe, and fast rescue with the ideal rescue techniques and without major problems. 

Many years passed after this anecdote and today I am the one who teaches this course along with the first aid course. Perhaps, being so conservative, responsible, and taking safety to the extreme, I have not had any accidents. Nor have I had to rescue anyone beyond the course demonstrations. But it is true that you must be very attentive all the time. 

I remember that, on one occasion, we were with a group of people from India. I tell them that most of them do not know how to swim, but they do have a lot of courage because they are encouraged to do new things and to challenge new challenges, such as diving. The first of this group was a very nice girl who, to my surprise, was doing quite well in the water. We did the Try dive, we were underwater for about 30 minutes, and everything was perfect. After the dive, I left her on the boat’s ladder, where a colleague would meet her and help her remove her equipment. In less than a second, the time it took to adjust my diving mask, I heard my partner screaming because someone had problems … How could it be? Everything happened in an instant. I watched as the girl took off her mask, regulator and deflated her vest. Why did she do it? We do not know. Maybe, she was overwhelmed, maybe it was overconfidence, I don’t know, she didn’t know how to explain it either. There she was, sinking in front of my eyes. Thanks to my good training, to my knowledge, as the whole team was pending, nothing has happened. Just getting close to her and inflating her BCD was enough in this case. 

Due to this experience, which I always share so that, if you have the opportunity, do not hesitate to sign up for a PADI Rescue Diver course. I am sure it will give you a lot of satisfaction and it will also change the way you see water and safety in it. 

It will teach you to use good judgment, for example, to reject dive plans outside the limits of your training. Diving is designed to be a fun activity, not to risk your life. That is why the benefits of taking the course will be: improve your diving skills, optimize your self-management when diving, you will be able to ensure the safety of others and anticipate possible problems and, without a doubt, you will be a better diving companion. In addition, in this PADI Rescue Diver Course, you will notice that your level as a diver increases considerably and, why not, it could be one more step towards your career as a professional diver. In the hands of the experienced professionals at SCUBA IBIZA, your satisfaction will be guaranteed. 

Between course and course … between diving and diving … 

Observe the oceans, fix your gaze on the sea, feel it, breathe … they provide us with half the oxygen we breathe … where legends come to life and reality becomes a fable. Unknown worlds, unknown stories, only guarded by a raging and defenseless sea. 

Carla Villari 

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