There is an old saying in the military that there are no old bold soldiers, just old soldiers and bold soldiers. The two traits are at odds with each other, being bold won't allow you to grow old. In a previous blog 'Why Attitude Sucks' I discussed the attitude some divers show to new divers. That led me onto thinking about the best attitude of the best divers I have meet. Without doubt the best divers are relaxed and forward thinking. A relaxed attitude leads to a thought through decision, not a knee jerk or panicked reaction. Unless you are highly trained and have an effective muscle memory, you are unlikely to react correctly without a moment of thought.
A friend of mine was a technical diver for many years and told me how he would try and plan ahead as much as possible, what if's? He created a list of SOPs (another military reference to Standard Operating Procedures), if this happens then I will do this, you will do that. It is clear and everyone understands what they need to do. Just like a dive briefing, if you become separated then..., if you have an air incident then.... Most importantly he and his team practised these, spotted issues with them and refined them. Worryingly, few recreational divers practice their drills as often as they should. To be fair, why would they want to? They probably didn't enjoy learning the drills and are now a little fuzzy on exactly how to do them. I suspect few of us have practised things we learned in our driving test, emergency stop or three point turn. Yes we do them as they come up but when did you actually get in the car with no other intention than to practice these?
Clubs come into their own at this point, often having regular pool nights and getting involved with training. These allow drills to be practised and re-learnt if necessary. Not all recreational divers are club members, some dive once a year on holiday. Supposedly a scuba review should be completed but I think we all know this rule is not always adhered to in all locations. Added to this accidents happen rarely in convenient locations... The famous golfer Jack Nicholas once said "the more I practice the luckier I get." The same is true of divers, the more they practice the luckier they get. Of course we all know it's not luck... Here's to wise old divers.