+64 27 2782250 pete@Lust4Rust.co Auckland, New Zealand

Intro to Tech

Your First, initial Steps to getting into to Technical Diving

Intro to Tech

Initial Steps – Some thoughts and advice on how to get set up

Technical diving is really growing in the diving market today. What makes Technical diving so attractive for people? What are the diving opportunities for technical divers? What are the pathway options for you to increase your Education? Which Agency is the best one? PADI? TDI? GUE? What are the differences? Open Circuit or Closed Circuit – what is the right path to go? How far is too far to push your limits? How do you learn the balance of Training and Experience? What is a reasonable progression in deep diving? Trimix – Must have or Nice to Have? Charter Operators – what’s their take on Technical divers on their boats – what are their concerns? These are just some of the questions that need to be addressed.

So what draws people into Technical Diving? I, for one, can remember exactly why I got involved in technical diving. It was more through necessity than anything else. Learning to dive in the UK in the early 1990’s, all the wrecks we were diving were in the 30-50m range and right from the get go we were doing these sort of depths. I remember finishing my advanced open water course and the next weekend we were diving in the English Channel on 30-40m wrecks. Bottom times were limited to gas supply and we didn’t have twins or stage tanks (yet). We started off with large capacity 15 litre steel tanks with a 3 litre “Pony” bottle strapped to the side of it. Because of the narrow tide windows we would get into the water, do a 20 minute bottom time and then ascend back up the line and complete the safety or limited deco stop. One of my biggest memories for this period of time, was that we never spoke of gear, nor training, we just focused on researching the wrecks and what awesome wreck we were going to be diving on the weekend. Over the coming years, when Technical diving became more mainstream, we then saw the real benefits of additional gear. We added stage tanks with higher levels of O2 for accelerated decompression  reducing our time getting blown about on the line in the currents (like a granny in a gale force wind!). Advancing our training was needed to handle the increased amounts of gear and emergency procedures to avoid problems while decompression diving.

So what draws people into Technical Diving? There are quite a few reasons. To advance ones personal skill levels for self actualisation and just become better at handling ourselves in the water. To be able to manoeuvre freely and unencumbered is a wonderful feeling which gives you more time to focus on the environment around you.

More equipment! There is nothing quite like getting more dive gear. You can never have enough kit and for those of us who love more gear, this is a great excuse to reduce the levels of space in your garage with it being taken up with numerous “essential life support” pieces of kit (thats the information the partners get!).

Challenge – is a big one too. Diving sites which are more difficult to manage because of depth, currents, location and access.

Nippo Maru, Truk Lagoon

Sense of Adventure. This is probably the main common reason why all people get into Technical diving. We all have that “Boldly go where no man (woman, gender neutral etc etc etc) has gone before” gene in our bodies. It is the sense of adventure that drives most of us. It’s what keeps us excited during the week while we do our mundane jobs and the only thing that keeps us moving forward is knowing what we will be doing on the weekend – Diving!

One of the most important things to do is to find a group of likeminded people who share the same passion for adventure, getting out there and exploring. A group that helps and supports, building  up each others skill and experience levels. Nurturing new  tech divers so that one day they too will be doing the sort of experienced diving being done. This builds a community, a strong community.

Putting a Plan together.

It doesn’t matter where you start in your diving career (the earlier the better), if you have a plan put in place, this will help you achieve your short, mid and longterm goals. It’s not just for technical diving, but for all your diving. The first thing is to build a relationship with a local Dive Professional and Dive store. Figure out how much time you can allocate to your sport – one weekend every 6 weeks, 4 weeks or more frequently than that. It doesn’t matter. Then devise a schedule to fit your diving availability and budget. This schedule must accommodate a balance between learning new skills and building actual hands on experience. This can only be done by getting out there and doing the diving. You need to “feed” your immediate desire (what made you get into diving in the first place).  This will get you excited and enthusiastic. Creating a happy medium of Essential and Personal Interest Skills (talked about in detail below).  If you do too much training in a short period of time it will be difficult to absorb these new core skills effectively. Finding this balance is different for everyone. And, make sure you associate yourself with a dive group, club, association of likeminded divers who share similar goals. The future of your diving depends it! Here at Dive TEC & Lust4Rust Dive Excursions ltd, we pride ourselves on building this community of divers. So it’s not just the training, it’s all about immersing yourself around likeminded people.

What foundational baseline skills do you need to have?

I have broken down training into two main categories. “Essential” and “Personal Interest” Skills. Essential skills mean exactly what they say, things like buoyancy, trim, proper weighting and distribution, finning techniques to manoeuvre properly inwater, navigation techniques and Rescue training. Training agencies have different minimum entry requirements for tech programs, but as a start point you need to be able to have these “Essential” skills. The rescue diver program not only teaches you how to save someone else, but more importantly, its learning about self rescue, preparing yourself mentally, physically and emotionally for more task loaded events and responding appropriately to problems. Also prevention is the key. If you can prevent problems from happening before they actually do, then this is a great start. In technical diving there is a “virtual” ceiling over your head, which means that you can’t ascend to the surface if you encounter any problems underwater. So you have to sort out any problems that occur without needing to surface.

It is the “Personal Interest” skills that are our main drive to dive. It’s what gets us excited about diving. Wreck, Cave, learning about our Ocean environment, Aquatic life, Photography, archaeology, history, research etc.

What Training Agency is the best?

Well, here is a hot contentious subject!! First of all what do training agencies actually do? A training agency (TDI, SSI, RAID, PADI, GUE, etc) is basically a dive education wholesaler. These organisations play a critical role in creating a set of guidelines and standards and offer Instructor training to individuals, training materials for the instructor and reading and reference material and exams for you, the end user. Altogether they create a globally recognised diver certification ( what ever specific level it may be). They form a legal platform of standards of which if we didn’t have these we simply wouldn’t be able to teach anyone (commercially). With that said, ultimately, it is the Instructor teaching you who will impart all the knowledge, field experience and hands on skill level they posses that will not only cover the minimum training requirements but also set you up to independently conduct the task. If it was just a case of reading a book or watching a video and you would magically possess advanced skills to keep you alive, then there would be no need for Instructors! But this is not the case. So it doesn’t matter what agency you get taught by – it’s the person in front of you that matters!

Its all about the Instructor!

Everyone learns differently and at different speeds. We all have hurdles to get over, mountains to climb and overcoming obstacles, be it personal, emotional or physical obstacles. I cannot stress enough how important seeking out the right Instructor is. It’s not JUST about learning motor skills (hovering without your mask, doing in inverted helicopter turn, finning backwards etc) choosing the right mentor for you to learn other things too – Like learning about teamwork, decision making, keeping ones skills updated, knowing when you need to call a dive. These are just some of the valuable, life learning skills you should be learning from your instructor.

How do you know that this instructor has these skills? Maybe looking into their history and seeing exactly what sort of diving they have been up to is a good start. Don’t be afraid to ask what experience they have. They might be a technical instructor on paper (they passed a 3-4 day course, practiced their motor skills and passed an exam) but it’s actual hands on dive experience that they have done, that matters the most. Why would you want to be trained by someone who never gets out diving and exploring for themselves. It’s looking into this background which will soon tell you whether they have had any experience at being a trip leader, team member, planned and executed complex dive expeditions etc. You can learn a lot more off these people, than “Hat and Badge” instructors who “never have time to do their own diving because they are so busy teaching all the time”.

The more correspondence and face to face communication you have with your prospective instructor, you will learn more about them and whether they are the best person to help guide you through your advanced technical diver training. If you find it hard to communicate with them, then how are you going to be able to benefit from their council if they can’t convey themselves in a way you understand?

So, if you have not already created your own plan, then I suggest you find a dive store and dive professional (if you don’t already have one), sit down with them and devise your future diving schedule. If you conducted your training with a dive store and you have never heard from them again since your training, then it might be worth looking for someone who will best fill your diving needs!

Course Structure and Duration


Theory/Practical Subject Areas



Dates & Costs

Dates are on a request basis so contact us so we can talk about what is going to suit you.

$975,00nz (each with two on program) or

$1800.00nz (1 on 1)

Intro to Tech

$975.00 NZ / 3 Days
  • INCLUDED: Training sessions, Cert fees & Materials
  • COST: $975 for 2 in class (or $1900 for individual training)
  • EXCLUDED: Boat fees, Gas & consumables, accom and Gear
© All content copyright Pete Mesley.