Sunday, March 4, 2012

CCR Trimix Training

Occasionally, I will repost a post I have made on one of the technical diving forums.  In this case, this is from Rebreather World.   The thread was a discussion about different training standards and methodologies.  One of the participants in the thread made the comment:
"On top of that I do feel that if you are OC trimix trained, it seems rather ridiculous to be paying another $2000 or more (by the time you add up instructor fees, boat trips gas etc) to be able to use trimix with your unit. Seems like a good cash cow for the training agencies."
Here is my response to his post:  

I just thought I would jump in here and offer a little insight as someone who sits on the training advisory panel of a major training agency. Offering a CCR Trimix cert is certainly not a "cash cow" for a training agency! Quite the contrary. At $15 per certification fee, it is without a doubt a money loosing proposition for any agency!

The low numbers of these types of certs offered worldwide combined with the cost of development of the training materials, curriculum development, liability insurance, legal expenses to defend themselves from divers that cack themselves, marketing, etc. etc. all create an environment where a CCR Trimix course for a training agency is most definitely not a profit center.

I don't mean to imply that training agencies are altruistic non-profit charities, however the upper level CCR courses are certainly not where they make their money! Believe it or not, it is not even a profit center for those of us that teach these kind of courses! It's much easier to make money cranking out OW divers dressed in pink split fins and snorkels! We teach advanced level CCR courses because we personally enjoy this type of diving, enjoy seeing other people learn how to do these types of dives safely, and enjoy the challenge of pushing the boundaries of technical/recreational diving.

As to whether a CCR Trimix course is necessary for an OC Trimix training student - this age old argument will continue to rage on for the next several decades, or at least until helium prices make OC Trimix diving obsolete! My thoughts as an Instructor Trainer on both sides of the equation, is that "you don't know what you don't know". I don't believe I have ever had a CCR Trimix student that finished one of my upper level CCR courses that felt as though it was a waste of time. These courses are about a lot more than just the theoretical physics behind CCR Trimix. In addition to learning and practicing the "whys and how to nuts and bolts" of CCR Trimix, the student has the opportunity to be mentored and tutored by hopefully an experienced instructor in a safer environment than just "figuring it out on your own". You also hopefully establish a life long relationship with someone that you can return to with ongoing questions and mentoring. When you reach upper levels of CCR diving, it becomes quite lonely trying to find educated fellow divers to be able to have meaningful discussions about diving theory, practice and equipment! Of course, I guess you can always depend on RBW or other forums for this type of education! 

If a CCR Trimix student comes away from the class having learned just one or two more helpful hints in keeping themselves alive in what is most certainly an extreme environment, the $2000 is most certainly well spent IMHO. I think the secret is to ensure that the student picks an instructor that is able to offer them a professional and enlightening ongoing experience!

OK, now removing myself from my portable soap box!

Safe diving to everyone, however you are trained!

Warm regards,
Randy

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