ANDI Sidemount Courses
Sidemount courses have really caught on here in Asia lately and is proving to be some of the more popular training in demand. Originally sidemount diving started out just being used by cave divers wanting to push farther into the cave system. Getting through the smaller restrictions could only be done using sidemount tanks to get through the small holes.
These days divers had found many more advantages to sidemount diving then just in the caves. Sidemount diving is now being used by your average recreational diver to your full blown hard core tec divers.
Advantages of sidemount
Easier to reach tank valves (compared if diving with twin isolation manifold system) Do not have to stand up with heavy tanks on the boat before entering the water. Sidemount tanks can be put on once you are in the water. Much easier for older divers and divers that has back problems. First stages are more protected and less chance of the isolation manifold valves to roll shut. These are only just a few of the advantages that sidemount diving will offer you. Some dive locations do not have Isolation manifolds and only single cylinders.
Disadvantages of using Sidemount
When you have advantages there are also disadvantages that go along. As far as disadvantages there is the additional training that is required. Depending on the type of boat you use it could be a bit more difficult getting in and out of the water which is one of the advantages also. More task loading. When diving with Sidemount you need to keep the tank pressure balanced between the tanks which help keep proper trim and buoyancy. As tank pressure reduces the tanks have a tendency to float so you need to adjust the position of your tanks. Just like everything else they are easy habits and skills that can be easily learned after a couple of dives. Everybody is different in their own way. I saw the advantages far out way the disadvantages of sidemount.
Sidemount Equipment Available
In the beginning sidemount divers used to just modify their normal bcd so that they could carry their tanks on the side.
Today there are numerous styles and manufacturers that sell sidemount harnesses such as OMS, Dive Rite, Hollis, Oxycheq, Armadillo, and Razor.
There are many styles of equipment that you can choose from that will fit your diving style and needs.
Sidemount Training Available
Most agencies offer sidemount course these days. With ANDI we have two levels of sidemount training course. There is the Basic Sidemount and the Advanced Sidemount.
Instead of having a sidemount cave, sidemount wreck and sidemount whatever a basic sidemount course would be taught that has the skills needed for wreck and cave dives.
The Basic Sidemount course is a two day course with a total of 4 training dives and a pool session also if needed. The instructor will also spend some time with the student going over the different sidemount configurations that you will see out at the dives sides and the configuration you will be using during the course.
The Advanced Sidemount course is a three day course with a total of 6 training dives. The student needs to have already been trained with the sidemount course and either the technical wreck or full cave course. This is one of the most advanced levels of training available on the market today. Classes include training dives covering; passage through restrictions and confined areas and, multi-stage penetration dives.
Contact me for more information about course content and availability.