In recent years, technology, as it relates to dive computers, has grown leaps and bounds. From simple single gas, air only computers with fuzzy displays to the current multi-color, crisp, mixed gas computers any anything in between. The current crop of dive computers has the function and form to stand up to any type of dive out there and look good while performing its functions. Of course, the best dive computer will always be a sharp mind and set of dive tables. The electronic variety of dive computer simply speeds up the process, increases your margin of safety, and will usually allow for greater bottom time. Having said that, why can’t we simply “fly our computers” and not have to worry about all of the education and intricacies of dive planning? Ok, you’ve sucked me in…let’s take a look at what can happen.
Dive Computers Can Fail
While technology has become increasingly dependable over the years, there is still the chance for a computer to fail. I mean, when have electronics and moisture ever experienced a “loving relationship”. In my time working as a Divemaster on a dive boat, I have seen multiple instances of dive computers failing. Bottom line, it can happen, and do you really want something as simple as a computer to ruin your dive day or even vacation? Learn how to plan a dive using tables and you can still enjoy the underwater world!
Have you ever wondered why smartphone repair is such a bustling line of business? Probably not, because with so many people owning and using smartphones, it’s a no brainer that some will be dropped and screens busted. How does this apply to dive computers? Well, I’m sure that if dive computers were as widely used as smartphones then you’d see a dive computer repair shop on every corner. Think about it, dive computers are used and abused. From being crushed under falling tanks, to taking a nice smack against a reef, and even living in the bottom of a dive bag, they go through their paces. All of this increases the chance of physical damage to your computer. Dive tables? Well they can crack(if you have the hard plastic type), but are only a few bucks and easy to keep in a dive bag.
Wait? I Thought It Was Here?
We all are divers and know how much gear goes into a successful dive trip. I know, personally, I have realized that my dive computer is still on my desk just as the plane is climbing after take off. It happens, and unless you’re on your own personal jet, the plane isn’t turning around. Can you rent a computer? Well, yeah. However, by knowing how to plan a dive using tables, forgetting your computer becomes more of an inconvenience as opposed to a “trip killer”.
What is the common thread among these three examples? Simply put, if you understand how to plan a dive using tables, and practice regularly, you will be able to continue your dive even if something happens to your computer. Like I stated at the beginning of this blog post, dive computers are great but they’re no substitute for a sharp mind and a set of dive tables. In conclusion, enjoy diving with your computer but don’t forget to keep a set of dive tables in your gear bag.