Recent advances in diving exploration and dive technology have opened up new and exciting realms of underwater exploration that were once only open to the most hardcore of explorers. For a number of years, sport diving was clearly divided into recreational and technical. Recently, that line has become blurred with terms like techreational being thrown around.
So what is techreational? For the longest time, I had a tough time defining this term to students at our local dive shop where we offer those who want to learn to dive our in-person dive classes and scuba certifications. Only recently, I’ve come up with a suitable explanation I like to refer to as the “three R’s” and no I’m not talking reading ‘ritin, and ‘rithmetic! These three R’s are Rig, Redundancy, and Range. So, let’s break these three terms down.
What is Rig for Technical Diving?
First, let’s talk about rig. This term refers to equipment, the techreational diver must dive with mission and planning in mind. To go beyond the simple strap on a tank of air and dive, the diver must have equipment that can be adjusted to the individual dive. The first concept here is modularity. The rig must possess the ability to employ varying lift devices and capacities, weighting setups, and equipment carrying ability.
In addition, the dive rig must be of a robust construction to endure added cylinder weight, and conditions. Most often, a harness and wing like the Dive Rite Transpac Package or the DRIS Dive Gear BP/W would be the preferred option over a jacket BCD for backmounted cylinders, or a dedicated sidemount rig if diving that configuration.
Redundancy and Scuba Diving
Next, let’s discuss redundancy. Techreational typically goes just beyond the range or the shallow recreational diver where a simple CESA is not a viable emergency option. With this in mind, the techreational diver must consider breathing gas reserves like a second cylinder, pony bottle, H-Valve, or double cylinders with manifold.
In addition, redundant buoyancy must be considered when multiple cylinders are employed on a dive. This is simply because the techreational diver is carrying their ballast in added cylinders and equipment where ditchable weight doesn’t come into play. Most often redundant buoyancy comes in the form of a dual-bladdered wing, drysuit, or deployable lift bag. For those divers who are venturing into caves, wrecks or other overhead environments where lights must be used a backup solution must be considered in the event of primary light failure.
Techreational Diving and Range
Finally, let’s toss around the idea of range. Simply put the techreational diver will often be going deeper, longer, or further than the basic recreational dive. With range, simple decompression obligations and overhead environments will become a dive planning consideration. With this in mind, the safe techreational diver must have a solid understanding of dive planning and emergency procedures.
While the techreational diver doesn’t go to the places and depths that the experienced technical diver goes to, they do adventure into dives that require more planning and considerations than the simple shallow reef dive. If you have any questions about expanding your diving into the techreational realm, the team at DRIS has the dive gear and training you need!