The definition of technical diving can and does vary between different diving organisations, however technical diving is commonly understood as any type of diving that allows a diver to safely exceed recreational diving limits by using more advanced equipment and procedures.
The concept of technical diving is a new one and exposes the diver to significantly higher risks than recreational diving, including permanent illness and death. Therefore technical diving needs extensive experience, advanced training and specialised equipment.
There are certain differences between technical and recreational diving, as follows:
- Decompression Diving: Recreational: No decompression needed. Technical: Decompression needed.
- Deep Diving: Recreational: Maximum depth of 40m (130 feet) allowed. Technical: Able to dive beyond 40m.
- Wreck Diving: Recreational: Penetration limited to 30m (100 feet). Technical: Deeper penetration allowed.
- Cave Diving: Recreational: Penetration limited to 30m (100 feet). Technical: Deeper penetration allowed.
- Gas Switching: Recreational: Single gas used only. Technical: May switch between gases to accelerate decompression and allow deeper dives without fear of Oxygen toxicity and Nitrogen Narcosis.
- Mixed Gas Breathing: Recreational: Air and Nitrox. Technical: Trimix, Heliox, Heliair and Hydrox. (Nitrox used to count as Technical diving but now does not)
- Ice Diving: Some diving companies believe Ice Diving is recreational (PADI) but others view it as Technical (NAUI).
- Rebreathers: Some diving companies view semi-closed Rebreathers is recreational (PADI) but others believe it is Technical (NAUI).
The last two in the list depends who you dive with, you should do your homework beforehand to find out more about these courses, if you have a specific dive centre or company in mind they will have more information to offer you about their courses.
Technical diving needs specialised equipment and training. There are many technical training organisations to choose from when selecting a course, for example there is Technical Diving Internatinal (TDI), National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), Technical Diving Program.
Perhaps I am a little biased but Technical Diving International is maybe your best option when selecting a Technical Diving course. TDI is the largest technical certification agency in the world, they were also the first company to offer courses based on mixed gases and rebreathers. Divers who have trained with TDI have had the possibility of visiting wrecks such as the Andria Doria, Lusitania and the Prince of Wales, they’ve been able to explore caves in Mexico and Spain and have assisted as support divers on world record freedives done in the Red Sea.
You should do your research carefully when choosing what course you’ll do and where, obviously the best place to do a cave diver course is Mexico and Ice diving you need to find a country with ice, but be cautious when deciding which dive center to dive with, sometimes the lowest price or largest center doesn’t always mean the safest and best instructors, take care my fellow divers, they may not mean harm but diving fatalities do happen. And if you are planning on going out and completing a technical diving course or two…. Have fun! 🙂