Hunting New England Shipwrecks
Chip Kelly (at right) prepares for a deep dive on a New England wreck. Chip is an experienced tech diver. Over the past few years, the popularity of technical diving has grown dramatically. Tech diving is a step beyond normal scuba and allows specially-trained individuals to go deeper and/or stay down longer than standard scuba techniques allow. It involves the use of mixed gases and a variety of specialized gear and techniques. Technical diving is primarily practiced by cave divers and serious wreck divers.
Scuba instruction agencies define technical diving as any one or combination of the following practices:
• Diving deeper that 130 feet (on air or mixed gases) and/or
• Mixed-gas diving (Nitrox, tri-mix, etc.) and/or
• Decompression diving
Technical diving requires specialized training and certification. This training is is offered by selected regional dive shops and scuba instruction schools.
The jargon of tech divers is filled with terms like Nitrox, tri-mix, rebreathers, dive computers, decom tables, physiology, redundant systems, guidelines... and safety. And before anyone becomes a skilled tech diver, they have to learn about all these things in great detail.
Tech diving is not for everyone. Because of the depths and complexities inolved, it is a higher-risk activity than normal scuba diving. In order to become a competent and safe tech diver, you have to have the right stuff. Technical diving requires a combination of specialized training and equipment, a serious commitment to the activity, an understanding of the risks involved, and excellent physical and emotional health. Attempting to do technical diving without proper training and equipment may result in serious injury or death.
Because our editors are not qualified technical divers, we will not provide any original information on tech diving on this site. For anyone interested in learning more about the subject, however, we have included several Tech Diving links below.
Tech Diving Links
• Scuba Diving Explained
Physiological aspects of diving
• NOAA's Technical Diving Page
The basics of tech diving
• Nitrox FAQs
From IANTD's Website
• The Rebreather Site
The art and science of rebreathers
• IANTD Training
Tech diving course descriptions
• DAN - Divers Alert Network
Diving safety organization
• Halifax Wreck Diving
Greg Mossfeldt's Videos
• Diving the Empress of Ireland
A tech dive report
• Hitler's Lost Sub
Diving the U-869
• Andrea Doria
• Under Pressure
Article on the extremes of tech diving
• Boston Deep Wrecks
Boston area wrecks
• Northern Atlantic Dive Expeditions
Boston area wrecks
In his excellent book The Last Dive, diver/author Bernie Chowdhury tells the story of the development of technical diving and describes how, in their lust for adventure, some divers have taken tech diving to fatal and near-fatal extremes of depth and endurance. If you're interested in technical diving, you need to read this book.
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