DIR For Recreational Divers

By Michael Kane

There have been many discussions about Doing It Right ( DIR ) and despite these exchanges there still exists the misunderstanding that DIR is strictly a standardized gear configuration that applies to only technical diving. While for certain DIR has itís evolution within the technical and cave diving community it has evolved into a much more mainstream acceptance.

DIR is a holistic approach and a philosophy to a dive. The standardized gear configuration tends to generate the majority of attention and debate but there are several other prominent aspects of the DIR philosophy that demand recognition and attention. The founding premise of the DIR philosophy is minimalism and streamlining. If a piece of gear is not directly needed for the dive you donít take it. The balance of the system is such that everything is included, or omitted, for a very well thought out reason. By altering the totality of the system by unnecessary inclusion or by eliminating that which is specifically recommended you will disturb a carefully crafted balance. The benefits of the DIR system are manifest, but the resistance to this philosophy is hard to understand. We often hear that by adhering to a strict interpretation of the DIR philosophy you are somehow infringing on the rights, or personal preferences, of a diver. With thousands of hours in some of the most demanding dives imaginable itís hard to accept the notion of infringing on anyoneís rights. The system speaks for itself; the information is discussed and analyzed repeatedly on all of the various scuba forums. Furthermore, sites such as www.gue.com , www.dirquest.com , and www.wkpp.org provide in depth analysis and candid rationale for every reason behind every aspect of the system. Global Underwater Explorerís ( GUE ) is a further resource to explore respecting this medium of diving. GUE is a training agency that is dedicated to teaching the DIR system.

Beyond the scope of the standardized gear configuration DIR incorporates several NON GEAR related philosophies:

  • 1) No deep air diving;
  • 2) The selection of a proper buddy ( NO SOLO DIVING );
  • 3) Limit your P02ís to 1.4 for the working portion of the dive;
  • 4) Incorporating deep stops into your ascents;
  • 5) Using the proper mix for the planned dive;
  • 6) Keeping your EADís or Endís at 100í max;
  • 7) A unified team concept;
  • 8) Good physical fitness;
  • 9) Increased pre-dive preparation;
  • 10) Minimalism and streamlining
  • And then, of course, the standardized gear configuration. Transcending the DIR Ėv- non DIR debate is the notion that scuba diving is a very equipment intensive sport. For certain, debate rages with respect to which manufacturer provides the safest or most efficient gear. But the configuration, or more accurately, the standardization of this configuration seems to generate the most rabid opposition. DIR believes that diverís configured in like manner and similar equipment are better capable to handle emergencies, whether they occur in zero or low vis situations, overhead environments, open ocean or wherever. Confusion and delayed responses add to an already panicked situation and may lead to increased response time and may result in death.

    In an era that finds agencies requesting less, not more, from there students and market share moving to the forefront itís a breathe of fresh air to see a movement that places safety ahead of market share. A quick examination of the primary tenets of DIR will demonstrate the benefits of a streamlined diver, the resulting decrease in drag, greater efficiency underwater. Added bottom times often follow a diver that converts to the DIR approach.

    The critics of the DIR system often point out that DIR is a collection of ideas invented by others, but then in the same breath denounce the founderís of DIR for exacting demands that are considered overwhelming.
    Jarrod Jablonski and George Irvine, the two diverís recognized as the leaders of the DIR movement have never taken the position that every idea within the DIR system is exclusive to their thought process. In fact, they take just the opposite view. They recognize that there were pioneers prior to them that warrant recognition. JJ and George have however been very successful at looking at the best of the best and then uniting the ideas and then adding there own contributions. The track record of these two diversí also speaks for itself.

    Several of the more prominent components of the system involve in an out-of-air situation that the donor donates the regulator from his mouth to the OOA diver. Each diver within the DIR system will have a back up regulator neck laced under his or her chin. By donating the primary regulator you are guaranteeing that the OOA diver is going to receive a working regulator. You ensure that because you have just been breathing it. The last thing you want to do is give a regulator to a panicked OOA diver that may not be working properly, that may have collected contaminants during the dive or that may not in any way function properly. DIR also recommends that a long hose be attached to the primary regulator. By using a 5í hose for open-ocean diving, or a 7í hose for overhead environments you are ensuring ample room to handle a panicked diver while providing for sufficient air.

    DIR attempts to solve as many problems before they happen, as opposed to paying lip service to potential problems and then hope a diver is practiced or skilled enough to solve the problem. After analyzing substantial accident reports in the scuba industry, DIR found that all too many of these tragedies could have been resolved before the diver even entered the water. This proactive approach is designed to prevent the problem before it happens and views a good diver as not someone who is skilled enough to get himself out of a bad situation, but rather as someone who doesnít get himself into the situation in the first place.

    The above was intended to provide the reader with a very basic overview of the DIR system, please feel free to ask additional questions should you have any concerns.


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