Unified Team Diving

Essentials of Overhead Diving

Introduction

The Essentials of Overhead Diving course is designed to cultivate the essential techniques required by all sound overhead and wreck/cave diving practice. It functions as an entry point for all previously certified divers and as stepping stone for all other UTD overhead based classes such as overhead protocols, cave and wreck penetration classes. Essentials of Overhead acts as a bridge between conventional training and UTD’s more demanding overhead curriculum. 

Like all the UTD Essentials classes, Essentials of Overhead Diving is a personal skills class. In other words, while the student is introduced to personal and team skills, emergency skills are presented in a training situation, as opposed to a surprise, critical skills situation.







The equipment required for Essentials of Overhead is centered on the UTD/DIR/hogarthian configuration, which includes a backplate and wing in lieu of a traditional BC, and a long hose for the primary regulator and short, necklaced hose for the backup. The class must be completed in double tanks.


UTD’s Essentials of Overhead class continues the students’ path as a “Thinking Diver” and brings an increased awareness of the underwater environment. While preparing the diver for more advanced, overhead dive training, the Essentials of Overhead student will also develop excellent diving skills for use in recreational diving situations.
 

Prerequisites
  • Minimum 18 years of age
  • UTD Rec 2 or equivalent
  • Minimum of 50 dives beyond open water certification. 25 of which must be non-training dives

Course limits
  • Maximum depth is 60’/18m
  • Standard gas is Nitrox 32
  • No stage decompression

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Who this class is designed for?

Many divers find all the adventure they need in recreational dives to 100' or less. But some feel that maybe they are missing some skills that technical and cave divers have such as "horizontal decompression stops." Does the idea of penetrating a wreck, with only your lights and a guideline to lead you give you good goose bumps? Do you think you'll never be happy unless you're delving into a cave in Mexico? Overhead diving is about having fun, just like any other pastime. But, like anything worth doing, it requires perseverance and hard work. This class is designed for the diver eager to learn some basic overhead diving skills which can help improve their recreational diving ability or want to begin building a strong foundation to start pursuing the challenge of cave and wreck diving.

Why Take this Class?

Maybe you want to learn something new (like the UTD configuration) or you want to improve your safety by learning to do horizontal air sharing drills. Regardless of your motivation, in this class you will be introduced to the overhead technical diver's toolbox. You will learn to hover motionless, move forward and backward, turn around without disturbing the bottom. You will learn to air share gas with your teammate in a reasonable and efficient manner. You will learn to ascend, making appropriate stops, and you'll learn to handle a primary reel, spool, and lay and retrieve guideline. In the classroom, overhead divers need to know which gas to choose and why, how to plan a dive (including Decompression techniques), from the back of the truck to a bench near a cave entrance, and how to ensure that everyone has a great time and gets home safely. Essentials of Overhead isn't about showcasing the latest equipment, or rushing you into the next class. It's about working to develop skills that will improve your dive, and thus propel into a world of exploration. If this sounds a bit more than you had envisioned, or you are unsure about your preparation, please feel free to contact us, or see our Essentials of Recreational Diving class.

Class Information

The Essentials of Overhead class is designed to be taught over a three (3) full day period, with 8 hours of class and 4 open water dives.

Day 1. Typically the class begins with a 3 - 4 hour initial session consisting of introductions, a power point presentation including video tape of the skills to be evaluated throughout the class. Following a break for lunch and then a 3-4 hour of hands-on equipment fitting, review of gear configuration and a discussion of the pro’s and con’s of various equipment choices. Once the gear in properly fitted and configured the class then focuses on the “dry runs” of the skills and some practice before entering the water. Dry runs allow the student to practice the skills on land, before entering the water, under the watchful eye of the instructor(s). Skills include evaluation of divers trim, proficiency and precision buoyancy control, perfecting propulsion techniques (including learning how to kick backwards), fine-tuning equipment configurations, refining underwater communication, utilizing a team diving approach, and effective dive planning

Day 2. Begins with students conducting two dives, putting the skills and concepts discussed the previous day into practical use while the instructor demonstrates and the videographer captures the in-water session for review and evaluation after lunch. We conclude the day with a 1-2 hour video review where the performance is analyzed, with long discussions on how to improve. Finally, 2-3 hours of lecture brings the day to a close.

Day 3. The third day is similar to the previous day wherein the student will commence with conducting the additional skills and improving on the prior days performance, during two more dives which will again be video taped for subsequent review. The last dive of the class is an evaluation dive, where their performance will be analyzed and evaluated. After lunch the class will conclude with video review, final will lecture session and student performance review and final evaluations.

All UTD classes are videotaped for educational review, as we believe this is invaluable for students to visually focus on their individual in-water skills, situational awareness, communication, and team diving. Learning to self evaluate is an important aspect of any class, and video is one of the most important tools we have for instruction. You will be evaluated during the class to obtain the UTD "Essentials of Overhead" Certification. This Certification will allow you to continue within the UTD Overhead Training curriculum. Our focus is the complete dedication to your diving skills, knowledge, and in water practice.

Requirements

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Completed UTD registration process
  • UTD Recreational level 1 or equivalent (Advanced certifications)
  • All UTD Classes are Non Smoking
  • All participants must be able to swim at least 300 yards in 14 min or swim at least 600 yards in 18 minutes with mask & fins.
  • All participants must be able to swim a distance of at least 50' (12m) on a breath hold or demonstrate an air share swim where the ooa diver swims at least 50' (15m) to the donating diver
  • All participants must tow a diver in full equipment, in the environment they will be diving in at least 400 yards in 16 minutes
  • All participants must demonstrate the rescue of a diver simulating oxygen toxicity.
  • The use of prescription drugs must be authorized prior to the onset of diver training by a physician

Getting Started

o Check the Schedule of classes in your area
o Register Online
o Complete the online academic class for Essentials of Technical Diver
o Get a copy and review the "Essentials of Technical Diving DVD"

Guidelines

  • All dives are to maintain a working PO2 of no greater than 1.4
  • Double tank configuration is required
  • Average depth during class of 20ft (6m) - 30ft (9m).
  • Primary reel and spool needed
  • Air or Nitrox may be used for dives, depends on diver certification level.
  • Instructor to student ratio maximum 6:1 in open water, adjusting downward for environmental conditions.

Equipment Specifications

UTD equipment configuration is designed to be simple, efficient, and consistent. To get the most from your class it is required that you take the course in a complete UTD style system. To better assist you in preparing for class, we have listed below the "required" equipment lists for the class.

Required Equipment:

UTD Technical Equipment Configuration:
o Backplate BC System SS or Aluminum Back plate w/ one piece web harness and hardware
o Back inflate style wing.
o At least one depth-measuring device
o At least one time-keeping device
o Fins: non-split variety
o At least one cutting device
o X-notes or Wetnotes
o One spool with 100 feet of line
o One primary reel with at least 400'/120m of line
o One spool with at least 75'/25m of line
o Exposure suit appropriate for the environment
o Cylinders Double tank configuration (1 per day of diving)
o Regulators and UTD Hose Configuration 5 or 7 ft. Primary Regulator Hose
o 22 or 24" Necklace Regulator Hose
o 24 or 26" SPG hose

Suggested Accessories (optional):

o BC mounted canister dive light w/ Goodman handle or long hose catch such as a knife pouch.

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