Scuba Jobs: What It’s Like to Work on a Liveaboard

Scuba Jobs: What It’s Like to Work on a Liveaboard

Liveboard Diving

Liveboard Diving

Below is an interview with Marco Villegas – a PADI Instructor who’s made a career out of working on different liveaboard boats around the world. We asked Marco to share his experience and advice, and he was kind enough to do so in English and Español.

What inspired you to become a diver? ¿Que te inspiro a convertirte en buzo?
Since I was a kid my parents encouraged me to practice water sports and one day I decided I wanted to know how everything looks below the water that I enjoyed so much for so many years.

Desde que era niño, mis padres nos alentaban a practicar deportes acuáticos y un día decidí que quería saber como era todo bajo el agua y fue así como empezó mi pasión por el buceo.

Why did you decide to become an instructor? ¿Que te inspiro a convertirte en buzo?
After two years of working as a PADI Divemaster I realized that becoming an instructor allowed me to get people involved in the marine world and teach them not only diving but awareness of the marine world. The job opportunities also are better for an instructor; so for me it was a win-win situation. However I wasn’t completely sure about my skills, so I decided to wait another 2 years and gain experience.

Después de 2 años de trabajar como divemaster, me di cuenta que al obtener la certificación de instructor tendría la oportunidad de enseñar a las personas lo magnífico que es el mundo marino y al mismo tiempo, crear conciencia de lo frágil que es. Las oportunidades de trabajo que se presentan son mejores para un instructor, entonces para mi era la situación perfecta, no estaba completamente seguro de mis habilidades así que decidí esperar dos años más para adquirir experiencia adicional.

Did you start off working on liveaboards? ¿Empezaste trabajando como guía en liveaboards?
I started to work on a dive shop doing day trips. I did that for about two years when I got my first liveaboard opportunity. After that very first time I truly loved the idea of a job on liveaboards.


Kathy Dowsett

Bee’s Wrap..Sustainable Food Wrap

Bee’s Wrap..Sustainable Food Wrap..NEW and available from kirkscubagear!

kirkscubagear in our plight to eliminate the use of plastic which ends up in waterways and kills marine life, is introducing “BEE’S WRAP”.

What is Bee’s Wrap?

Bee's Wrap---available @ kirkscubagear in Canada

Bee’s Wrap—available @ kirkscubagear in Canada

Bee’s Wrap is made of organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. This combination of ingredients creates a malleable food wrap that can be used again and again. Simply mold the Bee’s Wrap to the top of your dish by using the warmth and pressure of your hands to create a seal. When the Bee’s Wrap cools (within seconds) it holds its seal. Use the same method to wrap cheese, vegetables, bread, and baked goods. It is not recommended for meat.

Read more from the link below, see the reviews and watch the video::

Bee's Wrap..Sustainable Food Wrap.

Kathy Dowsett

From Cold Water Diving Accessories Coffee Mug and T-Shirts

From Cold Water Diving Accessories

Cold Water Diver T-Shirt

Cold Water Diver T-Shirt

kirkscubagear, in association with “Cold Water Diver” is please to offer these two “must have” items for cold water divers. Gets your today!

From Cold Water Diving Accessories Coffee Mug and T-Shirts.

Kathy Dowsett

Why You Should Never Drink From Plastic Bottles – Healthy Food Star

Bottled Water? No!

Bottled Water? No!

Drinking water from plastic bottles is more a habit than necessity. Did you know that by frequently drinking water from a plastic bottle you do a bad service? It is the chemical composition of the plastic. The bottom of each bottle has a triangle with a number in the middle. This number tells us how dangerous plastic is.

See more at: You Should Never Drink From Plastic Bottles – Healthy Food Star.

Kathy Dowsett

Divers Alert Network, Steel Tank Causes Diver to Become Inverted While Descending

Unused to the heavy tank, a diver gets inverted during descent.


This diver is an experienced diver who knows he has a higher than normal air consumption rate. He is aware this may be inconvenient for other divers in the group who have the air supply to dive longer, but must cut their dive short when diving with him. His instructor advised the diver that if he could dive with a steel tank he could carry more air for his dives, but it would reduce the amount of weight needed to stay negatively buoyant. The instructor explained the larger steel tank was negatively buoyant and therefore has a tendency to flip an unaware diver upside down. The diver was instructed on how to handle the steel tank underwater and was advised to remove 2kg (approximately 4lbs) from his 5kg (approximately 11lbs) weight belt.

Divers Alert Network, Steel Tank Causes Diver to Become Inverted While Descending.

Kathy Dowsett

ZEOS and HYDROS wings recall

Reprinted in part from X-Ray magazine

ZEOS and HYDROS wings recall

ZEOS and HYDROS wings recall

A recent recall has been updated and now only applies to the ZEOS 28 Single Wing. All ZEOS 28 Wings are now being recalled.

Please read the information below carefully. If you have one or more ZEOS 28 wings, you should immediately stop using it due to a drowning hazard and follow the procedure below to obtain a brand new replacement ZEOS 28 wing.

Please read the information below carefully. If you have one or more ZEOS 28 wings, you should immediately stop using it due to a drowning hazard and follow the procedure below to obtain a brand new replacement ZEOS 28 wing.

A few days ago we announced the recall of ZEOS and HYDROS wings from specific series manufactured since January 2013. The reason was some material issues that led to delamination of the base fabric and coating in the internal bladder. The result of this was that the welds on some areas had separated leading to loss of gas from the bladder. All of the materials are quality inspected before manufacturing but it took some active use before this issue showed itself.

During further investigation of the manufacturing documentation, we have found, that only ZEOS 28 wings may be affected as this part of fabric was used only to manufacture this specific model. As we are Tec divers ourselves and therefore take every safety-related issue extremely serious and we want to be sure that all of the XDEEP wings that are in use meet our very high quality and safety standards.

The Zeos 38, Hydros 40 and Hydros 50 are no longer subject to the recall and can continue to be used.

The safety of our customers is the most important thing for us. We also really want to minimise the inconvenience to our customers as much as possible. We have therefore decided that we will completely replace all ZEOS 28 wings for brand new ones, even though it is only one part which may be affected. We sincerely hope that this option to own a brand new wing will compensate for the trouble.

Why did we decide to make a recall and replace the ZEOS 28 wings?


Kathy Dowsett

Cock-ups Officially the Funniest Part of Scuba Diving

The Scuba Monkey

Groundbreaking research at The Scuba Monkey’s top-secret labs (off the A3 near Horsham) has discovered that watching someone make a complete pig’s ear of a buddy check or giant stride entry is scientifically proven to be the funniest thing in scuba diving.

This new research overturns previous thoughts on the subject undertaken during the 1990’s that had indicated that seeing someone end up with a bird’s nest of line at 5m when trying to deploy an SMB and bobbing up and down like a yo-yo was the incident most likely to cause someone to laugh into their mouthpiece.

The Scuba Monkey’s research team spoke with leading industry figures who confirmed the findings:

Joseph McHelmut, an experienced Red Sea Instructor said “I watched Mike, our cocky young Divemaster, get all the way into the water before reminding him that he needed a weight belt”. Barely able to control a grin, even…

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Overcome the Fear of Having Water in Your Scuba Mask

Dive Skills

Dive Skills

I wasn’t always calm and controlled underwater. I still remember my initial reaction to the mask flooding skill in the open water course: terror. “Why would I ever put water into my mask on purpose?” I asked my scuba instructor. It sounded crazy. My instructor explained that there was significant value in this skill. Water leaking into a scuba mask is a common occurrence. A diver must become comfortable with water in his mask so that he will maintain control and avoid panic. Situations exist in which a diver may even choose to allow a small amount of water to enter his mask during a dive. For example, swishing a small amount of water around the interior of the mask removes fog from the lenses during a dive. Here are tips on how to overcome the fear of water in the scuba mask.

Fear Management Step 1: Practice Breathing Without a Mask on the Surface:

If the thought of water in the mask scares you silly, your are not alone. The first step in overcoming your fear is to prove to yourself that you can breathe without a mask at all. This step develops confidence that you won’t die underwater without a mask on, and that it is possible to breathe with water surrounding your nose.

Stand, kneel, or sit in shallow water. While breathing from a scuba regulator or a snorkel, but without using a mask, lower your face into the water. Practice breathing slowly and calmly. Inhale and exhale with your mouth. If you feel water entering your nose, breathe in your mouth and out your nose.

Breathing in this manner may feel uncomfortable at first, but stick with it. Remember that you are in control, and that you can lift your face out of the water whenever you like. Practice this skill until breathing though a regulator or snorkel with your face submerged feels routine.

Hint: This skill can even be done with a snorkel in a bathtub at home. With no people watching, there is less pressure from instructors and other students.

Fear Management Step 2: Do “Dry” Runs:

After proving to yourself that you won’t immediately drown when breathing with your nose in the water, you need to develop confidence in your mask clearing skills. Having water in your mask is less scary when you are sure that you can quickly and efficiently remove it.

Underwater (under the supervision of an instructor, if this is your first time) practice the breath control required for mask clearing. Hold the upper frame of the mask against your forehead, look up, and breathe out your nose with a long, slow exhalation. Air should bubble out from the lower portion of the mask. Have an instructor or buddy observe your practice and provide feedback. Practice inhaling with your mouth and breathing out your nose until the breathing pattern is second nature.

Fear Management Step 3: Baby Steps:

When training yourself to become comfortable with water in your mask, put only a small amount of water into the mask at first. Pinch the top seal of the mask gently between two fingers and allow a few drops of water to trickle in. Do not fill the mask to eye-level on your first try. Practice emptying the mask of this tiny amount of water. As you become comfortable, fill the mask more and more until you can comfortably clear a fully flooded mask. Only after becoming confident clearing a fully flooded mask should you practice removing the mask and replacing it underwater.

Fear Management Step 4: Practice Repetitively in Calm, Shallow Water:

Before hitting the ocean (or even the deep end of the pool) practice allowing water into your mask and blowing it out until you are bored with the skill. Practice clearing the mask of water in different positions: swimming, hovering, laying on the floor, etc. The point is to make this simple skill routine, and to gain muscle memory. Once you can preform the skill mindlessly you will no longer panic when water enters your mask. Your immediate reaction to water in your mask will be to calmly and efficiently blow the water out. However, multiple repetitions are required to reach this level of proficiency.

Fear Management Step 5: Put Water in Your Mask on Every Dive — On Purpose!:

The key to mastering scuba diving skills is repetition and practice. A proficient diver can execute diving skills automatically without fear or hesitation. Of course, many diving skills require a series of steps which must be practiced deliberately at first, but with repeated practice, even a complicated skill becomes automatic.

With this in mind, consider that your work is not done once you have become comfortable with water in your mask. Even if you have overcome your fear, you must periodically reinforce your confidence by allowing water into your mask and clearing it. A diver who is nervous about water in his mask should purposefully flood his mask on every dive. Not only does he reinforce the skill (See, I can still do it!) but repetition over a long period of time will strengthen his muscle memory and ensure that he reacts properly in an unexpected situation.

Fear Management Step 6: Mind Games:

I finally became very comfortable with water in my mask during my Divemaster course, during which I was asked to demonstrate mask removal and clearing and make it look easy and fun. I learned an interesting mind trick – when I had the mindset of demonstrating (or showing off) I lost any residual fear of water in my mask and instead focused my energy on how to look professional. How slowly could I clear my mask? How controlled? Could I maintain buoyancy and trim (body position) while demonstrating? By taking the focus off of “Aughhh, there is water in my mask!” and instead focusing on making the skill look good, the fear of water in the mask was replaced by fear of looking like an idiot. I sometimes recommend this mind trick to students. I ask them to imagine they are demonstrating the skill for a diver who is even more afraid of water in the mask than they are, and try to make it look like no big deal. It doesn’t work for everyone, but this mind trick worked for me!

The Final Word on Getting Over the Fear of Water in the Mask:

As in most scary situations in life, the best way to overcome the fear of water in your mask is to face the situation, not ignore it. A person who is scared of water entering his mask is unlikely to react properly in the event that his mask floods during a dive. He may bolt for the surface or panic underwater, either of which is unsafe. Work your way up to putting water in your mask by proving to yourself that you can breathe safely on the surface with no mask, and that you can breathe out your nose to clear a mask properly. Then, begin with small amounts of water and practice repetitively until you are bored before adding more water to the mask. Work at your own pace and do not push yourself into a panic situation. Take it easy – with time and patience you can overcome this fear. Once you become confident clearing the mask, practice mask flooding or mask removal with a buddy on every dive to keep the skill (and your confidence) fresh.

Thanks to Natalie Gibb @ About sports

Kathy Dowsett

Digging for Opportunities

Small Scales

by Sadie Beaton

“You gotta be awful stubborn to make a living,” Terry Wilkins says of clamming.

57 years old now, Terry has been digging clams in the tidal flats of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Basin since he was eleven years old.  He’s seen many tides of change in his industry, clamming his way through major environmental, economic and social shifts.

There have been hard times, sure. But with innovative opportunities growing in experiential tourism– and a new collaborative management plan that puts clammers in the driver’s seat –the tide seems to be turning for this important small-scale fishery.

Clamming in Saint Ann's Basin Clamming in Annapolis Basin

Clamming is as small-scale as it gets. Terry’s gear consists of a wheelbarrow, a pair of good rubber boots and a bent spading fork known as a “hack.” This fishery has changed very little over time- the Mi ‘Kmaq showed hungry European settlers how to dig…

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Scuba Diving Equipment – What To Look For When Buying Used Scuba Tanks

Dive Tanks available @ kirkscubagear

Dive Tanks available @ kirkscubagear

The time eventually comes when every serious diver decides to get their own tanks. Tanks are usually the last item on the list for a diver to purchase. They are expensive to buy new and used ones can have their own problems (more on that shortly).

It’s hard to beat having a couple tanks out in your garage, ready to go when a dive opportunity presents itself. This is especially the case if you do not live near a dive shop and most of the diving you do is remote.

The number one reason to have your own tanks is convenience. It’s nice not having to reserve rentals, pick them up and then get them back to the shop after the dive. You can refill your tanks when its convenient.

If you are looking for a deal, used is the way to go. That being said, there are some pitfalls you will need to avoid when buying pre-owned tanks. The best bet is to get your used tanks from a dive shop. For the deals, check craigslist or a local dive board.

The key to a successful buy is that the tanks have a current hydro and visual inspection. If you are buying from a shop, this should be included. If you are buying from an individual, you need to confirm that these are current. One tip for scoring a great deal is to start looking for used tanks around December. I have found some amazing deals in the dead of winter. I wonder why?

A visual inspection and hydro will cost you as much as $50 per tank. This expense alone may bring the total price up to what you would pay for a new tank. You may also need to replace the valve. Ensure the visual sticker is present and that there is a hydro stamp on the tank.

Some “older” tanks aluminum are considered suspect and your local shop may not fill them. A number of tanks manufactured in 1990 and earlier have been known to rupture (explode). Be sure to consult with your local shop before purchasing.

Steel or Aluminum? My preference is steel. Steel is durable and if properly cared for can last for decades. They are also more neutral during the course of a dive. There are not as many concerns with older steel tanks as there are with aluminum. For whatever reason there are deals to be had on used steel tanks.

Unlike aluminum, steel tanks are prone to rust and may need to be tumbled or brushed if there is any corrosion present. You may need to have this done annually. Aluminum is hard to beat from a maintenance perspective. It does oxidize but it’s not as big a deal as rust.

What about new tanks? New 80 CF tanks run about $250 with a valve, minus the inspection. Steel tanks will cost about $350. Get them at a shop and they will (most likely) include the inspection and a fill.

Whatever you decide, owning your tanks can take your diving to a new level.

Article Source:

Kathy Dowsett