Technical Diving – the low down
In short, Technical Diving is the use of specialized training and equipment to achieve your personal diving goals beyond recreational limits. As a recreational diver you are familiar with standard SCUBA kit using 80 cubic foot tanks, regulators, BCD etc.
As you might imagine, as a technical diver you might use several types of gear both familiar and unfamiliar. Tec diving can take several flavors, just like going into your favorite boutique coffee shop. Without boring you with the details too soon, you have two paths to achieve your personal technical diving goals. The first you are familiar with as a recreational diver, where every breath you take is exhaled into the surrounding water. Here now and forever more this will be called open circuit and applies to any breathing gas, whether air, enriched air (nitrox) and for technical diver, Trimix. I’ll delve more into Trimix later.
An alternative path to becoming a technical diver and my personal favorite is the use of a Closed Circuit Rebreather or CCR, where rather than exhaling into the surrounding water. The unit recycles the gas that you just exhaled, removes the Carbon Monoxide and adds a little bit of oxygen in a continuous closed loop or circuit. This system is very efficient and reduces the need for allot of SCUBA tanks as compared to using an open circuit rig. Whether choosing to dive open or closed circuit, there are numerous considerations in terms of gear and training before you take the plunge!