The Sidemount Diver Course is designed to train certified divers how to safely utilize side-mounted primary cylinders as an alternative to the traditional back-mounted configuration. We offer Sidemount certification as a standalone course, or it can be combined with any specialty certification as a training option.
Sidemount originated with cave diving, basically to get cave divers in to spots they were unable to go with backmounted tanks. The smaller profile allowed travel through some passages (or "restrictions") that could not be travelled before.
But why would recreational divers be interested to go to a sidemount configuration, over the traditional backmount? There are many benefits to the sidemount configuration that can be applied to even the most basic recreational diver, we'll cover some of those benefits here.
- Ability to fully reach and manipulate valves and regulators. What was once difficult to control and reach behind the shoulder, is now right in front of you.
- Completely independent tanks and therefore gas supply. There is no one failure that will eliminate more than 1/2 of your remaining gas.
- No entanglement areas are behind your back. Think about wrecks that you could be exploring with dangling ropes and fishing nets that can snag on a backmounted tank.
- A more streamlined profile that reduces drag and makes moving through the water easier and more efficient, and makes trim adjustment easier,
- Sidemount configurations can be completely customized to fit an individual, and they can be used for all forms of advanced diving such as with wrecks, technical, and caves.
- Easier to carry tanks to the water, for fills, etc. This can be especially beneficial for those with injuries or disabilities where the weight of a backmounted tank(s) can be a stress, or simply impossible on long or steep walks. Sidemounted tanks can be carried to the water separately, and then just attached to the harness in the water.
- Travelling divers can use any set of rental tanks without changing their configuration.
What are the Benefits of Sidemount Training?
As sidemount seems like just an alternate tank configuration option, you may wonder why specialty training is even required for it. However there are several key benefits to formal training for even the most experienced divers.
- Information about specialized sidemount systems available today, configuration options, optimal adjustments for fit and trim.
- Learn and practice the skills required to manage the gas supply using separate primary cylinders.
- Learn and practice skills required to dive with mixed teams (sidemount and backmount).
- Learn and practice emergency procedures using the sidemount configuration.
- Your instructor has the benefit of experience diving the sidemount configuration, and can share tips and best practices that will benefit you!
What are the Pre-Requisites?
We require a minimum of Open Water Diver, and be at least 18 years of age.
As a stand-alone course it will be run over 2 days with a minimum of 3 dives. When combined with a specialty certification, it will generally add 1 day and 1-2 dives to that course.