LEVEL 3 – Trimix Diver
The GUE Recreational Diver Level 3 course also known as REC3, is a course that will take you deeper and that will open the door to trimix diving. Maybe you have heard about the limits of recreational diving being set at 40m. That being true always left me thinking why would someone truly want to undertake such a journey if the outcome was somehow established from the start! Diving air or a nitrox mixture below 30m will put you under the narcotic effect of these gases, a feeling similar to being drunk. Well, that never seemed a sensible approach to me, as as a diver I want to be in full control, and sure I’m able to react, remember and enjoy my dive to its fullest. That quick look around at 40m always seemed a gamble, and well what can one trully take from a 5 minute dive? On other hand, Technical divers, taking benefit from mixtures of gases with helium, are able to keep their awareness and enjoy their dives, adding decompression gasses and double cylinders to manage dives in this range. Curious? 😉
Lets dive deeper into this matter then. As we go deeper, we also need more gas, so it is only sensible to carry a bigger reserve, and some redundancy, after all it is indeed a more complex dive even if not overly complex and definitely within typical recreational limits. I’d saw the typical recreational equipment configuration is not enough anymore, a single 15L cylinder (bigger cylinders found in typical recreational dive centers) filled with air, and maybe a small pony might just not cut it is something goes wrong.
And thats how the REC3 comes to life! It is a recreational curriculum offering a sensible solution to diving in this depth range (30m to 40m), maybe a taster of what technical diving is, but without the complexities of a technical dive.
As with all GUE training, it is a step by step progression focused in team work, starting from shallow and progressively moving into deeper waters. Learning and refining critical skills, understanding how a manifold works and what to do in different scenarios involving double tanks and possible failures, switching to a decompression gas, and revisiting skills such as that of deploying an SMB (surface marker buoy).
Working on ascents that are a critical aspect of Tech diving, will give you the confidence, and skill to nail that ascent from 40m without a sweat.
The course ends with some experience dives, already using trimix 21/35 and 32% nitrox for decompression. Maximum depth for these dives is 40m (the limit of the certification), with a maximum decompression time of 15 mins. These dives give you the opportunity to enjoy this new realm, explore, and have some fun, while still under the watchful eye of an instructor. The puzzle starts to look complete, as all skills are used and start to make sense, and helium shows its benefits.
The Recreational Diver Level 3 course is normally conducted over five days, and includes eight dives and at least forty hours of instruction, encompassing classroom, land drills and in-water work.
Course contents at the GUE website.