Solo Diver Vs The Insta-Buddy
I’ve been faced with the Solo Diver Vs Insta-Buddy scenario quite a bit recently, as my wife, my favorite dive buddy, was forced to take a break from diving whilst recovering from a surgery. (She’s better now and back in the water!) So in the video above, we are weighing your options.
There are 3 good reasons for taking the Solo Diver (Sometimes called Self-Reliant Scuba Diver) Specialty Certification.
Maybe you just want some alone time! There’s nothing wrong with that! One of my favorite things about scuba diving is no phone calls, no emails, just a minimum of 45 minutes of peace and quiet. And what can make it even more peaceful? Ditching your buddy to dive Solo.
Let me be perfectly clear right here: There is a massive difference between being a certified Solo Diver and a regular diver diving alone. The training of the Solo Diver Specialty Course teaches you about self-reliance, additional redundancies most non-soloists do not consider and additional safety protocols. Never attempt to dive Solo unless you have been trained to do so by a certified Instructor from a recognized training agency. Diving alone without specific Solo training, is unnecessarily dangerous and stupid.
Maybe you’re a photographer and your idea of a great dive is staying perfectly still in one place and position to perfectly capture some beautiful shots of a macro reef critter. That might not be everyone’s idea of a good dive… so you can either hire a private guide (which gets pricey quick over multiple dives,) scour the planet for the world’s most patient dive buddy, or take a Solo Diver course.
The third reason for doing a Solo Diver course is if you simply don’t want to accept responsibility for a stranger’s safety. Let me explain! Regardless of the laws of the country in which you’re diving, there is an implied responsibility subliminally built into the buddy system. Some scuba divers just aren’t comfortable accepting that implied responsibility for someone they met just minutes before entering the water.
This scenario, where single divers are paired up at a dive shop or on a boat is known colloquially as the ‘Insta-Buddy’ scenario.
Some Dive Centers are not comfortable forming Insta-Buddy pairings and insist that you either bring your own buddy or pay for a private guide, which I absolutely support. Others prefer to put one of their Dive Masters or Instructors in the water to guide people as a group and any single divers buddy the guide. This has so many hazards, not least of all for the guide.
IN the event that you even find yourself in an Insta-Buddy scenario, we are giving you 5 tips for a better experience! Getting paired up on a scuba diving trip with a complete stranger can either be an absolute delight or a nerve-wrecking experience. But, if you have no other choice, and don’t fancy doing a Solo Diver Scuba Specialty Certification, then at least follow these tips for a safer and more pleasurable Insta-buddy experience.
I’m not against the Insta-Buddy system, either. I’ve made countless friends on dive boats by buddying up. As a Tec instructor, I’m usually (not always!) the more experienced of the pair and so I make sure I take the lead when asking my new best friend about their kit, their diving ability and history and how they like to dive.
My name is James Blackman and I am a professional Technical Diving Instructor. I use YouTube to help certified divers take their scuba experiences to the next level through inspirational videography, practical knowledge sharing, and relevant tools so they can make their next dive better than their last dive. So if you enjoyed this content, you should absolutely check out the rest of our Divers Ready! playlist on Scuba Diver Magazine and on our YouTube Channel.
Thanks so much for watching. Dive Safe, Dive Often.