22 is the number of people I have lost

The only number I keep track of.

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Once you are comfortable as a diver, able to dive down into the different types of dive sites with ease, you should consider becoming certified as a Rescue Diver. Telling people you're a rescue diver is fun. It evokes mental images of you jumping from helicopters into frigid waters like Kevin Costner in “The Guardian”. While becoming a rescue diver won't make you Ashton Kutcher, it can be a challenging and rewarding experience.

Many people take the course for the sole purpose of making themselves eligible to become a divemaster or scuba instructor. Of course, the other huge benefit is that it gives you the skills to assist in emergency situations and makes you a better dive buddy in circumstances where another diver needs reassurance or a helping hand and it builds your own confidence in the water as well as helps you to recognise signs of stress before they lead to more serious situations.

The one thing you won’t find on any class outline or course objective is the topic “how to be a better diver.” But that’s exactly what rescue is all about. When you combine all the skills, lessons and practice time in the rescue diver course, it teaches the skills that help make you a better diver.

Dive accidents are rare. Most Rescue Divers will never need to perform in-water resuscitation, while towing a near- drowning victim through six-foot seas or find themselves searching the confines of a deep shipwreck for a missing buddy team. But a rescue is often not a situation where you risk your own life to save another person. Nor is it a situation where a diver nearly dies before you pull him or her back from the brink. A rescue can mean spotting a potential problem and taking the steps to prevent it. A rescue can be as simple as towing a tired diver back to the boat, helping someone whose tank has slipped out of its securing straps or talking with a nervous diver to find out if they’re OK to make the dive. These are the biggest benefits of a rescue class. Rescue changes the way you look at the other divers around you.

Divers spend their time learning how to act and react in an emergency. They learn how to help others without getting themselves into trouble. The typical rescue class, regardless of the agency offering it, teaches search patterns and in-water rescue techniques; how to bring an unconscious diver to the surface and swim him or her to the boat or beach; and the most effective rescue skill of all: how to recognize, plan for and prevent problems before they even arise and that is why the Nelson Underwater Club believes that every member should strive to become a Rescue diver as a minimum standard.