The Tec 40 course is one of the most, if not THE most, important course you will ever take. I just completed my training in Cabo and found it to be extremely rewarding. It was challenging yet fun, and has opened up a whole new world of diving possibilities. I can already see how the knowledge and practical skills I learnt are improving my everyday diving abilities.
Let me explain…
What is Tec 40
Firstly, let’s talk about what Tec 40 is.
This course teaches you the skills required to begin technical diving and, more importantly, the attitude and thought patterns you need to do it safely. At the end of the course you will be certified to plan and perform decompression, accelerated decompression, and extended bottom time dives using gas switches. There are some restrictions of course, it’s not called Tec 40 for nothing, but ultimately it will open up a whole new realm of diving possibilities. At the end of the course you will walk away with the knowledge and skills required to take your diving beyond the limits of recreational scuba..
Why Is It So Important?
In my opinion, there are three foundational scuba courses that PADI offers. These three lay the groundwork upon which you will build your recreational, professional or technical diving career. Without a strong foundation, what you have built, may crumble.
Don’t get me wrong… foundations can, and should, be reinforced through training and experience. We should always be seeking knowledge and experience that will make us better divers. This could be something as simple as practicing buoyancy, or more challenging like taking on the responsibility of navigation/leading your friends on a dive, or doing something profound such as taking on a rescue course. In recreational diving we can always strengthen our foundations.
In tec diving things are a little different. The stakes are higher but can be managed if you have the right training. If you don’t, you are not only risking your own life, but that of your team as well. If your training isn’t up to scratch then it may also be hard to find people to dive with. This could make it more challenging to progress and become a proficient tec diver. Strengthening the foundation can be more challenging.
So, it’s critical to start with a solid foundation. The stronger the better! The Tec 40 course, plus a good instructor, can provide this.
What are scuba diving’s foundational courses in my opinion?
PADI Open Water Diver – this course turns you into a diver and lays the foundation for all future adventures. At the end of this course you will be able to dive without professional supervision and thus must take on the responsibilities of caring for yourself.
PADI Divemaster – this course takes you from a recreational diver to a pro. During this course your situational awareness will grow exponentially and your attitude changes as you take on the responsibility for the safety of dives around you.
Tec 40 – this course teaches you the foundational skills required to begin technical diving and, more importantly, the attitude and thought patterns you need to do it safely. At the end of this course you will be certified to dive beyond recreational limits and must accept the responsibilities and inherent risks of doing so.
There are many other continuing education and pro courses that PADI offers but these three will fundamentally change the way you think about diving along with your responsibilities. They all result in a huge step forward in your abilities and are all a lot of fun!
What you will learn
You will learn a lot!!! The knowledge development and training you receive are intense and focus on the basics of being a tec diver. The manual is over 200 pages long but don’t let that scare you. It is broken up into bite-sized pieces and PADI has opened up their tool box and used every learning aid they have available to make the process fun.
You will learn about the gear required for technical diving as well as the techniques and procedures needed to use it. You will learn how to think like a tec diver and be self reliant whilst working as part of a team. It wouldn’t be a PADI course without some new acronyms such as NOTOX which is used to safely switch gasses. And of course you learn the importance of gas management and redundancy.
But the best part is getting in the water and practicing your new skills which helps solidify them in your mind as well as grasp why they are so important.
Personally, I found the course challenging but fun. Some sections of the manual are intuitive and easy to grasp. I struggled with a few things but my instructor was able to help guide me through them and ultimately it was more rewarding once I was finally able to get a grip on them. It was extremely satisfying to receive my certification.
In fact I have found myself reading a lot of supplementary material. Books on world record deep diving attempts and cave diving are now a fascination to me. I have also noticed the things I learnt are improving my everyday diving skills. I can’t wait, once I gain a little more experience, to take on the PADI Tec 45 course.
It seems that Cabo has attracted a handful of the world’s best tec diving instructors. Why? Because mother nature seems to have created this area specifically to be a tec training mecca .
Firstly, the dive sites are only 5-10 mins from the harbour!
Secondly, the topography is perfect. There are convenient, six-meter-deep, sandy patches which are perfect for practicing safety drills and making deco stops and only a dozen frog kicks away from a wall that, in some sections, drops to over 300m.
Thirdly, swells and currents are almost non-existent and the water temperature is warm most of the year.
Fourthly, the deep dive sites are packed with marine life, soft corals, and stunning rock formations which are almost untouched by man. They are stunning!
It really is the perfect training ground for tec diving. Oh, and then there is Cabo and all of its incredible offerings such as tasty food and endless entertainment. What more could you want???
I undertook my PADI Tec 40 in Cabo San Lucas at Dive Ninja. The instructor had done a mind-boggling number of tec dives in various environments. He conveyed the course material proficiently and could easily answer any question I threw at him. His support staff were amazing and almost as knowledgeable. Even the boat captain was an experienced diver who has spent years guiding on liveaboards. The experience and knowledge of those that trained me was staggering and the team helped me lay a solid foundation for me as a tec diver.
The location was convenient and the water warm. The dive sites were stunning and the smile on my face was huge. I would definitely recommend it to anyone.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to tec dive and I can already see how the training is improving my everyday diving practices. I am really looking forward to taking on the Tec 45 course once I gain a little more experience. I can’t wait!