Am I required to take Essentials of Rec or Essentials of Tech before taking any other UTD Course?
No. UTD is an inclusive agency and every diver is welcome to enter the UTD curriculum at their current certification level.
That being said, Essentials (Rec & Tech) is designed to build a foundation and prepare a diver who has no prior UTD training for the rigorous and challenging UTD training. So, while you can enter the UTD curriculum at your current certification level, Essentials may be the best option for you, in order to build a solid foundation to build upon and also get the most out of your future training.
It's extremely important to us that we provide the student the training to help them achieve their diving goals in a logical progression, tailored to them.
In short, often the best method of determining where you fit in the UTD curriculum is to simply come dive with us. This allows us to not only assess your current skill level, but also talk about your diving goals, and the best method to achieve those goals. And of course, it gives us a reason to go dive!
Do you require specific brands of equipment?
Definitely not. We never have, and never will, require our students to purchase a specific brand of dive gear.
We have no gear affiliations, and we own many different sets of gear from many different manufacturers ourselves. Gear choice is a personal decision.
What is vastly more important than equipment brand is that the gear is in safe operating condition and its use in the dive system is well thought out. In the Hogarthian dive system, every piece of gear is an important part of an entire system. Fortunately, the diver/consumer has many different options/brands available to them.
We're happy to offer advice and insight from our own personal experiences, but rest assured gear label is not a concern to us.
Do your classes have rigid equipment requirements?
The short answer to this is "it depends".
As the dives we train you to do become more aggressive, the equipment requirements become more rigid, out of safety and necessity.
At the recreational level, the gear requirements aren't as rigid. Our gear configuration is built around being able to donate gas from a gas supply that is known to be delivering gas that is breathable at a given depth during the dive. We accomplish this by donating the reg that is in our mouth. In an overhead environment with restrictions where single file exits may be required, we use a 7' hose to facilitate a single file, air sharing exit. From a muscle memory standpoint, we use that same gear configuration on even the most shallow open water dives.
Also, given our name, much of our focus is on the foundational skills of precise buoyancy control and propulsion. While precise positioning kicks such as the helicopter turn and back kick can be done in split fins, blade/rocket/jet style fins are much more efficient for those kinds of kicks.
We also wanted to make this kind of training available without a large upfront gear investment.
So, at the Rec 1, Rec 2 & Essentials of Rec levels, the only gear requirements are a longhose regulator and non-split fins. However, we do have longhose regulators and jet fins available for our students to use.
Other Hogarthian gear elements, such as bp/wing, canister lights, etc are not required for our recreational classes. We do have these available for our students to use in class as well, to allow them to make more informed gear purchase decisions.
Additionally, every class description contains a list of all equipment requirements.
Feel free to contact us with any gear questions.
Do you tech sidemount?
We view sidemount as a tool, and we use sidemount in our own overhead diving and explorations, when required. However, we do not teach sidemount.
Do you offer a technical diving course that doesn't require helium?
No, we don't. Our classes that train divers to go deeper than 100fsw include the use of helium, for several reasons.
Helium is the diver's wonder gas. Due to its properties, it minimizes narcosis and allows for more efficient deco
We limit our END (Equivalent Narcotic Depth) to 100fsw or less. For dives shallower than 100fsw, we use air or EAN32. When diving deeper than 100fsw, in order to minimize narcosis, we add helium to our breathing gas.
Standardization plays a major role in team diving. Standardization in equipment, training, protocols, breathing gas and decompression procedures, to name a few. When entering an overhead environment or decompression, standardization becomes more critical, in order to mitigate risk. To execute a dive deeper than 100fsw with no helium means the diver will be using a non-standard gas in that depth range. In addition to using a non-standard bottom gas, the use of that gas may also result in a decompression profile that differs from that if a standard gas was used.
Simply put, in team diving, executing a technical dive without the use of helium creates unnecessary complications and defeats the purpose of standardization that team diving is based upon and the benefits it offers.
Can Tech 1 & Tech 2 be taken together?
In keeping with "training how we dive", when doing multiple technical dives in a day, we use a bottom stage, in addition to the required deco bottles. For some, moving directly from recreational diving in doubles, with a few practice dives with a deco bottle, directly to dives in the 160fsw range with a stage and deco bottle can be a tall order.
Introducing the new technical diving student to longer bottom times, at slightly deeper depths, using a deco bottle, builds a solid foundation for them to build upon, letting them grow comfortable with a single deco bottle.
Once they're comfortable with a single deco bottle they can then add a stage bottle, along with a deco bottle and deeper depths (160fsw) to their foundation, which are introduced in Tech 2.
For those wishing to take the combined Technical Diving course in one lump, that option is certainly available.
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