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Unless you move into Professional/Commercial Diving, the two main types of scuba diving most people encounter are recreational and technical diving. Recreational diving is diving for fun. It requires special equipment and training, but it’s accessible. Most people can get into recreational diving fairly quickly. [Most jurisdictions, dive equipment rentals and dive charter operators will require training and certification from diving participants – ED]

There’s also technical diving. (You may also see it called “tech diving” or “tec diving”.) This is a specialized type of scuba diving that requires extra training and precautions. Tech diving tends to take place in more hazardous environments. That hazard may be due to tight spaces, or just the added nitrogen load that comes with diving at deep depths.

But where is the line drawn between tech diving and rec diving? How do you know if a trip will be one or the other? And if you want to start having tech diving adventures, what do you need to get started?

Recreational Diving in a Nutshell
Most scuba diving is recreational diving. As the name suggests, this is simply diving for leisure. All scuba diving should be approached seriously, but recreational scuba diving generally doesn’t involve some of the more intensive or hazardous situations that technical divers pursue.

That doesn’t mean that rec diving can’t be intense! It just means that there’s a threshold to that intensity. You won’t be exploring miles of underwater caverns. “Recreational diving” can still cover a lot of diverse, unusual situations, and many training courses and diving experiences blur the line between recreational and technical diving.

Recreational divers start with an open water certification which permits them to dive down to 60 feet, and they may go for advanced or deep-dive certifications that permit them to dive down 130 feet. Governing bodies differ slightly, but generally this is considered the maximum depth for recreational diving, as it’s widely regarded as the lowest a diver can go without requiring a decompression stop on the way up.

Recreational diving can take place in oceans, but lake dives are also common. It may incorporate other pastimes or styles, like photography or drift diving. Generally, though, it won’t include entering an enclosed space.

Tech Diving in a Nutshell
Technical diving is when divers go beyond the limits of rec diving, in one of several ways. “Technical diving” is loosely defined. Various certification organizations differ in exactly what it means. But here are some good, general indicators:

Depth: Are you going deeper than 130 feet/40 meters?
Will you need decompression stops on your way up?
Will you require a rebreather?
Will you need specific gas mixtures, or to switch gases during the dive?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you’re probably technical diving. Another big category of technical diving is penetration diving. This is any dive where you can’t swim straight up to the surface, because you’re in an enclosed environment of some kind.

Penetration diving like cave diving, wreck diving, and ice diving all blur the line between technical and recreational scuba diving. Many organizations make their tech vs. rec distinction based on how deep into the environment you’re going. Are you going past the “light zone”? That is, can you still see light from the exit? If you can’t, that’s technical diving. Ice diving is a special case, and different agencies view it in different ways. But since you can’t swim straight up to the surface, it’s often considered tech diving.

However, one thing is certain: If there’s any chance that a group would consider it technical diving, you will definitely need special training for it. Even if you’re just going in the light zone at the entrance of a cave or shipwreck, you need to have the right training and equipment to stay safe. Anything beyond swimming in open water requires education beyond the introductory course.

Recreational Diving Training
All divers start by taking an open water certification. This usually starts in a classroom and ends with supervised open water dives. You’ll learn terminology and safety principles. You’ll also learn how to use basic scuba gear. Dive centers and resorts require proof of this certification before they rent scuba equipment out, fill tanks, or book excursions. The good news is that many dive shops will also offer the certifications and courses that you need.

But even for recreational divers, your training doesn’t end there. Most certification groups offer advanced certification and continuing education courses so that you can enhance your skills and try new experiences. For some organizations, the natural next step is a Deep Diver certification that trains people to dive confidently down to 130 ft/40m.

From there, you can learn many advanced skills that don’t quite cross the line into “technical diving”. Rescue Diver courses teach you to be prepared to save the lives of your fellow divers. You can take courses in drift diving, underwater photography, and dry suit use. You can learn about conservation, fish identification, and other ecologically-minded courses.

You can also take classes in diving techniques that begin approaching that technical diving line, like ice diving, wreck diving, or cavern diving.

Technical Diving Training
Tech diving courses are very different from rec diving courses. They may be supplemented by courses that fall into the recreational realm. In fact, you’ll need some of the same courses under your belt that recreational divers take before you can begin tech diving training.

For instance, in order to take some intro to technical diving classes, you may need an advanced diver certification for open water, a course on diving with Nitrox, and possibly a course on deep diving. Having these minimum requirements down shows that you can handle the basics of being at depth and dealing with specialized air mixtures.

Once you’re ready, you’ll sign up for your first technical diving course. Many organizations offer tracks for both open circuit and closed-circuit rebreather diving. Within those tracks, they structure their courses by depth, teaching you to dive deeper with every class while also teaching you new skills to go with them. You may start at 40 meters, for instance, and work your way down to 100. Along the way you’ll learn how to plan and execute repetitive decompression dives, how to mix your own gases, and eventually how to manage multiple bailout cylinders and multiple decompression stops.

Typical Diving Depths for Recreational Dives
Many organizations recommend that beginning open water divers go no deeper than 60 ft/18m. If you’ve completed advanced courses, that depth extends to 130 ft/40m. Other certification agencies have slightly deeper depth.

The general idea is that recreational divers shouldn’t have to make decompression stops. Many of the modern depths for rec diving were set 50 years ago in military settings, where the science and equipment wasn’t as fine-tuned as it is now. As a result, some organizations increased their maximum depths. But whatever limits your accrediting body sets, it’s important to abide by their guidelines.

Typical Diving Depths for Technical Dives
Because of the use of rebreathers, gas mixtures, decompression stops, and other tools, technical divers can venture far deeper into the water. Many certification organizations will build a course’s maximum depth right into the name of the course. Generally, certification for tech divers begins at 130 ft/40m and continues on to 330 ft/100m.

Typical Recreational Dive Gear
Just because you aren’t going down as far as tech divers are, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need dependable gear. Here are some things to consider.

The Sport wetsuit line is built for comfort and range of motion in moderate-to-shallow depths. It’s made for beginners and first-time suit buyers in mind, and is a great way to start your recreational scuba diving adventure. It’s available in men’s and women’s styles.
An entry-level dive computer can help you get used to reading and tracking key information about your dive. Beginning recreational divers may want to consider the Aladin A1. The features are fairly straightforward, but it’s still a solid, affordable piece of dive gear.
The MK25 EVO is one of the most popular, reliable regulator first stages out there. Its rugged durability and reliable airflow make it a go-to choice for people of all experience levels. Combining it with the D420 second stage gives you a solid combination that’s intended to make breathing on a scuba dive feel easier and more natural than ever. That’s great news for people who are just starting out.

Typical Technical Dive Gear
Technical diving tends to require additional certifications and classes from a diver and additional equipment. Good dive gear can see you through a lot. But tech divers need more than “good”. Since you’ll be spending more time underwater, in more extreme conditions, you want the absolute best gear you can find.

A dry suit may be preferable to a wet suit for many tech dives. Cave divers, ice divers, and people diving to extreme depths are among the many tech divers who need protection from the cold. A dry suit is a great start towards getting that protection.
Many tech dives take place in tight spaces, where you’ll need a specialized buoyancy control device with a low profile. Technical BCDs include sidemount and backmount BCDs that help you fine-tune your buoyancy when it matters most.
An upgrade to our popular G260 technical diving system, the MK19 EVO BT/G260 Carbon BT regulator system delivers superior durability with a premium carbon fiber front cover and a corrosion resistant Black Tech DLC coating. It’s designed to be the premium regulator system for cold water, silty diving conditions, and technical diving.
When you’re performing technical dives, many tech divers use a custom set of dive tables printed for the dive and a computer in gauge mode or as a back up. A good dive computer is an important piece of equipment for tech divers. A good computer will be able to keep track of multiple gasses, keep a log of your dives, and withstand depths of 100m and beyond. The G2 rises to all of those challenges.
There are other things to consider, like dry suit glove systems, or masks and lights that are meant for low-light conditions. Having appropriate technical dive gear can go a long way towards a safe and satisfying technical dive experience.

Recreational Dive Opportunities
Recreational divers have plenty of opportunities available. Most divers in the water are rec divers, so there’s clearly a lot of fun to be had rec diving! Whether you’re exploring home waters of your nearby lakes or coasts, or traveling to scuba paradises like Hawaii or Bonaire, recreational scuba diving provides a lifetime of new experiences. And who knows, you may even develop the confidence and experience to start tiptoeing into tech diving!

Technical Dive Opportunities
Tech divers can do everything that a recreational diver can, and then some. Technical dive opportunities include ice diving, cave diving, advanced wreck diving, and more. The skills you learn as a tech diver are designed to help go further and experience more, while staying as safe as possible. It also gives you opportunities to push on even further in your diving career. You may become an instructor yourself, or pursue extreme endeavors like cave exploration. Technical diving expertise is valuable beyond just having fun. For many, by the time they’ve put that much time, money, and study into the craft, they will turn around and make it into a career.

Additional Considerations
Apart from the training and gear, planning is a big differentiator between tech and rec diving. Planning should always be part of the diving experience, and many divers consider it to be part of the fun! Knowing the weather, the tides, and the current can help you have the smoothest experience possible.

But technical diving has many more moving parts to consider, and requires a great deal more planning to execute smoothly and safely. You can’t just wing it when you have to bring different gas mixtures for different depths, or make sure you have enough air for your decompression stops. Mapping your dive out ahead of time is always helpful, but with technical diving it’s absolutely essential.

Technical diving isn’t the only way to have a fun or interesting dive experience. There’s plenty of adventure to be had under the banner of “recreational diving,” from drift dives to exploring the open water. But if you really want to know the depths, it’s worth your time to learn more about the ins and outs of technical diving.

From ScubaPro.

Vendor Directory

Diving Schools: Train and certify recreational and tech divers.

Diving Instructor Associations: Train and certify recreational diving instructors.

Diving Schools

ΞVendorΞ ΞLocaleΞ‚ USA

Diving Instructor Associations

National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) USA
ΞVendorΞ ΞLocaleΞ‚ USA

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How to Identify Ford Diesel Engines
Ford 2715E Diesel Engine
Lehman Mfg. Co.
Perkins Engines
Universal Atomic 4
Sears Boat Motors: Motorgo, Waterwitch, Elgin, etc.
Chrysler & Force Outboards
Eska Outboard Motors
Allison Transmission
ZF Friedrichshafen AG
Marine Surveyors by Country
American Marine Ltd (Grand Banks)
Boat Inspection (Types of Marine Surveys)
Boat Builders: (A∼Z) (w/Vessel Types, Locale & Years Active)
USCG NVIC 07-95 Guidance on Inspection, Repair and Maintenance of Wooden Hulls
American Boat and Yacht Counsel (ABYC)

Layout of the EverythingAboutBoats.org Website's Pages

— Types of Webpages —
This website consists almost entirely of 3 types of webpages as follows:

  1. TOPIC PAGES (See Main Topic Pages listed on Website Contents or the Right Sidebar)
  2. VENDOR PAGES (Vendors of Products, Services, Events,+, DestinationsMedia Creators)
  3. PRODUCT PAGES (Equipment, Events, Media: pDoc, Books, Magazines, Videos, Websites,+)

Clickable Links that lead to other webpages appear in Blue Text and usually open in a new window.
Links in the Right Sidebar and most directories open in the current window, not a new window.

Note in the examples above that these pages form a natural hierarchy.
The unnumbered "^" pages are listed alphabetically in most tables.

Media Titles in tables are distinguished by their smaller font size.
Media (Books, Magazines, Videos, Articles,+) are treated as Products.
Vendors' Product Documentation (pDoc) are considered Media.
Destinations & Media Creators are treated as Vendors.
All Website Pages are optimized for viewing on
full-width disktop computer monitors,
but can be viewed on phones.

— Contents of Webpages —
Website Pages typically contain the following Sections:

  1. PATH (Shows the chain of EAB pages w/links that lead to the page being viewed).
    1. EXAMPLE:
      BOAT BUILDING & REPAIR » Boat Equipment » Propulsion » Engines » ∨∨
      ∧∧ Ford, Ebro, American Diesel, AmMarine, Barr, Beta, Bomac, Bowman, Couach,
      Lees, Lehman, Mermaid, Parsons, RenaultSabre, Thornycroft, Wortham Blake »
      DO-IT-YOURSELF » DIY Boat Building & Repair » DIY Schools & Classes »
      MEDIA w/Creator Directory » Documentation, BooksMagazinesVideosWebsites »
    2. (The "»" right pointing Guillemet symbol shows the chain through the page links.)
    3. (The "," comma between page links in the chain indicates pages are not subordinate, but are instead at the same level. See engine brands in the example above.)
    4. (The "∨", "∨∨", "∨∨∨",+ symbols indicate that the path line continues with whatever follows the "∧", "∧∧", "∧∧∧",+ symbols respectively. "∧" Precedes each MAIN TOPIC Page.)
  2. PAGE CONTENTS (Table of Contents with links to each main section on the page).
  3. PAGE BODY (The type of page determines the contents of its body as follows:).
    1. TOPIC PAGES (Topic Treatment: Introduction, Overview, Background, Details,+).
      • (Many Topic Pages contain Directories of Vendors with Links).
      • (Most Directory Listings are Alphabetical and/or by Locale).
    2. VENDOR PAGES (Vendor's Profile, Contact Information, Products, Services,+).
      • (Manufacturers, Resellers, Refitters, Yards, Surveyors, Clubs, Schools, Authors,+).
      • (Boating & Travel Destinations are treated as Vendors on their own Vendor Pages).
    3. PRODUCT PAGES (Product Features, Vendor Links, Specifications, Documentation,+).
      • (Media created by a vendor is often treated as a Product on its own Product Page).
      • (Boating & Travel Events are often treated as Products on their own Product Pages).
  4. RELATED RESOURCES (Topics, Vendors, Products, Media: Books, Websites,+ with Links).
  5. PAGE TAIL Contains the following Anchors Aweigh Academy & EAB Website Features:
    1. The Anchors Aweigh Academy's EverythingAboutBoats.org Header.
    2. A link to our Featured Articles EAB Home Page.
    3. Top 20 Most Popular Articles. (The section that appears right above this section).
    4. Layout of the EverythingAboutBoats.org Website's Pages. (This very section).
    5. Topics of Webpages. (The very next section below).
    6. What we have accomplished so far.
    7. Members must Sign-In to gain full access to Expanded Pages & Programs.
    8. Sign-Up (if not already a member).
    9. Public Comments (about the website & about this page).
  6. RIGHT SIDEBAR (Website Contents menu with links to Main Topic & Subtopic pages).
    (On some smart phones, the Right Sidebar may appear at the bottom of the webpage)

— Topics of Webpages —
Website Pages are categorized under the following 16 MAIN TOPICS:

The MAIN TOPICS follow a natural progression from conception of the vessel thru its
building, marketing, survey, financing, insuring, transport, moorage, use and upkeep.
The MAIN TOPICS (all Caps) below are followed by their Main Subtopics with Links.

00 – HOME: CONTENTSABOUT EAB: Contact EAB, Abbreviations & Symbols, FAQ, GLOSSARY, ADs,+.
01 – ABOUT BOATS w/Museum Directory: Early History, Recent History, Modern Vessel Types,+.
02 – BOAT BUILDING, OUTFITTING, REFITTING & REPAIR: Materials, Equipment, Builders,+.
03 – BOAT MARKETING: Boat Shows, Dealers & Brokers, Importing & Exporting, Auctions & Sales,+.
04 – BOAT INSPECTION: Types of Marine Surveys, Marine Surveyors, Schools, DIY Inspections,+.
05 – BOAT TITLES & VESSEL REGISTRY: Boat Title & Registration, Vessel Registry, Title Co's,+.
06 – BOAT FINANCING: Conventional (Banks, Credit Unions,+), Unconventional (Creative),+.
07 – BOAT INSURANCE: Maritime & Recreational: Coverage, Carriers, Agents,+., Claim Processing,+.
08 – BOAT TRANSPORT: By Sea (Piggyback, Delivery Skippers & Crews, & Towing), Over-Land,+.
09 – BOAT HAULING & LAUNCHING: Drydocks, Ways, Lifts, Cranes & Hoists, Launch Ramps,+.
10 – BOAT MOORAGE & STORAGE: Builders, Anchorages, Marinas, Yards, Racks & Stacks,+.
11 – BOATING ORGANIZATIONS: Yacht Clubs & Sailing Clubs, Paddling Clubs, Boat Owners,+.
12 – BOATING & TRAVEL: Events, Destinations, Boat Rentals & Charters, Cruises, Voyages,+.
13 – BOATING & MARITIME EDUCATION: Recreational Seamanship, Ship's Master & Crew,+.
14 – MARINE LAWS & REGULATIONS: International & National LawsLawyers‚ Investigators‚+.
15 – DO-IT-YOURSELF: DIY Boat Building & Repair, DIY Boat Sales, DIY Boat Surveys, DIY Classes,+.
16 – MEDIA w/Creator Directory + Academy eLibrary: pDocs, Books, Magazines, Videos, Websites,+.

The above MAIN TOPICS and a more detailed listing of Subtopics can
be found on the Website Contents page and on the Right Sidebar.

What we have accomplished so far.
Anchors Aweigh Academy and its EverythingAboutBoats.org website.

  • Published over 50,000 website pages about boats and boating, bringing us closer to reaching our goal of becoming "The ultimate reference resource about boats and ships for everyone from the beginning recreational boater to the seasoned professional mariner!"
  • Published over 300 website main topic webpages, many with full articles on the topic. See our Website Contents or the Right Sidebar for the listing of the main topic pages.
  • Published over 9,000 marine vendor webpages, all with their contact information, most with a description of their products and services, many with product documentation, specifications and independent reviews. (incl.: Boat designers, boat building tools, material and equipment manufacturers and suppliers, boat builders and dealers, yacht brokers, marine surveyors, boat insurers, boat transporters, skippers and crews, boatyards and marinas, yacht clubs, boat rentals and yacht charters, boating, seamanship and maritime schools, marine law attorneys and expert witnesses, boat refitters and repairers, book authors, magazine publishers, video producers, and website creators)
  • Acquired over 120,000 pages of product documentation including Catalogs, Brochures, SpecSheets, Pictures, Serial Number Guides, Installation Manuals, OpManuals, Parts Catalogs, Parts Bulletins, Shop Manuals, Wiring Diagrams, Service Bulletins, and Recalls. And have made all viewable to Academy Members through our EAB website eLibrary.
  • Acquired over 1,200 books and magazine back issues in our academy library and so far have made over 700 viewable to Academy Members through our EAB website eLibrary.
  • Published over 500 DIY How-To articles about boat design, construction, inspection, operation, maintenance, troubleshooting and repair. We are working hard to do more.

We are currently formatting and polishing the Anchors Aweigh Academy online and hands-on courses. Our Marine Surveying course has proven to be excellent for both the beginner and the seasoned surveyor, and especially helpful to the Do-It-Yourselfer.

Current Academy Members must SIGN IN to gain FULL access to this
website including expanded pages and valuable Academy programs
like our Academy eLibrary and our Ask-An-Expert Program!

If your membership has expired, CLICK HERE to Renew.

CLICK HERE to discover how you can become a Member and gain FULL access to
thousands of expanded pages and articles, and dozens of excellent programs

Comments for Public Viewing

Submit any comments for public viewing via email To: Comments♣EverthingAboutBoats.org (Replace "♣" with "@")
Please remember to put this webpage's title in the subject line of your email.
All comments are moderated before they appear on this page. See Comment Rules.

General Comments About the Website

FROM Donald: "This is an awesome website. I found the information that I needed right away from one of the over 20,000 free articles that you provide as a public service. I'm surprised that so much if this site is free. But I still signed up so I could access the thousands of expanded pages, interesting articles, and dozens of valuable programs! The member's library of books, magazines and videos that I can view online is really terrific! I understand that you and your staff are all unpaid volunteers. Please keep up the good work. And I commend you for your plans to add another 10,000 free informative articles over the next year. I'm thrilled to support you in this endeavor with my small membership donation. Thanks again for all your hard work."

FROM Huey: "I agree with my Uncle, I too have found the articles to be very enlightening. They say that it will take about 100,000 articles to cover the full scope that they have envisioned for the website. They have over 20,000 articles so far and that's doing pretty well, but it could take several years to get the rest. I also noticed that many of the Main Topic Pages and some of the article pages are still in the rough draft stage. I guess that they will fill in as they can get volunteers to work on them. But what I can't figure out is why anyone would spend the time writing informative in depth articles just to give away free to this website for publication? What's in it for them?"

FROM Dewey: "Well Huey, to me It looks like most of the articles on this website are written by very informed people, like boating instructors, boat designers, boat builders, riggers, electricians, fitters, marine repair technicians and marine surveyors. Writing such articles helps establish them as knowledgeable professionals. After all, this website was originally created by a school for marine technicians and marine surveyors. The website is growing in content every day. They even had to move to a bigger, more powerful server because the website's traffic has been growing exponentially."

FROM Louie: "I agree with everyone above. This site is quickly becoming the ultimate reference resource about every aspect of boats and ships for everyone from the beginning recreational boater to the seasoned professional mariner. I use the topic pages on the right sidebar to browse around the website. It's like a Junior Woodchucks' Guidebook for Boaters. Their Members' Library of over 300 popular and obscure books and over 200 magazine back issues that can be viewed online is fabulous. The Academy's magazine is especially informative. On top of that, there is the "Ask-An-Expert program for members where you can get an expert's answer to any of your boat questions. And a whole years membership is only $25. What a deal! I really love being part of this "Everything About Boats" community and help provide thousands of helpful articles free to the public. I think that I'll sit down right now and write an article about my experiences boating with my uncle."

FROM Scrooge: "You rave about this website like it was the best thing since sliced bread. Well, I think it stinks. Sure, it has a lot of good information for boaters, and they're adding more every day, but it will probably never be finished. Furthermore, I don't even own a boat. And I wouldn't have a boat even if someone gave me one. Boats are a waste of money and time and energy and money! They're just a hole in the water you pour money into. If you gave me a boat, I'd sell it quicker then you could say Baggywrinkle. Then I'd lock up the cash with all my other money so I could keep my eye on it and count it every day. Bah humbug."

FROM Daisy: "I'm just so glad that Donald got the boat so we and the boys could enjoy boating — together. And of course all of the girls, April, May, and June, love to be on the water too, especially when that is where the boys are. Oh poor Scrooge, boating is more fun then you could possibly imagine."

FROM Scrooge: "After seeing how much fun you all have on the water together, I regret that I didn't have that much fun when I was young. I've had a change of heart, and I'm giving each of you a Lifetime Academy Membership."

FROM Editor: "For those of you that have stayed with us this far, many thanks, and we hope that you found this little narrative informative. Your faithful support inspires us to keep working on this phenomenal website. We know that we have a lot more to do. Ultimately, we hope that we can help you enjoy the wonder filled world of boating as much as we do. We are all waiting to see what you have to say about this webpage article. Submit any comments via email To: Comments♣EverythingAboutBoats.org (Replace "♣" with "@"). Be sure to include this page's title in the subject line. Also, your corrections, updates, additions and suggestions are welcomed. Please submit them via email To: Editor♣EverythingAboutBoats.org (Replace "♣" with "@"). It has been truly amazing to see what we have been able to accomplished when we've worked together. Thanks to all those that have donated their valuable time and energy, and a special THANK YOU to all that have supported this cause with their membership donations."

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