Dive Tables, does anyone still use them?
I must be showing my age because when I ldid my PADI Openwater Course only the rich and famous could afford a dive computer… The first scuba dive computer that I can remember was the Aladin Pro. It was a grey square box that the diver would strap to his or her wrist and magically the scuba dive computer will work out your no decompression limits for what ever depths you were at.
But back to those PADI recreational dive planners. This little ingenious table will do the same with some limitation as it can only calculate out a single depth and does not account for less nitrogen absorption at lesser depth of the dive. So in other words the limitation is the amount of time you can stay underwater on your scuba dive.
The truth is that less and less people are being taught how the PADI recreational dive planner or table works and we see it in the PADI IDC, where some candidates need to learn how to use the table as they have dived all their lives on scuba dive computers.
Since scuba dive computers are so much more effective than a dive table why would anyone still use the PADI recreational dive table? My view is that it makes sense to understand the basics and get a better understanding of how the computer calculates no decompression limits and what those limits may be on a scuba dive.
Computer failure is a real thing and whilst it does not happen on every scuba dive, if you know the limits set by the PADI recreational dive tables and know your depth and time of the scuba dive, then having had a quick look at the PADI recreational dive planner before your scuba dive might just save your scuba dive.
There is no question that scuba dive computers have many benefits, such as allowing for longer bottom time during scuba dives, integration to computers so that one can download their scuba dives and keep them logged in this fashion, act as a depth gauge and timing device all in one as well as looking really cool…. One of the many rules of scuba diving…
But having all that said, a dive table is a great safety back up for your next scuba dive and makes a great conversation piece when all your dive buddies are amazed that you actually know how to use the PADI recreational dive table.
Happy bubbles to all…
PADI Course Director # 59118