Sidemount Diving Instruction: Quality is Key!

“Knowledge without practice is useless, practice without knowledge is dangerous” 

Choose the right instructor and quality course for a smooth transition to sidemount and save your future self a lot of wasted time and effort! 

Why do divers struggle after completing sidemount courses?

In our opinion, many sidemount courses are too short and too basic, leading to frustration and bad habits following the course. Many divers, after struggling and fighting with their setup for a while, give up on sidemount completely thinking it’s too much faff and too difficult to get right. The average training agency sidemount course is just two days and three dives. 

Then there are the instructors teaching these courses. There’s a common idea that you don’t learn to drive a car properly until you’ve passed the tests and are set free on the roads. This is true, but it’s also true that few drivers are let loose without first building a solid base of skills with an instructor who knows how to drive well AND how to teach others. 

In sidemount, divers often sign up for courses with instructors who don’t know how to dive sidemount properly themselves, let alone teach it to others. Add to this the minimal instruction time and it’s a recipe for frustration, embarrassment and safety issues! 

Sidemount Diving Instruction: Quality is Key!, sidemount diving

Sidemount divers are known for being a bit precious about their setup and configuration but this is for good reason! Badly set up sidemount will feel uncomfortable, look ridiculous, cause higher gas consumption and may lead to problems in the water. 

So what’s the solution?

Don’t go for false economy

When it comes to sidemount training, more is more. Don’t go for the shortest and cheapest course thinking it’s good value for money. What you save now will most likely cost you down the road. 

Find a specialist not a generalist

Find an instructor who specialises in sidemount and knows how to dive sidemount properly. Some instructors can teach sidemount diving on paper but hardly ever dive it themselves. Look for an instructor who can demonstrate that they know what they’re talking about and dives sidemount regularly as their configuration of choice. 

Ask Questions

Your instructor should be able to answer any questions you have before the course. They should be able to help you with equipment choices and advise you. Your instructor should be able to tailor your course to the types of diving you plan on doing. 

Sidemount Diving Instruction: Quality is Key!, sidemount diving

Once your instructor lets you loose, you’ll still need to practice sidemount regularly by training and making adjustments (and mistakes!), but, after a decent course, this process will equal enjoyment and levelling up instead of frustration and giving up. 

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