Am I ready for GUE Tech 1?
If you’ve passed your GUE Fundamentals course with a “technical pass” then you are ready. That’s the whole point of the tech pass. You also need to have logged 100 dives or more, but those are the only real criteria.
The most important question you need to ask though, is “Why?”. Why do you want to do a GUE Tech 1 class? If you are interested in visiting deeper sites, and exploring places that few recreational divers have the opportunity to see, then Tech 1 might be for you. Do you have a goal to visit a particular dive site? If that dive is in the 30-50m depth range, then GUE Tech 1 should really be on your list of things to do!
If you want to learn a bit more about the course then check out the main GUE Tech 1 page on the website.
Is the Tech 1 class really hard?
If you read reports on the internet about the GUE Tech 1 class, you might think that it is a brutal, boot camp, affair. You might think that that it’s all about making you as uncomfortable and scared as possible. You might think it was a big macho event purely designed to “break” you.
Those reports are written by students that have just been through a tough course. They want to tell the world about their course. What they remember though, are all of the challenges and moments of excitement on the course. Many of these are from the skills and drills aspects of the course, as this makes for great reading.
“Billy ran out of gas, and so Bobby donated, and then Jimmy got tangled in the line, and then Bobby lost his mask! It was a bloodbath”
While that might have happened, what you don’t generally understand is that there was a progression towards that scenario. Failures get added in only when I think the students are ready to deal with it. So that means we start off easy, and build up. The reports just reflect the “grand finale” if you like.
Is it hard – maybe challenging is a better word. But it’s taught properly. It is absolutely not a bootcamp.
What Should I do to Prepare?
There are two main things you need to do. Firstly go diving. Do lots of varied diving in the 30m range, in as many different environments and conditions as you can. This gives you a great grounding in diving, and is a huge amount of fun too.
The second thing you need to do is get really proficient with all of the skills taught on your GUE Fundamentals course. These are the building blocks of the new skills we learn on GUE Tech 1, and if they’re not second nature, you won’t get as much from the course.
Should I change my weighting with a decompression stage?
No. Even though the decompression stage will start off a few kg negative, it will finish up positive. On balance, you are still neutral – that’s the whole point of using aluminium decompression cylinders.
Should I practice Gas Switches?
Please don’t. It’s fine if you want to dive with your stage and get used to how it handles in the water, but please leave the switch procedure to your GUE Tech instructor.
What Surface Marker Buoy should I Bring?
Most of the Tech 1 classes I teach are done in the ocean. This means that there are waves and currents. Generally this makes a small 1m buoy a little undersized. I much prefer the 1.5 or 1.8m buoys when diving in the ocean, so please bring one of these. And a spool with at least 30m of line on it is needed too. I don’t mind if you pre-build the buoy and spool.
Can I use my computer on a Tech 1 course?
GUE has a reputation for not using computers. However, that is starting to change as dive computers have become more reliable, and use more reasonable decompression algorithms.
You will obviously learn how to manage your decompression without a computer. If you want to bring your computer along, then your instructor will help you to set it up in a way that doesn’t cause conflict with GUE methods, and make is a useful and flexible tool for you.
How Much Does it Cost?
The usual strategy for the course is for the students to pay for the course fee, and then to divide the instructor’s gas and boat fee between them. The exact figures are dependent on the sites visited, whether we need to repeat dives and suchlike. What I like to do before every class is to give everyone a good idea of the ballpark figure for the total cost of the course including logistics so that there are no surprises.
Any more questions?
If you have a question about the GUE Tech 1, it’s probably worth asking. So use the comments fields below to ask away. You never know, your question might even make it to the main page!
The other thing that you can do to get more detailed information, preparation hints and course openings is to sign up to my “I’m interested in GUE Tech 1” email list. It’s completely free and you’ll learn something useful too.