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August 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 37, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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We Asked: Do You Download Your Dives?

the digital revolution is big in scuba

from the August, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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There's no doubt, digital computers have revolutionized our lives. In the 80s, divers argued whether dive computers were helpful and safe and whether they should replace diving watches and decompression tables. In those days they weren't always dependable, but they evolved, and today you'll rarely find a sport diver without a computer to manage a dive.

Just as your car computer readout on your dashboard can tell you much more than how fast you're driving or your range, dive computers provide a range of real-time details about your dive, and for posterity, you can download that information to your computer. Although dive computers have memories, most won't remember more than a couple of weeks' solid diving.

A data download provides a dive profile graph with depth plotted against time, even highlighting ascent speeds that may be too fast to be considered safe. Some will track or show bar charts of theoretical tissue gas loading, indicating how close the diver (really a theoretical diver) came to getting bent. Some sophisticated dive computers provide that information on their screens, but downloading to a computer with a larger screen makes it easier to review. It can become a permanent printed record. Gas-integrated computers will also plot air consumption, which too can be downloaded.

Just in case you don't download your dives, Look on the next page for a typical downloaded dive profile. The green spots indicate points where the diving computer went into deep-stop, deco-stop, and safety stop mode. The red spot marks a point where the diver exceeded the safe ascent speed.

So Why Download Your Dives?

In June 2014, Undercurrent published a piece about downloading dives with the final advice: "Do it if it makes you happy." Many divers go through long diving careers without downloading a single dive - about half the divers who responded to our questions don't download their dives - while others take great pleasure in examining the minutia of what they did underwater.

Typical Downloaded Dive Profile

Either way, it's essential to understand what your computer reports before diving with it - or downloading information afterward. Subscriber Lisa Evans (Fort Collins, CO) sums it up: "I'm not the most patient or studious learner of new technology. So, I guess the message is that if you want to have all the information from the start, you'd better pay attention to the details about how your computer works. Read the instructions carefully and get familiar with them. I did that for the computer, but not for the log app (Dive Log Plus)." And not reading it makes it difficult to use....


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