The SideMount configuration is one where the dive tanks are carried on the sides of the diver’s body. Its roots are in cave diving. Cave divers that had to navigate restrictions tried various tank-carrying configurations until hitting upon the structured configuration known today throughout the world as SideMount.
Due to its numerous advantages this system was adopted by many divers for open water diving. Today the SideMount configuration is acknowledged worldwide, with leading equipment companies producing SideMount systems in different configurations.
The SideMount configuration has many advantages, including an immediate improvement in diver trim, comfort underwater, breathing supply redundancy and more.
Today every diver can purchase a SideMount system, but in order to make correct and efficient use of this system and fully enjoy its many benefits, the diver should take a specialized class where the required SideMount skills are taught.
The goal of this class is to introduce the diver to the world of SideMount diving, utilizing a unique buoyancy and tank configuration method. Divers which have dived with a single back mounted tank, allowing for shorter bottom times only, will now find that they need to be acquainted with a new system, additional gear, new skills, as well as improve their existing skills:
Class structure and topics:
Divers will spend most of their class time underwater in the open sea dealing with dive planning, simulated failures, teamwork, trim and propulsion techniques.
The class is very practically oriented, aimed at giving the diver the foundational skills needed to dive SideMount.
The in-class sessions will include the following topics: The new environment, procedures, dive planning, and more.
The equipment sessions will include the following topics: The SideMount configuration, correct fitting of a SideMount system to the diver, dealing with breathing supply failures, efficient gear setup when entering and exiting the water, introduction to navigating restrictions.
The skills taught in this Specialty Class are the basis of SideMount diving, and form the foundation of using this configuration in technical diving, cave and wreck diving.
A minimum of 3 days overall.
A minimum of 4 hours of in-water sessions.
Three classroom and equipment sessions.
Requirements for completion:
Certification and limits:
Due to the long bottom times attainable with two gas tanks, it is recommended that the diver be certified for NITROX use before or during the SideMount Specialty Class.
A Deep Diving Specialty certification is recommended as well.
Personal dive gear.
Fins: Non-split fins!
Spare dive mask.
The following may be supplied by the instructor if required:
It is recommended divers consult with the instructor before purchasing gear