How to Be a Good Student
Add Helium is committed to provide the best possible training. Our comprehensive training program is physically and academically challenging. However, we do not believe that training from early morning until late at night provides the best learning environment. By streamlining and organizing the process, your training can be completed within a reasonable amount of time. Rest periods are essential in the learning process and allow you to be ready and eager to train the following day.
Successful learning is a two-way street! It takes more than our instructor and training program to ensure a most successful outcome. It also requires a student to be prepared, punctual and courteous to all involved. We offer the following guidelines, so that every student may receive the most from his/her training.
Prior to Class
Our class Concierge will inform you of where and when the first class begins. She can also provide you with basic information about the class. She will not be able to tell you exact pool locations, dive locations, depths or charter operators, as these details are dynamic and will be covered by our Customer Service Manager and/or your instructor in class.
First Day of Class
On your first day of class our Customer Service Manager will share with you the locations and times specific to your class. This will include telephone numbers, addresses and printed maps. It is up to you to account for additional time needed when stopping for gas or your morning coffee, etc. Morning and afternoon classes will start promptly. You may want to work with our Concierge to ensure your hotel is not too far from Add Helium or from the boat charters we use. Traffic in South Florida can be extremely challenging especially for morning boat dives, thus location is key to being prompt.
You can either bring your own lunch in the morning and store it in our refrigerator or you may select a lunch that is delivered by our local vendors. On the first day of class, those who wish to order will be offered a menu to pre-select lunches for the duration of the course. Either way, your lunch will be waiting for you when you arrive back at Add Helium after your morning dives. Or, it will be delivered to you at Add Helium prior to afternoon dives. The point being: There is insufficient time for you to “run out” for lunch.
Morning Boat Dives
You will normally meet your instructor at the charter boat. When your dives are over, it is essential that you return to Add Helium as soon as possible. We do not recommend stopping for lunch at all (see previous section “Lunch”). As soon as you return to Add Helium, you may rinse your unit and turn in your tanks for fills, ONLY. Please report to the class room promptly! Cleaning your gear, sorb fills, working on gear configurations, adjustments, etc. is something you will do when your afternoon academics are complete. While in class, your system has time to dry and our staff has time to fill your tanks, so they are ready to mount after lectures.
Afternoon Boat Dives
Your morning will begin at Add Helium with academics and you will proceed to the boat after lunch. Once the boat dives are completed in the afternoon, you may rinse gear, change sorb and give all your tanks to your instructor so they can be filled for the next day of diving. There is no need for you to return to Add Helium after these dives, unless extra academics or lectures are scheduled with advanced notice.
Be Ready to Dive
For entry-level rebreather students: Have your gear, as outlined in the equipment list provided by us, completely ready to go. Have all of your equipment tested for proper fit and function prior to class. Your equipment must be in good functioning order and it is every student’s responsibility to show up to class ready to dive. Your instructor is not the class repair technician and if your equipment needs any type of service, it will need to be managed by the technicians in the service department, BEFORE the first day of class. Bring all your dive gear to the first day of class so your instructor can review what you have.
For advanced level students: Your rebreather must be ready to dive the moment class begins. Yes, this means showing up the first day of class with your rebreather built, tested and ready to dive. We can provide tank fills and sorb. The first day is full of academics and ends with a pool class. There will be very limited time to build your unit and test it. Showing up the day prior to class is suggested if you need additional time to get things tested and working. Please be advised, we will do our best to repair small failures, etc. but cannot be held responsible if your equipment is not in good working order to complete class. As for the entry-level rebreather student, if your equipment needs any type of service, it will need to be managed by the technicians in the service department, BEFORE the first day of class.
Training agency standards and rebreather manufacturer regulations require the following protocols. Please, this is not a suggestion, it’s a requirement.
Your O2 sensors must be in-date and your entire system functional the first day of class. In addition to unexpired O2 sensors, all students must have O2 sensors that are approved by the manufacturer for their unit. Add Helium cannot train anyone with improper cells or non-approved modifications to his/her rebreather.
TruDive dive planning software is required for all level of classes and must be purchased prior to the start of class. Click here.
We highly recommend that you bring your laptop to class, so you can dive plan on your own computer.
Carry Spare Parts
Rebreather divers at any level of training must be self-sufficient and self-reliant. Of course, new rebreather students are not expected to know how to repair their unit. However, all rebreather students must have enough spare parts to keep their unit operational. This rule does not apply to those who rent a rebreather from Add Helium. Ask our Concierge what spares you should carry. At a minimum, it is recommended that all students have the following:
- Spare oxygen cell
- Spare mushroom valves
- Spare O-rings
- Spare batteries for all devices (more than one)
- Spare bailout regulators
- Basic tools to manage minor adjustments/repairs
Please note that the inventory in our warehouse is dynamic. Sometimes repair parts are out-of-stock, and thus not immediately available. Expedited shipping from a rebreather manufacturer is not always an option. Furthermore, the failure may occur on the boat after you have left the dock. For those reasons, Add Helium recommends that you order all of your needed parts at least 30 days prior to class
Advanced students please be advised that class time is not the time for experimentation, trying new setups or new equipment. If you are not proficient with gear, you may not bring it to class, unless you clear it with your instructor ahead of time. If you bring it to class, be sure it has been properly rigged, weighted, and used underwater by you. This is the best way to ensure that you will complete your class successfully. An alternative option is to come to Florida earlier if you need to and schedule a few dives prior to class to sort out your gear.
Things You May NOT Do During a Class
Try new equipment or gear configurations
- Reconfigure your harnesses
- Learn to dive a dry suit. If you wish to dive a dry suit in class, you must have experience on it
- Use new computers you have not had time to learn properly
- Try new weighting
- Use an underwater camera of any kind, even a Go-pro
- Come to class with a used rebreather that you have never been diving with before
Class starts on time, and boats leave on-schedule. We are stringent on this rule to be fair to the other students and the instructor. There is a fair amount of information that must be conveyed in a relatively short period of time. Unprepared students create a burden on the entire class. Do your best to be proactive and in control. Being early and prepared just makes sense! It gives you time to check out the area and snag the best parking spots. Remember the saying, “If you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late!”