Diving is an activity with a high level of physical & mental stress. Sport (recreational) is stressful, technical diving is even more! That’s why we need to be in an appropriate status all the time in order to enjoy diving in a safe manner, return to our family and friends and plan further adventurous activities and explorations trips.
Signing the 2020 medical screening self-declaration form is a good practice but does not really protect you as a diver but the professional (Dive Center, Instructor, or Divemaster).
Depending on the country and local legislation, the validity of your medical form can be of 1 or 2 years. Anyway, keep in mind that, as with any medical check, your medical fitness level is certified as “good” at that present moment and it may alternate in the future. Therefore, is your responsibility to stay up to date physically & mentally by regularly practicing exercises and following an adequate diet.
As I always say, SCUBA diving insurance is highly recommended but does not make miracles, and maintaining a good fitness level IS in your hands only. Knowing first response procedures is very useful but again, a good fitness level will be always a bonus for the provider (and especially, from Rescue Diver level up).
Consult with your physician and keep him updated with your medical status in order to get best medical advises and treatments.
Maintaining a good physical & mental level is at the end, a moral obligation. Is for you (and your family and friends) and is for your diving team or dive buddy. If you are in troubles in-water/underwater due to your poor medical fitness, you will affect the entire dive team and even the entire dive operation.
Performing a medical check (diving and non-diving related) is not just for the signed paper. Being proactive, you may discover in advance some hidden or not-yet developed medical issues and you may have good time in advance to correct and even improve the situation!
Diving is fun but is in our hands to make it, and fitness level is one of the cards from the overall puzzle (ANDI’s ATKEE principles).
Black Sea – located in the SE of Europe, is a unique environment which despite its name, is quite diving friendly. Well… is not quite a Red Sea or the Mediterranean Sea, but for sure, is beautiful! In the next chapter, I will talk a bit about SCUBA diving in the Romanian Black Sea coast sector with which I am familiar. Other Black Sea coastal areas might have similar or different particularities. Contact a local dive center(s) for collecting the right and up-to-date information.
We are diving the Black Sea all year round. Anyway, the preferred season is beginning summer – half autumn, starting sometime in June and ending sometime beginning of October. With plus/minus.
Weather & winds: Unfortunately, everything is related to the weather, respectively to the wind direction.
In the north part of our coastline is the Danube Delta and everything else is south of it, and with the predominant wind from NE which blows down all the muddy water, the visibility is heavily affected by the weather. Danube Delta is a UNESCO Heritage – a fabulous place to visit, approx 150Km North of Constanta.
When winds blow from the South, clear and cold water is brought from the deep waters of Bosporus,and visibility is greatly increased.
And one more thing… there are no big bays or islands to break down the winds or currents. So… better have your passport in your hands, just in case. Just kidding!
Also, another characteristic of the Black Sea is… is very moody! We need a large window of good weather ahead to go out at sea. Websites as Windguru & Windy are constantly monitored, as well as marine VHF channel 25 for last-minute weather reports. We had dives when the sea status changed even in one hour from flat to choppy.
Visibility: average: 5…8m. Extremes: -0.5 to +20mtrs. 5m is decent and good visibility to enjoy any dive. Black Sea dive!
Water temperature: from +4degC in the winter to +27degC in the summer (surface) with strong thermocline anywhere below -10m…-15m down to 8-10deg C. So in the summertime is very common to have a 15-20deg C difference between surface and bottom.
This requires the diving plan to be well-executed, teamwork and coordination, otherwise overheating in the drysuit is not a good idea.
Warm water comes with lots of plankton and vegetation. Which drops the visibility. Not so friendly for underwater video photographers.
Salinity: Black Sea salinity is very low, almost as freshwater. Excellent for “out of mask” situation 😊and bit less weight ballast 😃 Plus that we use Steel cylinders for backmount, Aluminium cylinders for sidemount.
Wrecks: our area of expertise! We love wrecks, we dive wrecks, we know wrecks inside outside. With +29 years of sea experience, we embedded in our DNA & breathe ships & wrecks!
Best ones: the warship Russian destroyer Moskva and the two Russian submarines (SC-213 & Malyutka XII).
In some wrecks, penetration is possible, of course, with proper qualification, team & gear. For wreck diving training – You Xiu, Sadu and Paris are offering excellent profiles in depth and complexity.
Depths: from -22m to -45m. We require for all divers to be qualified minimum Advanced Open Water + Basic Nitrox and for some wrecks (over -35… -38m) – a minimum TDI Deco Procedures, ANDI Technical SafeAir Diver L3 or equivalent. This is due to the distance from the safe haven combined with the harsh conditions (thermocline, currents, visibility) as we try to minimize any possible reason for an unwanted event.
Medical fitness: all divers are required to be in a minimum decent physical shape! Overweighted and under influence of alcohol or drugs – not accepted. We do not support smokers therefore, we suggest you refrain from your unhealthy habit for the duration of our activities. The new medical form must be filled up and signed by all participants.
HBOT: in Constanta, we are proud to have a private high-class medical facility with a qualified team, in case of emergency and also, for regular check-ups or specialized medical examinations.
Sealife: quite rich I can say, depending on the season. Sea horses, pipefish, gobies, crabs, jellyfish, all sorts of local fish, even stingrays, and sometimes, dolphins.
Sunken city Tomis: just 150m distance from our dive center. Dive into history! Max depth: -6m to -8m.
Easy dives but very interesting site, good for training and check/try/refresh dive, rich in sea life and history!
Callatis: presently Mangalia city, located approx 40Km South of Constanta. Depth: -3m to -9m.
To visit: Histria, Adamclisi – historical places. Murfatlar is a great place if you like some good wine. Good restaurants in the city with traditional and international cuisine. Rich nightlife in Mamaia Resort, just north of Constanta with a great beach (very recently extended!) with lots of night party clubs.
South of Constanta – a dozen large resorts are offering all kinds of entertaining for day and night visitors.
Techirghiol – another famous place, very well known for its therapeutical mud!
Covid19: this is as you know, ongoing situation. We try to comply as much as possible or exceed regulation, when possible (including UV lamp in the technical room, for example), but we need to keep eye on the local and international movements as things might change at the last minute
Other diving locations in Romania: caves (Isverna), mines, lakes.
Latest updates: as of April 2021, any recreational diving activity is under surveillance and control of the Romanian Navy Dive Center. Unfortunately, the totalitarian monopoly of a governmental military institution with NO international accreditations, experience, training, standards, or knowledge of any kind of our recreational/technical diving activities is coming with a heavy negative impact on our businesses. At this moment, the APSR (a private NGO of Romanian professional recreational divers) is in discussions with high governmental institutions in order to clarify and establish a professional relationship between recreational/technical divers and other parties.
As such, most of our activity will be temporarily re-design, including for overseas training and activities. Will keep you updated!
For any additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at:
When is time to choose your dive computer and/or decompression algorithm… the market is rich in options for both needs. Sometimes confusing and too technically explained.
The below descriptions are not to go deep into the decompression theories or dive computers settings but rather just to give you a quick, basic and clear (I hope) description of what to expect. For dive deco theory you can find tons of good information online and normally is explained (on different levels) during the basic & advanced technical courses too.
What Is an Algorithm used in Dive Computers?
In a simple words, a dive computer algorithm is a mathematical formula(s) used to calculate your diving profile in the safest (theoretical) mode taking into considerations some factors: depth(s) and time at that specific depth(s), gas mixture(s), cylinders pressure/volume, ascent rate and mandatory deco/safety stops, surface interval between dives, water temperature, physical fitness (heart beats per minute), diving conditions etc.
The main goal of a dive computer algorithms is to keep therisk of decompression sickness(DCS) to an acceptable level based on theoretical models as per the latest research in the industry and data (set up into the dive computer) from actual dives.
Everything is just at a theoretical level!
But the future is already here so the science is with us: O’Dive Doppler technologyis giving you the opportunity to do a real on-site N2 micro-bubbles measurements post dive and see, adjust and improve your Quality Index diving profile!
As you already might noticed, various dive computers are using various decompression algorithms which leads to slightly different diving profiles.
GF – Gradient Factor – is the latest trend in the industry (integrated into many technical diving computers) and is defining as: “GF are presented as a fraction of the maximum inert gas “supersaturation” or M-value that can be tolerated by each of the theoretical tissue types or “compartments” (ZH-16) considered by the Buhlmann model without resulting in DCS.”
The above details are not to be taken as accurate 100% but just as basic reference. There are many variations of the presented algorithms, not scope of my presentation.
Diving theory is extremely complex subject with lots of pro and cons on all sides.
Few personal recommendations:
Do your research before purchasing a diving computer. I know the price (your budget) is the number one criteria, but look a bit further for your needs (present & future).
Try to understand the settings (and keep them updated as per your dive plan) & limitations of your dive computer. Read the manual, ask a professional opinion!
Set & Adjust your decompression algorithm based on YOUR profile and not on your buddies! Simply because a Gradient Factor set-up works (apparently) good on your buddy doesn’t mean necessarily that will work (good) for you too!
Keep in mind that not every dive is the same and not every day your body is the same (in fact, getting older and more “gnawed” day by day therefore attention must be increased into extending/improving the safety margins).
There is no perfect and guaranteed diving algorithm & diving computer. Therefore, accidents, including DCS might happened. If you want to be 100% safe, choose a good Netflix documentary and watch it on while relaxing on your sofa.
Same computers (same brand) with small different inside setting can give different diving profiles therefore buddy check should include the diving computer basic too.
Who knows, maybe in 10 or 20 years, the methods used today will be considered outdated and unsafe and other theories and devices will support our hobby. Till then, stick to what is good known and proved so far.
Stay updated with the latest news & research, be flexible in understanding and applying the science in your diving activities.
SCUBA diving activity is often classified as “extreme” sport for most of the regular insurers. And mentioned with very small size characters, under some obscure clauses and conditions on the bottom of your contract.
HBOT services are totally “alien” terminology, helicopter evacuations are nightmares and everything which means money “out” from their accounts is avoided as much as possible.
Dedicate and qualified (medical & diving) support? No way!
Which makes overall the regular insurance quite unreliable.
But luckily for us, there are some good insurance players on the SCUBA diving market, focused on quality and fair services.
Divers Alert Network: is a global player, with regional office covering America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Japan & South Africa.
DAN is offering services from dive training and research into diving medicine to specialized diving & traveling insurances, ranging from Sport, Professional & Club to Family, each one with Bronze, Silver & Gold options.
Medical & HBO treatments, hospitalization, evacuation and repatriation, equipment lost, disability & death, legal expenses & travel assistance and more, are covered.
As Business Partner, T101® is offering support in selecting best option for your needs, at no extra costs.
For US residents only: Diving & Non-Diving related Insurance (Gold & Platinum), for a Single-Trip (Standard, Deluxe, Elite) and Multi-Trip (Deluxe);
Europe & the rest of the World: Long term or short term Personal Diving Accident Plan (“DiveSafe“) as well as Dive Travel coverage (“Dive&Travel“) to any destination worldwide available for any number of days (up to 180 consecutive days) or a full year. They offer a Liveaboard coverage, including hyperbaric treatments and also trip (Dive&Travel and Dive&Travel Plus) cancellation, trip interruption, missed connection, lost baggage and much more. And COVID19 related issues! And Medical advises too!
As authorized dealer, T101® is assisting you in choosing your best insurance (DAN Europe or DiveAssure) option for you, at no extra cost for your final purchase (What You See Is What You Get).
The yearly cost for a SCUBA diving insurance it can be considered peanuts if you divide the insurance price per 365 days/year. One week-end evening outside (bar or restaurant) and you may spent even more than an annual scuba diving insurance!
A helicopter evacuation in some remote areas can easily go up to USD20K! (I witness a real story).
HBOT sessions only can go easily anywhere between 400-600euros/session (Again, I witness a real story).
In order to keep your insurance valid, know your Liability Coverage & dive within your certification limits!!!
There are many other global and local players in the diving industry market. Analyze and compare carefully and chose one which you think it might fit best for you, but never ever dive without a valid one.
At T101®, we take safety very seriously and training in First Response is one of our strong points. We offer a wide range of First Response / Firs Aid courses under the highest standards and accreditation of two well known and reputable agencies:
The well known Divers Alert Network is involved World Wide for over 30 years in diving insurances, research, training & education, being a point of reference in the entire diving industry (sport & commercial, military etc).
Divers Alert Network Europe: accredited by US Coast Guard, Italian Coast Guard, Finnish Boarder Guard, Italian Red Cross, Italian Carabinieri, Apnea Academy, VIT Germany, WASD Europe, LIFRAS Belgium, NOAA, Association of Diving Contractors International, Swiss Resuscitation Council etc
First Response International is part of the big family
Extra online support (Zoom/Skype), class theory review, practical hands-on with Demo & Real AED – mannequin – medical & DAN Europe O2 kit, written exams & post-course analyzing & debriefing.
*The First Response courses are compulsory for professional sport SCUBA diving instructors and highly recommended for all divers and non-divers (seaman’s, athletes, parents, workers etc).
All certifications are valid for two years after which renewal (refresh course) is required.
In these days, knowing a basic life support / first aid procedures is not a caprice but a real necessity. From an office to a shipyard work, family to outdoor activities, knowing BASIC procedures in providing first aid is extremely important.
I consider myself a very dynamic person and diver. My motto is simple: Discipline-Travail-Succès
And so is T101® of which Vision, Mission and Values are focusing for more, better & safer by offering extra top services and experiences:
Personalized fitness & nutrition programs
Body Composition Scanning (Weight & Body Mass Index, Body Fat Muscle, Resting Metabolic Rate, Visceral Fat) and Blood Pressure test.
Providing full first aid kit with Oxygen, SpO2, and (real) Automated External Defibrillator, including for training.
First certified HIRA 2 Dive Center from Romania, showing our commitment for safety & quality in our services and operations.
Using 30W UV bactericidal lamp – disinfection station in the dive center
What means this for you? You can plan your dive (NSR/Deco, Gases, Bottom Time, Run Time, GF, nutrition & hydration, physical effort etc) and execute the plan. After the dive, a series of Doppler measurements are taken and YOUR personal profile is analyzed to see the efficiency of YOUR planning.
Then, we can fine-tuning your next planning (bottom gas, additional deco times, O2 deco, Gradient Factors Low/High) to improve your Quality Index of your dive profile – for less “micro-bubbles” and safer dives!
Excited to find out how is your body really dealing with the decompression stress after a dive?
We are thrilling too to share together the future!
Stay tuned & stay alert! You will love it!
T101 is accredited dive center:
Latest updates December 2020: The O’Dive Pro connected service is appointed as Recommended Practice by TOTAL in its October 2020 Diving Safety Flash bulletin.
Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Journal: The study was carried out by the hyperbaric caisson of the Brussels and DAN Military Hospital.The study’s conclusion states:′′ The O ‘ Dive system can help increase diving safety by instantly sensitizing divers to the potential consequences of some types of diving behavior.It was noted that this type of monitoring reinforced divers in their safe diving habits or encouraged them to change their diving planning. We don’t know if it’s a lasting effect.”
Designed with a black soft frame combined with the UltraViolet lens protection, the OMS Tattoo is real efficient in strong sun and light reflection from the sea & sand, making it extremely comfortable to be worn in every condition.
The mask glass is tempered CE which assure the diver that is having a good quality product!
The shape of the glass allows the diver to have an excellent view angle, especially in the lower part of the field. Excellent in case of reading very important information, like the PO2 indicated by your JJ-CCR Head Up Display.
Volume size: medium, easy to be cleared in case of water “flooding”.
The mask fits very well on the face thanks to the two folds and the composition of the material. Even with a beard and mustache, water does not enter very easily, almost not at all!
Head strap is very comfortable and is giving a good adjustment and grip. A mask cover strap can be added to increase the maneuverability, even with one hand operation.