My SSI Diver Stress &Rescue Experience with KAIA Underwater Academy

So, I’ve been diving quite awhile, and I decided that it’s time to further upgrade myself as a scuba diver by signing up for SSI Diver Stress &Rescue. I wanted to be not only a better diver, but a better buddy as well. You see, the more I dive, the more I feel like I’m insufficient. I feel that skill upgrade is a necessity if I were to keep diving; even more so if I were to continue diving in challenging sites that’s nothing like an aquarium-holiday environment. Self preservation and keeping my buddies safe throughout my dives is a priority. To me diving is not just for fun, but comes with great responsibility.

To cut the long story short, I signed up for SSI Diver Stress &Rescue with KAIA Underwater Academy. Mr.Suhaimi Salleh was my instructor. I’ve already done 4 specialties with KAIA Underwater Academy and the experience was excellent.

KAIA Underwater Academy provides fuss-free environment for students where you have the option to attend academic sessions online. Exam and knowledge review is done efficiently via online apps as well.

Learning with them is really flexible and my classes with them are usually private- aside from my husband who signed up for the same course and attend all classes with me, my courses with them were practically a one- to- one session with my instructor; which is great, cuz I’m quite a slow learner and it’s very student focused. I wouldn’t be able to benefit otherwise.

Anyway, here’s sharing my experience while taking SSI Diver Stress &Rescue.

SSI Diver Stress &Rescue is by far not only the most challenging but also the most fun and rewarding diving course I’ve ever signed up for. To complete the course, candidates are required to complete 4 parts of the course; first aid& CPR or SSI React Right course, academic session, confined water session as well as open water session. I was exempted from the first aid/first responder and CPR part as I was already a Basic Life Support Provider when I signed up for the course.

Like I mentioned earlier, the academic portion of the course was done online via apps and via zoom.

In the zoom classroom with my instructor, Mr. Suhaimi Salleh.

The real fun begins during confined water in the pool.

Here, we were taught how to self-rescue. Yes, people. It’s a misconception that Rescue Diver course only teaches you to save other divers. Of course, that’s true too, but rescue course basically teaches this; ‘Me before you’. It teaches self preservation where you learn how to take care of yourself first before taking care of others or saving others. All the skills are first taught in confined water environment first before proceeding into open water.

Part of self-rescue skills being performed; regulator recovery, remove and replace BCD on surface and underwater, no mask swim, one fin swim, breathing through free-flow regulator etc. This is all about managing problems underwater.

We were also given plenty of scenarios to work on; eg: Rescuing other divers- tired diver tow, unconscious diver, uncooperative/panic diver rescue. This is the most fun part of the course if you ask me, cuz our ‘victim’ are usually Drama Kings or Drama Queens whose acting are terribly exaggerating. It’s hard to hold back laughter. But still, these ‘victims’ are not to be underestimated as they are on a mission to give you troubles as you perform the skills, and you need to be able to remain calm and perform well regardless of the stress they put on you.

SSI Diver Stress &Rescue candidates are required to perform skills in the open water as well, so I opted to do it at the lake that I usually frequent for my weekend fundives. My open water sessions were held at Bandar Saujana Putra Lake and it kicks off with briefing on what skills we would perform, and what scenarios we would have to go through before passing the course.

Now, diving there for fun is one thing. Diving there while performing skills for certification is another thing altogether.

It’s very challenging because the visibility at this dive site can be really nasty. Regardless of the time of the day you dive, it’s always dark in there. It’s always like a night dive.

On good days, it’s usually just 2m Vis max. On bad days, it can be just about 1m, with loads of sediments floating around.

The SSI Diver Stress &Rescue Course is very challenging, and I did not think I did very well in certain areas.

I had to repeat some skills before my instructor was satisfied to earn my certification, but at the end of the day, I managed with my instructor’s patience and guidance. And I am truly grateful for that. There are room for improvements and I intend to practice the skills, so more weekend training sessions for me, I guess.

So what did I gained throughout the entire course? Well, there’s a lot, but gaining confidence as a diver and improving my diving skills tops the list. Apart from that, it helps in increasing awareness of diver safety, and I’ve learned how to prevent & manage problems underwater.

Earned my Master Diver recognition from SSI after completing the SSI Diver Stress &Rescue course. A yay to that.

If you ask me whether or not Rescue Diver course is worth taking, I’d definitely say yes. It is by far the most rewarding course in SSI that I’ve ever signed up for. So yes…if you’re a scuba diver and thinking of upgrading your skills by taking Rescue Diver course, just go for it. It will without a doubt benefit you as a diver in the long run.

Pictures credit to Ms. Syahnaz Adila from KAIA Underwater Academy.

Thank you to my instructor Mr.Suhaimi Salleh and KAIA Underwater Academy for everything. I certainly look forward to continuing my education with you again in the near future.

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