How is the GUE Fundamentals course relevant to recreational divers?

You might have heard about the Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) Fundamentals course through your “hard-core” diving friends who love exploring caves and wrecks.

Or perhaps you came across it while googling for information on how to improve your scuba diving and buoyancy control.

Either way, you’re probably wondering: Is this course relevant to me, if I’m simply into recreational diving?

We get this question a lot. Contrary to popular belief, the GUE Fundamentals course is ultimately a recreational course. It doesn’t have to lead to technical or cave diving, although the course is also a gateway to GUE’s more advanced diver training options.

The skills taught in the course are relevant to any diver regardless of certification level and where you dive. It doesn’t matter whether you’re diving over a reef, in a cave, on a wreck or 50m deep—the importance of being able to handle yourself well in any type of underwater location simply can’t be understated.

One of the objectives of the Fundamentals course is to allow you to become better at the basics of diving, that is, to improve your awareness, buoyancy and communication underwater. Coupled with a focus of diving in a team, the GUE Fundamentals course makes you a much better dive partner. You’ll emerge from the course with a better knowledge and understanding of how to interact with others while diving, and how to deal with situations that arise.

Some might also ask: Shouldn’t I have already acquired these skills at the Open Water courses? Well, the short answer is no.

The GUE Fundamentals course doesn’t just hone your skills of buoyancy, trim, balance and propulsion, but it also teaches you to streamline your equipment configuration, plan a dive, manage your gas, and master a number of drills, including how to deploy a surface marker safely and effectively. More details here.

A useful analogy likens regular recreational diving to amateur dance classes, while the GUE methodology is more akin to ballet, where the strict focus on form and technique produces a dancer with a much higher skill level.

Whether you progress to more advanced diving after the GUE Fundamentals course is completely up to you. Even on a recreational dive, having solid underwater skills is useful. After all, having fun on a reef is an objective in itself.

Plus, if everyone has better skills, we’ll enjoy the underwater environment without causing damage to the reef—or to ourselves!

Leon Boey is a GUE, HSA and PADI instructor based in Singapore and Bali. He runs the dive education centre Livingseas in Singapore, Bali and Jakarta. Diving since 2005, he first fell in love with wrecks. He enjoys all sorts of diving, and loves being surrounded by fish.

Discussions — 4 Responses

  • Cas March 1, 2016 on 1:54 pm

    ” Well, the short answer is no.” Wrong ! It should be yes and no. Why yes ? Well, a decent open water course should include enough training in buoyancy to enable a certified ow diver to decently hover as not to damage the reef. But not as little as apparently is the standard.
    Why no ? Because Fundamentals level is more than buoyancy and trim and that is out of the OW course’s scope.
    Producing students that do damage reefs or any other part of the underwater environment is unfortunately almost the standard. And that is not only damaging for the environment but also for the diving industry as a whole.

  • Leon Boey March 4, 2016 on 1:50 pm

    Excellent response Cas! I think you hit the nail on the head!

    On another post, maybe I’ll discuss the issues that scope or lack thereof in the OW course… Thanks for the idea!

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