Sidemount is become very popular in the last 6 years, most agency create Instructors but most of them has poor or no training at all on the configuration and they dive it just few times.
That is a problem because we have a lot of sidemount trained divers with very poor knowledge about the correct techniques to apply, creating a lot of controversial way to see sidemount in general.
Than what we need to find in a proper sidemount course?
- First of all a prepared instructor who dives the rig daily, at very high levels and has received proper training.This eliminate a lot of problem for the student who can receive a course with all the correct information in it.
- Second: the possibility to try a sidemount harness and regulators, or at least have very honest advise and input from the Instructor before to start the course and avoid to buy unproper equipment because you find some false professor on a social media.
- Third, the course need proper time to be proper done, avoid shortcuts that will cost you more in time and money. Proper schedule for a course is a minimum of 4 days divided in classes, confined water and open water.
Academic classes will be: theory, equipment setting and dry drills.
Confined water will cover all the equipment fine tuning, swimming techniques, emergency and a stress circuit with critical exercises.
Open water dive will happen only when you will be comfortable with trim, buoyancy and emergency and will be completed with 3 to 4 dives.
A final exam must be done with a minimum score of 80%.
Now you have an idea what to ask to your dive shop/ Instructor, never stop asking questions even during the course and you will become a good sidemount diver, able to dive and enjoy all the sides of the configuration.