Safer Diving.
Better Decisions.
More Fun.
Less Stress.

Human Factors Skills in Diving - Micro Class

Most diving accidents or incidents are not down to undetected failures or even detected failures, they are down to miscommunication, poor decision making, inexperience, peer pressure, poor teamwork...and yet none of the training courses formally teach this in an integrated manner.

Improve your decision-making, situational awareness and communication to make your diving more fun, instruction more effective and diver safer in the process.

This is a modular online course with more than 3 hours of engaging and detailed material split into 15 minute sections, with additional research-based resources provided for those who want to delve deeper.

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Human Factors Skills in Diving - Two-day Course

This two-day course is globally unique in diving. It combines GemaSim, a computer-based simulation developed specifically for personal and team performance development, with decades of human factors research and practice distilled and condensed into a structured and coherent framework. This premium course is for instructors, instructor trainers and those who are exposed to higher levels of risk (cave and technical diving) to improve their personal and team performance, and improve their safety as a by-product.

The course has been taken by Training Directors of four leading technical agencies (GUE, IANTD, TDI and SSI XR) - all would thoroughly recommend the course and have implemented lessons learned in their own practice.


Class Testimonials

“Two-day Class: It immediately became apparent that this was an active, high-participation, practical course balanced with the right level of theory. The skills I have learned will be of huge benefit to me personally and my team, and not just in relation to diving and my diver medical training either. Excellent! Thoroughly recommended. So much so, we are going to be hosting more courses here”

~ Chantelle Newman-Taylor, Owner 'The Diver Medic'

“Two-day Class: A unique and beneficial two-day journey into the best (and ‘other’) practices in communicating, learning, performing and diving as a team. Despite having been taught CRM for the last 20 years in aviation, I now realise how little I knew.”

~ Michael Puz, Airline training captain, Recreational Diving Instructor, Rebreather diver.

“ Micro-class: I now have a list of 20 good and bad comm behaviors. My list. Not your list. Mine. This is likely overwhelming. How can I fix all this underwater? Well... Taking a class with hands-on instruction, practice, simulation and feedback (with video!) suddenly seems like a functional solution. Love the focus on dive instructors. Many of them suck at this and no one tells them (because many course directors aren't any better at this, and the last thing a new diver wants is to do is piss off the instructor (who is going to take them underwater for the first time) by giving critical feedback on their teaching behaviors. Instructor's personal professional improvement can only come when they acknowledge the problem and commit to options and resources to help them improve.”

~ Claudette Dorsey, Surgical RN Educator

“Micro-class: The situational awareness module is my favourite so far because the 3-step model gave structure to the idea that brought it to life for me. Now I can do something with SA, rather than nod at the concept. Lots has been written about SA and much of it is vague 'be aware of what's around you' stuff, which I've found hard to translate into in-water behaviour. I found the supporting info section for this module very interesting, too...the level of the course is spot-on, not too technical but not Noddy and Big Ears, and the further info sections mean it's possible to ramp up the depth/complexity as interest and comprehension allows. Were I to be paired with a rent-a-buddy I'd be a lot more comfortable diving with them if I knew they'd taken this course.”

~ Fergal Caroll

“Two-day Class: Very good course of huge relevance to all who participate in Technical Diving or any other potential risk activities that require management. I cannot recommend this program enough.”

~ Phil Short, IANTD Instructor Trainer Trainer, Explorer

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How many diving accidents, incidents or near misses that you know about were down to the lack of technical skills or failure of equipment? I am betting not too many. Do these sound familiar?

  • "I didn't think that was going to happen"
  • "We didn't brief the plan, so I was surprised when he did that"
  • "We entered the wreck but no-one had talked about that"
  • "I thought that he had analysed the gas"

Doesn't happen to you? This attitude is a common human behaviour (fundamental attribution error and 'distancing through differencing') where we try to convince ourselves that we are different and these things happen to other people.

Recent research has shown that 44% of SCUBA diving incidents had complacency as a contributory factor, 39% overconfidence, 36% as error in judgement, 33% poor or failure to communicate...these are not technical failures...

What do you mean Human Factors in Diving Skills?

This two-day blended theory and practical course is aimed at Instructors, Instructor Trainers, divers who undertake mandatory decompression and cave diver. The course will develop your:

  • - Situational awareness, so that you are aware of limitations to human attention and information processing and therefore how we can improve these.
  • - Decision making, so that you understand how to make more effective decisions given the way our brain works, sometimes this means forcing ourselves to sit on our hands and pause.
  • - Communications, by understanding the barriers to effective communications and developing enablers such as assertion skills and improved questioning techniques, even in uncertain and stressful situations.
  • - Cooperation, by understanding leadership styles and techniques for different scenarios, what the skills and traits of an effective leader and follower are, and how to develop and build teams in dynamic and changing environments, a common occurrence in diving.
  • - Knowledge and understand the effects of Performance Shaping Factors such as stress and fatigue. The course will show you what your triggers and signs of personal stress are, and the effect they have on personal and team performance.

Course Format

The two-day class combines a mixture of theory, practical and computer-based simulation to develop these human factors or non-technical skills in a non-threatening but involved manner. The use of reflective participant-led debriefs, combined with video, means that true behaviours can be observed and developed. You will be surprised at how far you will come over the two days. The skills learned on this course are not just relevant to diving, but are equally applicable in your day-to-day job be that a manager, a doctor, paramedic, electrician or teacher.

The optimal size for this class is six, with the minimum required being four. This enables the different roles of operator and observer to be completed effectively.

Course costs include tuition, handout notes, completion certificate, four post-class follow-up coaching emails to reinforce learning and lunch/refreshments during the day. Payment is via credit card (Stripe). If you have a discount code, enter it at the checkout and the discount will be applied then.



I often get asked "Why does the two-day class cost what it does?"

The simple answer is that quality costs money. It has taken me years to develop my own knowedge to be able to design and deliver this class, and as a consequence have the ability to improve the performance of all divers who attend this class, ranging from 'fun' divers through to instructor trainers of technical diving agencies. Every diver on the course has learned something new, either about themselves to improve their own performance, or skills which they can take away and apply to their own diving, instruction or daytime job. Divers who have ranged from explorers and instructor trainer trainers, through to free diving coaches, all the way down to 'fun' divers. 

Often heard on the course, "Brilliant course, so glad I attended, I've learned loads, everyone should do something like this. However, I don't know how you are going to market it!"  I believe that value will market itself.

“How to teach an instructor to influence their students in a positive way is always difficult. An understanding of these human factors is a very powerful tool that will be useful to any instructor candidate. I will be incorporating some of the ideas in my instructor development work. Gareth's training has given me tools that I will use to help my students understand how to communicate, lead and follow. These tools are a more-concrete approach to the problem, rather than the pragmatic ad-hoc approach I currently use.”

~ Richard Walker, Technical Instructor Trainer & Evaluator, Global Underwater Explorers"

Secondly, GemaSim, the computer-based simulation is a corporate development tool and the licencing for this is pricing at corporate rates. It has been developed using experience in civil and military aviation and registered psychohologists using validated behavioural marker schemes to ensure consistency. 

Finally, the skills learned on this course are not just applicable to diving, they are professional development skills which can be used in your day job or life in general.

  • - Being able to develop situational awareness and understand what it really means, not just a 'nod' towards the term.
  • - Understand the cognitive biases we personally face when making decisions and come up with strategies to not fail as a consequence.
  • - Develop and practice effective communications recognising the barriers to our own communication and using tools to improve communication and reduce conflict.
  • - Understand and use the different leadership skills needed for each stage of team development, teams which include instructors and students, or dive centres and their staff.
  • - Understand what it is to be a good follower within a team, and what is needed to support the leader.  

The skills on this course are the same that are taught to medical teams in intensive care units to improve patient safety, the same as those taught to oil and gas workers to ensure production and safety are not compromised, and the same as those taught to the men and women who are involved in aviation to maintain aircraft and passenger safety.

This is a professional development course, taught using a diving frame of reference.

A diving course gives you skills for being in the water. The Human Factors Skills in Diving training programmes give you skills for life, to make your diving, learning and exploration safer and more fun, plus a more enjoyable life in general.

On completion of the two-day course there is a certificate, t-shirt, training materials in soft-copy and briefing/debriefing guides which can be used in your own diving or instruction..

For those who can't or don't want to commit to the two-day class, a significant amount of the theory used in the practice-based two-day class is contained within the online class. In fact, completion of the online class is a pre-requisite for the two-day class. Once you have finished all elements of the online micro-course, you are presented with a certificate of completion.


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