What Precision Diving is Really About

I’ve always prided myself on doing a good job. I strive to give people what they want and to exceed their expectations. When I started to get emails questioning my motives and eventually started getting more hate emails, I took it rather personally. However, it has occurred to me, that many people don’t know why I write about the things I’ve written and why I teach the things I do. So let me fill you in on what Precision Diving is really about.

When I first started down the path of becoming an independent scuba instructor, many other instructors and dive store “employees” criticized my teaching style by saying that I was only trying to show off how good I was compared to my students. Basically, I was only teaching to satisfy my own ego. I have two girls, ages 6 and 3. Everyday they tell me that I’m the best scuba diver in the world. If I need a boost to my ego, I’ll talk to my girls, not my scuba buddies.

If you ask my previous scuba diving students, they’ll tell you that other than during skill demonstrations, they don’t see me very much. Except for my blue glove in their face getting ready to remove their mask. So If I wanted to show off to students, why would I hang out in the shadows where they can’t see me? I don’t need to show off. The only person I need to impress is me and so far, I’m not impressed.

The latest round of criticism I’m experiencing is I’m using my web site to spark negativity to the “industry” in order to drive potential students my way. While I do recognized that many of my previous ramblings haven’t been in the best of light. I, in no way, am trying to put anyone down in hopes potential students will come my way instead. A dive store on the west coast wrote to me defending why they run run short classes. Why would a dive store on the west coast care what I do here in the Midwest?

There have been dive stores that didn’t like my product review of the HOG regulators. I didn’t think I was overly hard on the HOG regulator I had. However, the HOG regulator reviews I’ve read have come from dealers. Any bias there? I have tried to be impartial and unbiased in my product reviews. I’m not a dealer, so I have no vested interest in what people buy.

The truth is, I do have an agenda for everything I do. I have one goal for everyone who reads this and takes a class from me. That is to start thinking about your diving. Are you planning your dives properly? Are you conducting your dives properly? Are you asking the right questions to potential instructors? I want you to pause and think about the things I’ve written and said. I don’t care if you use backplates or jacket BCDs, long hose or short hoses, split fins or stiff. I don’t care. I want you to use the pile of mashed potatoes that God smushed between your ears.

There it is. That’s what Precision Diving is really about. Whether you are a simply a reader or are taking a class from me, I want to create thinking divers. Divers who, not only think about their dives, but think about where they are spending their money (on diving) and thinking about what kind of class that will make them better. When you start to think about the decisions you make about your diving, the more you will enjoy the dives you do.

My good friend Jim C recently summed it up very well. “You are really to be commended for what you do with the website, newsletters and Facebook in providing a positive and enthusiastic presence in the Midwest diving community and in promoting active participation. You are doing something that no one else is doing. By unabashedly fostering clear-headed, no-nonsense information and ideas in training, safety and best practices in support of rational diving, while also emphasizing the fun and excitement of diving – you are providing a great service. You are a voice in the wilderness, dude.”

About Duane Johnson

Duane Johnson is the founder of Precision Diving and runs a scuba diving blog to help scuba divers improve their diving skills and enjoyment. He teaches recreational and technical scuba diving classes in the Chicago area. Learn more about him here and follow him on Twitter at @PrecisionDiving.


  1. Snowblind says:

    Not being from the states, I can’t say that I ”get” the situation, but from reading your posts as often as I can, I think I’m able to muster up a pretty good image of it. The same thing is going on in the balkans. Being blessed with the ability to drive to the sea in about 2 hours and dive some damn nice wrecks, we are ”overpopulated” with dive centers and instructors, each fiercly devoted to their own agency, be it PADI, ANDI, SSI or PSS, they all share a commonality, they bash the shit out of each other’s reptations and teaching mannerisms. The real challenge presents itsself when a would-be diver starts reading up and asking questions about where to train. The best sellers over here are the OWD course and of course, the all-too necessary specialties such as ”Boat Diver” or ”Buoyancy Control Specialist”. It’s all terribly competitive at this level, but one would expect that at the tech level, things would … well … level out.


    I have so far found only two tech instructors, both IT’s, who I’d entrust with my training. The others are at least knee deep in the smear contest, and teach the ”cheap and dirty” approach. One formulated a program for me, which included training, the ourchase of equipment and certification for about 1k€. It was a full trimix course. For me, then an AOWD.

    So I get ya, I really do. I hope you keep it up, because as long as people are writing you hate mail, it’s working. And they do so, because they notice the difference and are basically jeleous. Give it a year, they’ll be copying your courses.


  2. Duane,

    You’ve done it again. Don’t loose faith, stick to the plan for I believe it is the right one and for those who don’t get it, well too bad, so sad. Some time they will realized they need to use their head for more than a battering ram. As I had learned many years ago that diving is a “thinking mans” (Ladies inclusive) sport. Education is the process of learning. You’re stretching that envelop by challenging your students and readers. A true educator can facilitate learning but a facilitator cannot educate. A facilitator can be like an expert. And what is an expert, “A person who is from out of town with slides”. By challenging, you’ve created value. Keep it up.