THIS PUBLICATION HAS BEEN AROUND forever – well, since 1993 – and is effectively the manual for two US training agencies with which you might not be familiar, Scuba Educators International and PDIC International.
A cover flash says that it has sold 130,000 copies in that time, which is a lot. I don’t remember having seen it before, but the publisher sent us a copy of this, the new fifth edition.
It might surprise British sensibilities to see alongside the biog of the instructor-trainer who wrote the book a photo of him grinning triumphantly as he holds a large fish aloft, but he has certainly been around the block a few times. He was a former PADI training director and wrote the PADI Dive Manual before taking on a similar role for rival US agency NAUI.
This is both a how-to-dive guide and a reference book of diving designed for all levels. The really technical stuff is presented on blue pages as additional information to return to at a later stage if required.
There are also questions to ask yourself at the end of each section on science, equipment, skills, dive-planning and so on.
The fact that the book has been around so long suggests that it’s very unlikely to mislead you in any way. It is generously and very attractively illustrated to make its points as clearly as possible, and the text is well-written and unambiguous.
The only thing I could hold against it for British readers is that it is American, so has an inevitable slant that doesn’t always translate readily, from tank markings to favourite destinations (I don’t think California would head many British divers’ wishlists). The terminology inevitably varies too.
So as attractive as this book is, depending on your nationality it might not be your first choice of scuba reference.
Softback, 246pp, US $29.95