What means diving the D.I.R. style exactly? Googleing the terms “diving” and “D.I.R.” in combination gets you about 3.5 million hits in 0.07 seconds. A lot of information, but unfortunately the quality of most of these articles is weak. And sometimes even controversial. Time for some facts: More than 20 years ago a new trend was developed in the cave systems of Florida, USA. The D.I.R. philosophy based on a minimalist and balanced rig, the so called “Hogarthian System” was invented by Bill Main and Bill Gavin. The general idea of this kind of configuration is following the KISS – principle: Keep it stupid and simple. The reduction to equipment that is really needed has some benefits. Better buoyancy, better trim and you only take equipment with you that you need – as primary or as back-up. On the other hand the diver gets a better streamlined. Better streamlined means not only by reducing the workload in water but also in having your equipment close to your body which minimizes the risk of getting entangled in a restriction in a cave or in a wreck.
Another point about restrictions: A well-known feature of this system is the long hose. A 2,10 meter hose on the primary regulator led behind the Wing down to the right hip where it is stuffed under the light canister, across the chest to the left side, behind your head to the right side. Strange at the first sight, but with an important background. In an Out-of-Air-Situation in a narrow cave this configuration allows a diver to support his buddy fast and easy with breathable gas. This is a lifesaving standard operation procedure.
Standard operation procedures (SOPs) are another important feature of the D.I.R. philosophy. They are the result of the other two pillars of D.I.R.: experience and education. The knowledge how to react in the best way in an emergency gained by many cave explorations became the base for developing these SOPs. One of the first exploration teams that used these SOPs as their standards was the Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP). Soon a group of these divers recognized that they need to train new divers who wanted to become a member of the WKPP in their style of diving. As a result GUE, the Global Underwater Explorers were founded. GUE was one of the first training agencies in the diving industry who trained their divers in the D.I.R. philosophy. So constant training by repeating the most important SOPs is another important feature of D.I.R. diving.
Today not only cave divers follow the D.I.R. philosophy. Many divers have realized that this way of diving is much safer for wreck penetrations or deep dives. Even leisure divers are more and more convinced of this style of diving. A good turn over because the D.I. R. philosophy with its trained SOPs offers a wider range for safe diving. And this is what counts in the end: A safe dive in your certified depth range with your buddy!