Human Factors Skills in Diving - Online Micro-Class

"This course will provoke more thoughts about awareness, team building skills, peer pressure, stress, how to be a good leader and follower, task loading, and taking steps to becoming safer. It doesn't matter the agency you've learned from or the level of diver you are. This is something that everyone can learn from and evaluate themselves and what they can do differently...It takes about 2.5-3 hours but there is no time limit to complete and you can keep watching it after your've completed the class and use it for reference. It's full of presentations and insightful thoughts on how failure can occur and how human factor skills could prevent incidents from happening."  - Becky Kagan Schott, CCR Instructor and Award-winning Photographer 

Why do the course? 

Every one of us makes mistakes every day, even the experts. For that very reason, the aviation, nuclear power and medical professions have invested huge resources in helping their personnel to get better at not making those mistakes, and if they do, how to capture them before it gets really bad. Now it's your chance to learn how they do it. It's a new way of thinking and planning to avoid the errors that even the best of us make, errors that can cost lives.

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

The aim is to: develop your knowledge, give you skills to make your diving more fun, your team work more effective, and improve your safety in the process.

Read more about the class below, or buy now £69 or $99. Coupon codes applied at checkout.

 "I very much enjoyed the Human Factors micro class, a simply amazing class! I have learned a lot. It is incredible how in depth the conversation is, little things you don't normally think about, but how big an impact they can make. As I was going through the different modules I pictured different situations, both good and not so good, I had been in–why the good ones were good, and got better insight in to why the not so good ones went as they did. Fortunately everything always sorted itself out for the better but ... it's that "but" you need to watch out for. I'm still fairly early in my diving career, and I'm thankful that I've taken this class and will practice and implement what I've learned in all facets of my diving–my position on the dive team, in my recreational dives, and as I move into more advanced technical diving. I'm going to keep my eyes open, and hopefully find a slot I can fit into to join the two day class. I'd enjoy taking part in one of those." - Shane Paradis - NY Aquarium Diver

Non-Technical Failures

The majority of accidents and incidents that occur in diving are not a result of undetectable technical equipment failures, or the physical environment; they are down to the performance variability of humans. What? Ok, we all make mistakes and sometimes break 'rules'!!

Despite popular websites links such as (#3 Google hit!) that list decompression sickness, embolisms, narcosis, oxygen toxicity, and marine life as being the 'biggest dangers in scuba diving', the greatest problem divers face is the grey matter between our ears. The same brain that allows us to do amazing things - like operating in high-tempo situations where uncertainty and ambiguity are the norm - also leads to errors and mistakes because of the mental shortcuts that we take.

We cannot remove human error; it is an intrinsic part of being human. Seeing as we cannot remove it, why not look instead to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitude to reduce the likelihood of errors or lapses occurring in the first place? It is the same approach to reducing accidents that the Civil and Military Aviation, Nuclear Power, Healthcare, and Oil & Gas industries have all taken. Such skills include understanding why humans make the decisions they do; how to be effective in communications, especially assertion skills; what stages every team goes through when they come together; and how leadership is present in any diving environment. In some domains, they are known as Crew Resource Management, or non-technical skills. Both terms are likely to cause confusion, so we've called them Human Factors Skills in Diving.

The Human Factors Skills in Diving Micro-class

This 9-part micro-class introduces divers to the key topics from the two-day Human Factors Skills in Diving course, and contains over 2.5 hours of training via narrated presentations, practical exercises, and a case study reviews. This short course equips participants with the knowledge and understanding about how to improve their diving; to have more fun and allow them to take more risks because they know where failure is more likely to occur and can mitigate it accordingly. A number of case studies are presented throughout the course - one in considerable detail at the end, showing how the presence of effective human factors skills in diving could have likely prevented the incidents from occurring. The final module is about 'Just Culture' and why it is essential if we are to be able to learn from adverse events.

Your own pace

This is an online course, which takes about 2.5 hours to complete - ideal for an evening - although as there is no time limit, it can be followed at the participant's own pace. Following sign-up, access to the contents will remain available for as long as they are hosted on the Human Factors Academy - this includes when materials are updated which will happen as we firmly believe in continual improvement (the course is now on v2.0). The website is specifically designed to work on all Internet-enabled devices like mobile phones and tablets, giving those who undertake the mini-course the freedom to learn wherever and whenever it suits them (as long as they have a data connection, Wifi or GSM/3G/4G).

"I have just completed my online course and I feel that one item is universally overlooked when it comes to team building and communication that was discussed quite well in this course. I work in nursing and there are several commonalities between scuba diving and surgical nursing. I am very pleased to see such a strong emphasis on overcoming egos and fault, and actually learning from the situation that had just occurred by asking questions, withholding judgment, and what is the most important lesson to be learned from the active situation. 

Someone once asked me what the difference between Knowledge and wisdom is; Knowledge is gained from one's own experience, Wisdom is obtained from others experience. I feel that this class truly embodies this quote." - Jacqueline Patek, OW diver and OR nurse

Targeted Reading List

Each module has a reading list specific to the module of the course.  Where possible links have been provided to open access documents as it is recognised that access to journals can be an issue for the majority of divers. These are additional reading items and not required for the certificate to be issued, just mark the section 'As Complete'.

Reduce the risk. Improve personal and team performance.

Both courses are globally unique. £69/$99 for over 2.5 hours of training is great value, especially considering that the skills and knowledge learned can also be applied in non-diving situations. Besides extending diving knowledge, the micro-class will help to determine if the full, two-day course is what is needed to deliver a higher performance in diving. We truly believe that it is £69/$99 that participants won't regret spending.


We are so confident that the mini-course delivers great training and value for money, that we offer a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee.

Who is my trainer?

Gareth Lock is a retired Royal Air Force senior officer Navigator of 25 years, who was both a senior supervisor and a tactical flight instructor on an operational C-130 flying squadron. He has a MSc in Aerospace Systems from Kingston University and spent the last 5 years in the RAF as a Requirements Manager for Defensive Aids Systems working across all levels of industry, reseach and the military from front-line user to very senior officers, both in the UK and in the US.  

Shortly after leaving the RAF in 2014, he delivered eight months of Well Operations Crew Resource Management (WOCRM) training and coaching to oil workers in an offshore environment, the results of which were presented by Gareth and Phil Smith (Managing Director of Critical Team Performance) at the oil and gas industry's international (IADC Human Factors) conference in Houston. In June 2015, Gareth completed the TOP-SET three-day Senior Investigator root cause analysis course, considered an industry standard in Oil & Gas, heavy industry, and rail incident and accident investigation.

In 2012, Gareth started his PhD, examining the role of human factors in scuba diving incidents. He is published in a number of magazines and journals, has presented at nine international diving conferences on Human Factors in diving, and manages the Diving Incident and Safety Management System incident database.

In terms of diving experience, Gareth is an Open Circuit advanced trimix diver (Technical Diver Level 2 with Global Underwater Explorers) and normoxic trimix CCR diver (JJ-CCR with TDI) with around 800 dives over 12 years of diving. He is also an accomplished underwater photographer with a deep interest in cold, green water wreck diving.

He was recently appointed Global Underwater Explorer's Director for Risk Management, responsible for developing the performance of instructors and instrcutor trainers and building a Just Culture within this learning-cultured organisation.

Finally, Gareth is now certified as a trainer in the Process Communciation Model (PCM), a tool used for more than 20 years by NASA as part of their astronaut selection programme. This model has identified predictable outcomes for different types within personalities* when they encounter distress - this means that by recognising these signs in non-stress behaviour we can predict what individuals are likely to do when under distress. It also provides the means by which we can bring individuals back into a stress-free zone. 

*these are not personality types - everyone has these six types within them, one is the one they were born with (base) and the other in which they show signs of eustress or distress (phase).