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Size Matters

Diminutive tekkie and self-proclaimed GUE Scotland interloper Alana Dempsey offers up deep wisdom gleaned from her unique vantage point.



By Alana Dempsey
Header photo by Owen Flowers

I am known by many names; Titch, Tiny, Pip-squeak, Shorty, Little One. At a petite 5’2″ I am not quite your average tech diver, although I am by no means alone. Diving is not the easiest sport out there, (who doesn’t enjoy rough seas, heavy gear and questionable entry points!) so here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. 

Ask For Help

Alana’s teammates helping her get ready for a dive. Photo by Owen Flowers.

We are team divers right? Which means we always have a team to help us out. Don’t ever struggle alone, because you do not need to. Whether it’s needing help standing your twinset up, a helping hand scrambling down to the entry point, or help getting the top bolt snap of that stage up to your shoulder to clip it off on a bouncing boat, GUE divers are a helpful bunch. So if someone isn’t helping you, it might be because they haven’t realized you needed a hand – just ask!


The age old “no such word as can’t” debate. On a serious note, don’t let anyone (including your own brain) tell you that you can’t do something if that is what you want to do. If your kit is just too heavy for you, can you build up your strength with some gym sessions? If you’re struggling with your valve drills, can you spend five minutes each night working on your shoulder mobility? You just can’t understand those gas calculations, but you have access to a wealth of instructors who will run over them with you or write you a few questions to practice. Essentially, what work can you put in to get yourself closer to your goals?

Seek Advice

Two heads are better than one. I’d suggest picking someone whose opinion you value and trust. They don’t need to have the answer straight away, but maybe between you it can be worked out. You would be surprised what conundrums some of our GUE instructors will have the answer to, owing to how many divers they’ve witnessed over the years. Alternatively, find someone whom you think might have experienced the same difficulty and ask them how they approached it. Look for a solution, not excuses.

Alana and teammate Marcus Rose doing a long house check. Photo by Owen Flowers.

Work Smarter Not Harder

Ah my favourite phrase. You may also have heard “hit the easy button.” GUE already covers this well with the ease of things like ratio deco and universal kit configuration. First thing: this is not about being lazy and getting someone else to do the work for you; it’s a similar concept to point 2, how can you help yourself? If it’s a bit of a walk to the entry point and you’re worried about the kit being heavy, could you carry your kit there, put it down, and then go back to put your suit on and pick up all your extras? If you’re knackered when you finish the dive and aren’t sure you can carry your constructed twinset back to the car, can you take off your regs, torch canister, and your weights, and come back for just the twinset, backplate, and wing? Maybe there’s nowhere at the dive site to easily set up your kit, and there’s no way you can hold up a twinset for your buddy to heft on their back; could you buy a small collapsible bench and take that with you?

I am sure everyone has their own tips and tricks; maybe you could share yours with us.

Additional Resources:

Tips and Tricks from Halcyon on how to Manage your dive equipment 

How a Small Backplate Can Make your Diving Better

Alana Dempsey is a forensic lab tech living in Glasgow and an English interloper into GUE Scotland. I started diving in 2011 with BSAC and am a BSAC instructor. I continue to teach new divers with the Sheffield University Sub-Aqua Club and believe getting the basics right from the start is a must. Wreck diving is my passion, especially wrecks with history, (e.g. WW1 wrecks at Scapa Flow) but I can also often be found nudibranch hunting in our local dive spots at Loch Long. Tech 1 diving range is probably my favorite, but I’m starting to look for my next challenge. I’ll be a support diver on the Kalliopi project in May 2021 and look forward to developing my project skills.


GUE Partners with Scuba.Digital

We are excited to announce a partnership between Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) and Scuba.Digital, the #1 Online Dive Show.




We are excited to announce a partnership between Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) and Scuba.Digital, the #1 Online Dive Show.

Scuba.Digital is hosted on one of the world’s best online event platforms and aims to become the World’s #1 Online Dive Show. With more than 200 exhibitors including Aggressor Adventures, WWDS, Blue O Two, Fourth Element, Divesoft, and many more, Scuba.Digital will bring divers and dive businesses from around the globe together. A program of speakers on the main stage and in our breakout sessions, a networking area and the expo booths, there is something for every diver, free diver or snorkeller.

Jason from Scuba.Digital said: “I feel that GUE are a good fit with Scuba.Digital. They are a non-profit organization that really cares about our oceans and helps people to explore the oceans with the right training in order to conserve what we have.”

Together GUE and Scuba.Digital will be able to bring more speakers with more information not only about diving, freediving or snorkelling but also about the current situation regarding COVID-19, it’s impact on how we partake in these water sports safely and also how we travel to get to the wonderful places we want to go. When will it be safe? What protections are there? Is my money safe? Together we can help the world of divers, free divers and snorkellers get back their confidence to return to the water.

Jason said: “We believe that the partnership between Scuba.Digital and GUE will bring benefits to both our organizations but most importantly to the scuba and free-diving communities themselves. In these times, an online event means that we can get the information we need direct from the owners of the dive resorts, liveaboards or manufacturers.”

Purchase your GUE ticket to the show for just $10.

We would like to Scuba.Digital for including us in their event!

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