Connect with us


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.

  • Fourth Element
  • Halcyon Sidemount

Dive Deeper:

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.

Subscribe for the InDepth Newsletter


InDEPTH’s Guide To U/W TikTok




Compiled by by Grace Winfree. Lead image by Georgina Brown.

Alex KyddalexkyddphotoNature and travel photographer.
aggielandscubaaggieland scubaYour local dive shop, no matter where you live.
Amber BourkeamberoftheseaDeepest female freediver in Australia.
Anesti VegaanestivegaScuba instructor, ocean scientist, aquanaut, and explorer.
Argentina DivingargentinadivingRecreational and technical dive center based in Argentina.
Azul Unlimitedazul.unlimitedScuba diver/van life.
Bethy SCUBAnavigating_bethyScuba instructor for kids.
Blue Alchemy Freedivingbluealchemyfreediving Competitive Freediver
Brandee Anthonybrandee_anthonyDiver, mermaid, photographer, and traveler.
Buddy Dive Resort BonairebuddydiveresortDive into Bonaire.
Cenote Girlcenote_girlTechnical diving instructor based in Mexico.
ChrishartdiversintlDiver with a passion for our oceans, wildlife, and exploration.
Deep Dive DubaideepdivedubaiDeepest swimming pool in the world.
Devina Wijayascuba.devGUE diver engaging with the community through humor, memes, and a touch of tech.
Dive AddictsdiveaddictsSharing love for the underwater world & scuba diving w/ training, travel & gear.
Dive GurusthedivegurusPADI dive center based in Mexico.
Dive Love TraveldivelovetravelScuba diving instructors and travelers.
Divers Alert NetworkdiversalertnetworkWorld’s leading dive safety association.
dive_into.lifedive_into.lifeMind-blowing diving experiences.
Dive_Zone_Whitiangadive_zone_whitiangaScuba diving and free diving.
DivesoftdivesoftHigh-tech products designed specifically for top technical and cave divers.
Gabby Abouhassangabriella613_Scuba instructor, marine conservationist, and traveler.
Girls that ScubagirlsthatscubaWorld’s largest scuba diving community for women.
Girls That CCRgirlthatccrEmpowering girls into CCR.
Halcyon Dive SystemshalcyondivesystemsScuba diving equipment manufacturer for recreational and technical divers.
Hannah | Professional Explorersimplyhannah1Mermaid.
ImmersionFDimmersionfdFreediver to 297 feet who teaches people to freedive deeper, stay longer, and be safer.
InDEPTH Magazineindepth.magazineMagazine for technical and mission-oriented diving.
ItaliansharkmanitaliansharkmanFreediver and shark lover.
Jacinta | Ocean Videographyjacintashackleton_Ocean photographer/videographer and marine biologist.
JillHeinerthjillheinerthCave diver, underwater explorer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker.
JordsblueworldjordsblueworldOcean advocate, nature explorer, and founder of “The Thresher Project.”
Kenny Dyalkenny_dyalHost of “The Scuba Diving Podcast.”
Mads Oceanmads_oceanMarine biologist and wildlife photographer.
Marcelin NebenhausdivethecaveCave diving instructor and guide based in Mexico.
Mermaid BrynrealmermaidbrynMermaid.
mermaid.kayleighmermaid.kayleighOcean lover.
Modern Diver ChannelmoderndiverEducating modern divers and showcasing shipwrecks.
Nancy Shark Divernancydietrich1313Shark lover.
Nick Fazahcpt.nickfazahCapt. Nick here, full time Scuba/Freediving instructor, boat Cpt & water mammal
Nicole AlaridnicalaridCave diver and underwater/nature photographer.
nolanomuranolanomuraUnderwater creator.
Olivia | Fully SubmergedfullysubmergedScuba comedy by a PADI Staff Instructor/Dive Safety Officer.
PADIpadiTraining agency for recreational divers.
Reel DivingreeldivingScuba diving equipment distributor based in Northern Europe.
rsv507rsvBeautiful girls underwater.
SANTI DIVINGsantidiving_officialScuba diving equipment manufacturer of drysuits, undersuits, and heating systems.
Scuba Diver JoescubadiverjoeInformative/educational PADI “Ambassadiver” based in the UK.
scuba divingscubaprooScuba diving and underwater photography.
Scuba Diving IntlsdidiversTraining agency for recreational divers.
Scuba Diving MagazinescubadivingmagMagazine for scuba diving.
SCUBAPROscubapro.officialScuba diving equipment manufacturer.
TabithatabithalipkinDive Master, former Miss Scuba International, and comedian.
taylortaylor_thesailorScuba instructor and environmentalist.
Technical Diving InternationaltdidivingTraining agency for technical divers.
thedivememethedivememeScuba diving memes from a CMAS diver.
Tom | Scuba Diving & OceannarkedtomInspiring people to love the ocean with humor.
Tom Park PhotographyunderwaterdudeProfessional underwater filmmaker and PADI ambassador.
William Drummwilliam.drummUnderwater wildlife photographer/videographer.
Woody AlpernwoodydivetalkHost of Dive Talk.

Return to Dive Into TikTok

  • Halcyon Sidemount
  • Fourth Element
Continue Reading