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As I continue to develop my online training materials, I wanted to ask for your help in…

Posted by Side Mount Scuba Diving – Steve Martin on Friday, 21 July 2017

online courses



Individual lessons

min average duration

“Why every diver can benefit from my online training”

Explained by ..ex-student, sidemount instructor and online course user

Vas Proud
I think that there is a miss-understood difference between a “traditional dive course” and this online video “course”. The products are quite different and it is not valid to compare them “like for like”.

With a traditional course, you are getting a certain amount of contact time with a dive professional and you are relying on them to give you training in the time available. If you have questions, you can ask – but are you taking notes? are you going to remember every word that was spoken? are you going to have a photographic memory for every skill you were shown or the equipment setup you used? If you now have other students on a course (which is the norm), then there is even less time for “you” and you will get a some diluted content and attention.

In my opinion, with the video “course” you are getting a different delivery method which solves a lot of the problems you would get if you only ever had done a traditional course. You can pause, rewind, re-watch and compare yourself over time as you progress. You also get a 1:1 delivery without distractions from other students.

So no one is saying these are a 100% substitute for actual in water training and they are not designed to be. They are designed to be a companion, to be a benchmark and also for you to see what top class instruction looks like so you can judge your own course and instructor!

If you genuinely do not want in water training, or can’t get it, then you can actually do a very good job of training yourself – I have met some people that actually did this very effectively – but this is not for everyone and not something I think that is the point of the video “course” – so you should not compare it like that.

I have taken in water training from Steve and also from some other (even more well-known!) names in diving – and the user experience is different vs. going with the online “course”. However, after four days of side mount essentials, did Steve actually transfer the same volume and quality of what is in these videos? – no way – that is just not possible. And how much did I take in, how much did I remember a year later and was I able to go from warm water, aluminium cylinders to UK, dry suit and steels with ease? – again, no way!

The cost of the video course is way less (around 15% in my case) than the water training for my entry level SM water training – and that is without factoring the costs to get to the UK sites, flying abroad & accommodation. If I then consider my tech SM training, it makes the videos a negligible cost overall.

So my opinion here is just that these are different products and that the value can’t be judged on the same ideas as we have been used to for say a four day training course. Buy the video course – Steve will no doubt refund you if you aren’t happy!

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Watch these three short videos to help get you started

With online video based training …you can see it, hear it and experience it !!

FAQs, Articles & Testimonials
 21 H 53 Min | 165 Videos
  • Free Course Lessons | 50 Minutes split over 7 Videos
  • Backmount Course | 2 H 23 Min split over 22 Videos
  • Sidemount Course | 10 H 17 Min split over 69 Videos
  • All Divers Course | 3 H 47 Min split over 25 Videos
  • Technical Diving Course | 3 H 2 Min split over 26 Videos
  • Finning Techniques Training | 1 H 22 Min split over 13 Videos
  • Hand Signals Training | 31 Minutes split over 5 Videos

Who are these products suitable for ?

Whether your a newly certified or highly experienced recreational, technical diver or dive instructor my online training will benefit you.

It is modular in design so you can watch and re-watch all sections as many times as you like, each course is broken down into small manageable sections, each with many 3, 5, 10 or 15 minute single videos. Out of all 165 videos, average length is 7 Min 9 Seconds.

You just choose your chosen equipment configuration, backmount single & twinset, sidemount or technical multi-cylinder. Note all HD training videos are edited with a complete voice-over using the latest production quality audio and video recording equipment available.

Website and training courses are fully optimised for mobiles, tablets and desktops

Using a smart phone or tablet ? ..then watch these videos

I’m no longer selling a single product… Instead a 12 month membership subscription

Once you purchase this subscription, you will gain access to 7 separate courses.
Containing 165 individual lessons, 21 h 53 min of video material.

        finning-techniques  hand-signals  free-tutorials
Note: click on images above for full details on each course

Check Price

Once you purchase this subscription, you will gain access to 6 separate courses.
Containing 143 individual lessons, 19 h 29 min of video material.

      finning-techniques  hand-signals  free-tutorials
Note: click on images above for full details on each course

Check Price

Once you purchase this subscription, you will gain access to 6 separate courses.
Containing 139 individual lessons, 18 h 51 min of video material.

      finning-techniques  hand-signals  free-tutorials
Note: click on images above for full details on each course

Check Price

Once you purchase this subscription, you will gain access to 5 separate courses.
Containing 70 individual lessons, 8 h 34 min of video material.

    finning-techniques  hand-signals  free-tutorials
Note: click on images above for full details on each course

Check Price

Once you purchase this subscription, you will gain access to 5 separate courses.
Containing 117 individual lessons, 16 h 28 min of video material.

    finning-techniques  hand-signals  free-tutorials
Note: click on images above for full details on each course

Check Price

Once you purchase this subscription, you will gain access to 3 separate courses.
Containing 23 individual lessons, 2 h 23 min of video material.

finning-techniques  hand-signals  free-tutorials

Note: click on images above for full details on each course

Check Price

Your chance to test my online training videos, free of charge.
Contains 7 individual lessons, 50 minutes of video material.

Click image above for details

£0.00 for 1 year Add To Cart

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All courses are available in packages

Example: Package 1 includes all courses, but if you are not interested in for example backmount, maybe package 2 or 5 is better choice for you?

You can get missing add-ons later

After purchasing a package, you can always get the additional missing courses later, but you will get a much better deal if you initially get the full package.

More info

The goal was to create online training, capable of surpassing most instructors!

Scuba training should not be limited
to meeting in person only !!

I now have online training products that far exceeds anything else to date, my goal was to have something that could be as good as me actually being there in person with you and arguably in some ways even better than that!!

More about Steve
Learning starts before you hit the water

We work on practical dive skills in-water but understanding what you need to do and why, comes through learning dive theory which is best done through video based eLearning.

A student during their course can easily recall previously learned information, then focus 100% on underwater skills.

This maximises students and instructors time, resulting in skills being better performed and absorbed during training.


Here are just some highlights from my new online training series ?

Each second of video has a “high quality audio” voiceover added, designed to maximum your learning experience.

Has a more modular design, with smaller more manageable videos lengths, average being just 7 minutes. New updates are added easily to each video series and members immediately notified of new content as it gets released.

All workshop videos were shot in 4K and converted to 1080p during editing, this allows for amazing high detailed close-ups. All content was professionally edited using AVID Media Composer which gives smooth transitions, slow-motion effects all greatly improving your learning experience and save on your valuable time when watching.

All lessons come completely subtitled in English, these are optional, you just select them in the video player.

Step by step guide to weighting yourself in just your exposure suit and using a single backmount cylinder.

Step by step guide to weighting yourself using a twinset or sidemount cylinders and full technical equipment with stage and deco cylinders.

Includes standard backmount systems, XDeep Ghost and Zen.

Includes various sidemount systems, Razor 2, XDeep Stealth (Classic, Rec & Tec), Ultimate and AGIR Ratatosk.

As well as older systems like; Hollis SMS 100, Golem Gear Armadillo and Dive Rite Nomad.

Now added a comprehensive Backmount Course with 8 h 34 min content split over 70 individual videos. This will help all levels of divers especially the ones straight out of there open water course.

Covering everything from the essential equipment setup to proving why when correctly weighted you won’t need a removable weight belt and if your BCD completely failed underwater you can still safely swim to the surface without assistance from your buddy.

Both my backmount and technical diving course packages include twinset modifications along with setup & training tips that will for sure improve your backmount diving.

I cover all the pros and cons of twinset compared to sidemount diving and why for multi cylinder technical diving you should consider using sidemount configuration.

31 minutes of content split over 5 training videos, which cover over 100 individual hand signals. I go into exactly how to make each signal and what situations you should use of them for. Note all hand signals shown are ONE HANDED versions as when you dive it is often common to have one hand occupied.

There are hand signals for making different finning techniques, as well as general signals for all divers and technical divers including deep / cave. I also include special signals I use and recommend other instructors to use for communicating with students in training.

1 h 22 min of content split over 13 training videos, which cover all the finning techniques recreational and technical scuba divers use. Each video goes through step by step how to develop each finning technique as well as show you the common problems and how to over come them.

Also included is an 8 minute video on training drills on correct body position and a special 11 minute training video on stretches & exercises for scuba divers. To view all individual lessons and actually see what your buying (click here)

Simple put… I started again so I could FUTURE PROOF my online video training series. It would need to be more user friendly and be easy to update as time passes and the dive industry develops. My old video series consisted of just 6 videos, 5 being 1 to 1.5 hours long and 6th being 8 hours in duration.

The new series has currently 165 videos with close to 22 hours of content and the average video length being just over 7 minutes making each video easier to watch and re-watch as well as index.

All course lesson videos are now available through a state-of-the-art online eLearning training system.

Since the release of my old video series (April 2015), new video content was shot between May 2015 to August 2016 (1.5 years) this includes, students in training and 2 months of additional footage that was shot solely for the purpose of these new online training products.

It all comes down to how do you make the best training and learning experience for all types of divers whilst maximising each divers ability to retain theory and skill development. Explained in these 3 steps…

1st – A diver needs to understand what they need to be able to do and/or learn, otherwise there time spend underwater is generally wasted and not productive. A diver also needs actual in-water practice and training in order to develop any new dive skills.

2nd – to know what to practice you need theory, know how to correctly setup equipment and understand how to do dive skills, this comes by studying the online training materials. You can learn this just from your instructor but the amount you can learn at the same time as trying to actual perform skills is more difficult and often a lot is misunderstood or missed. Online training fixes this!!

3rd – once student hits the water and tests a new equipment configuration or dive skill, they get direct feedback on how well they performed it. Having seen the online video prior to an instructor underwater demonstration helps the student understand exactly what they are watching, which means better performance during training.

After a training course, skill retention and theory knowledge drop over time, this is where the online videos again come in full swing as the diver can refresh any all or any parts that they feel they need to before again hitting the water.

Cylinder band which secures lower cylinder boltsnap is positioned and tested in four different places in relation to the extension post, proving exactly which is the best location that works for securing your sidemount cylinders.

Cylinder band height is moved from my recommend setup height, higher and lower on the cylinder in 5cm increments, I prove how this effects your cylinders trim.

Loop bungee is fully testing from my optimal suggested setup length again in 5cm increments. This shows what happens if your sidemount bungee is too short or too long and what effect this has on your cylinder trim.

You will find even more detailed feedback further down this homepage, here are the highlights of requested improvements by customers using my old training series.

• Underwater clips should have narration or commentary added to them.
• Training videos should be shorter in length, broken into sections and easier to find.
• Like to see more close-up video of equipment configuration and slow motion of skills being done.
• Videos need consistent sound quality, if your video based training was professional edited it would be amazing!!
• Like to see more on diver making ascents and ascent techniques.
• Like to see more on diver trimming and sliding d-rings/cylinder trimming.
• Want more configuration setup and skills for trimix divers and divers carrying/using 5 or 6 cylinders.
• Avoid using black bungee on a black background, make knot tying easier to see.

All these requests have been fully implemented into my new video series plus much, much more!!

One customer from my old video series written this in his feedback form… “It would be enlightening to see less experienced people than Steve, actually make mistakes and then Steve corrects with a voice-over. I always learn more from mistakes than from seeing it done right”

So based on that feedback and since I document and video record all my student in training. I actually went back through all courses I taught since 2009 “7 years worth” and after reviewing thousands of video clips, I selected the best ones related to actual problem solving of student during training and edited them into the new video series.

Now each of my current 165 online training videos have a comments section just below each of the actual videos. It is simple if you have watched the video twice but still have a question or do not fully understand something, just use the “leave a reply” section below each video and I will do my best to answer any and all questions raised.

This comment section is also a great place for you to leave feedback, that you think may benefit other users when they are watching the same video.

Please note: you can only leave a comment if you are an actual customers with access to that particular course.

Customer feedback from my old online videos, was the driving force behind my new series !!


Thank you to all my existing customers, I have taken all your feedback on board and implemented it !!

My first online equipment configuration training videos were released 10th July 2014, then 10 months later I completed that series on 20th April 2015 with 8 hour underwater sidemount skills video.

I then had 623 unique customers purchase my online products since there initial release with 200+ people taking the time to complete my comprehensive feedback questionnaire, you can view the questions asked and the customers responses by clicking on the image below.

Studies show 82% of people find video based courses more effective over text & image based ones!!

The reviews are in for my new video series.

Watch these video reviews from my existing customers …

Members can request new equipment reviews …most popular I will create new videos for !!

Benefits for all Members…

• Access to a secret members only group, questions answered daily!!
• Members can request new content, most popular I will act on.
• Access to new review videos after I test the latest dive equipment

Why my online training works so effectively…

1) You can pre-study weeks before your actual training course
2) Now educated, aware of your weaknesses before in-water training
3) Have online skill videos to benchmark your in-water skills against
4) Re-use online training courses to refresh knowledge & skills


Why you should invest right now…

• Full educational based training system, that is tested & proven.
• My focus is different, no text to read it’s about video based learning
• This training works for both divers and instructors.
• Helps you become safe, competent and really enjoy all your dives
• Myth busting secrets answered “do I really need ditchable weights?”
• More knowledgeable, this stops shops selling you the wrong gear!!
• Save dive time, get into water with equipment correctly setup.
• Guaranteed you will look & dive better than any diver in your club.
• Bulk buy deal available for instructors and dive centres “just ask”

You can find information about my in-water training courses below…

Do you already have the essential diving skill set…Essentials Training ...using backmount configuration

What are the essentials..?

Buoyancy = being able to control yourself in any depth in the water column (being able to utilise your entire lung volume for precise control).
Trim = being able to hold your body position flat “like a sky diver in free-fall” without straining your body (key is having a balanced equipment configuration).
Propulsion = being able to effectively use a variety of fin techniques to best suit the diving environment you are in (having precise, efficient kicks are crucial).

The simple concept is this… “Before you make any movement underwater you should always have correct B.T.P (Buoyancy, Trim and Propulsion); by ensuring this every effort you make will be at its maximum efficiency…” Developing this essential skill set you will now be able to develop “arguably” the most important skill… “Good Awareness Underwater”

Do I need to dive in sidemount to learn these skills..?

It is true that using sidemount equipment configuration in my opinion gives the best overall platform to learn this skill set; however gaining experience and taking essentials training in your current equipment configuration is still possible… the key is getting the right instructor who has the necessary experience to enable you to maximise what you can learn, so you can take the most value from any training you pay out for.

Will this essentials training be included with your sidemount courses..?

Short answer is YES it will, however if your know your current skills need some work or you are not sure, then contact me and I can walk you through what covered with the essentials training. We can decide together if you will need another day or two on top of the course. What I want is for you to get the most value for any training you receive their is a good reason why I am not the cheapest out there.

How long does your essentials training take..?

If I said to you what does practice make..? “most people would reply with perfect…” well I think it practice makes permanent this is because what you practice may not always be correct. A dive instructor who has a great deal of teaching experience and dives in different environments like open water, technical, cave would have the best ability to pass judgement on this… I generally conduct essentials training over 2 days, the idea is that I work with you to get your diving configuration to its maximum efficiency, then I develop your core diving skills. This includes advanced breathing techniques (buoyancy control), fin propulsion techniques like modified flutter kick, frog kick, helicopter turns, backward frog kick… While you demo back what you have seen, this is recorded in short videos, that are reviewed during the debrief and then you can further practice the skills until you master them.

Having efficient diving techniques will take plenty of practice, what is important is that you go away practising something that you know is correct… this can only be insured by taking essentials training from someone who can actually do underwater what you want to be able to do…

How do I get this training and what will it cost..?

This training will be done at my daily rate and is designed to prepare you for any other training course. If your skills are good then it may only take 1 day to work on the bits above your need more development in.

A try dive session different than all the others…Sidemount Experience ...try dive using sidemount configuration

What is a sidemount try dive session..?

It is a session designed to do one thing, put you into “the same exact system” I use and then put you straight underwater to experience sidemount diving. All the donning and doffing skills, equipment workshops like setting up your sidemount system, regulator & cylinder setup are all left for a full training program.

I will make it so you can get underwater in sidemount as “quickly & stress free” as possible.

Most people have said they learn more about buoyancy, trim and propulsion techniques in this short session with myself, than in any of their previous training courses. This is not just a try dive but a chance to experience sidemount diving exactly like I setup all my full course students.

What will we do..?

I set you up in a custom fitted sidemount system (approx 30 mins)
Then don x2 sidemount cylinders to you (whilst in water)
We then descend and do some exercises (regulator switches & SPG checks)
Then spend 30 to 45 minutes testing out your overall diving skill level (with skills from my essential program)
I will then doff cylinders and debrief the session (with video reviews)

What do I need to start..?

You need to be; PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (or equivalent rating) and at least 18 years old with 25 logged dives (minimum).
Mask & Suitable Fins
Suitable Exposure Protection
All other equipment provided
Session can be done in pool, confined or open water site.

Training that will forever change the way you dive!!

Sidemount Essentials ...Steve Martin's signature training courseThe training I offer is based around the following concept…

  1. Diver develops the essential skills (which every diver needs)
  2. Diver needs a truly balanced equipment configuration (sidemount gives this)
  3. Diver needs a cutting edge training course (backed by years of experience)
  4. Diver is capable of deciding what’s next (now experienced & ready)
  5. Diver is able to learn advanced/technical levels (correctly due to foundation training)
  6. Diver gets the return they expected!! (for the money & time they invested)

This concept is what I am 100% behind. That is why there are no short cuts in learning to sidemount with myself, the training you will get will not leave you thinking of going back into a backmounted (twinset). If it does, then I would look at giving you your money back (seriously)!! You getting the right sidemount training course and instructor will make all the difference…

You would not believe the amount of emails I am starting to get from newly certified sidemount divers who are complaining that sidemount is not working for them and they did not get what they have seen in my photos and YouTube videos.

My short reply to those emails is… So, sorry to hear that, now let’s have a Skype call this way I can easily explain why this happened to you and ways to remedy it. Usually it is down to the equipment selection, the amount of time spent learning and the instructor’s knowledge/skill level is questionable. If you are looking for sidemount training then please save yourself this problem, contact me before you learn (it will cost you nothing but time).

I will happily give anyone 15-30 minutes of my time and if you still train with someone other than me, at least you will have a better idea of what training you should be getting.

Training conditions and detailed course information…

  1. Upon booking confirmation, you will receive 50% off your access to my latest online training videos membership
  2. All divers must use approved training equipment (listed below)
  3. Training must take place over a minimum of 3 full days (recommend 4 days)
  4. This training course will not be the cheapest out there, this is for good reason
  5. If you have a sidemount certification and want to take it further (contact me for options)

My training equipment;

  • Sidemount Harness and BCD = XDeep Stealth or Razor System (if you use another system, let me know)
  • Sidemount Regulators = Apeks Sidemount Package (if you have your own, let me know)
  • Sidemount Cylinders & Hardware = (Selection of LP Steel and Aluminium)

Firstly, you do not need to go out and buy equipment, if fact I recommend against it. Unless you have taken a training course and you know sidemount is the way you want to head why invest so much in equipment..? How about instead pay more for your training and then make an informed decision on equipment selection (thus saving you time, money and frustration in the long run). All sidemount equipment will be provided for you during training, if you have your own you can bring this.

Sidemount Essentials is a 4 day training program that does much more than teach you how to sidemount dive, it makes you into a well rounded and capable diver.

During the program you will develop and tested on the skills every diver should aim to have…
Sidemount Essentials ...Steve Martin's signature training course 2

  • Diving in a team, how to deal with diver emergencies
  • Develop the correct reflex responses to surprise equipment failures
  • Essentials skills like advanced navigation techniques and SMB deployment
  • Advanced Buoyancy, Trim & Propulsion (finning) techniques
  • Dive planning and discussing the what if’s and pre-dive problem solving
  • Learn how to adapt to varying conditions, like current, surge, being lost
  • Adapting to different dive sites and boat diving techniques
  • Learn advanced navigation and underwater awareness techniques

Some benefits for the recreational diver;

  • Diver will develop the essential skills set.
  • This course is a lot more than just an “intro to technical diving”
  • Easier to learn twin cylinder diving using sidemount than a backmounted twinset
  • Course stays within recreational diving limits, increases safety and allows more in water time for learning
  • Best thing to do is contact me and we can talk through your diving experience and together make suggestions on your best way forward.

Some benefits for the technical diver;

  • Enables access to dive sites that taking a backmounted twinset is either difficult or impossible.
  • Your cylinders are put on and taken off in water so no more straining your back and body.
  • A system that offers a “true” redundant and independent air source (without carrying additional cylinders).
  • Having the cylinders at your side enables better trim and buoyancy control (than with a twinset).
  • Have easy access to your cylinder valves should a problem arise (fixes the can not reach behind the head twinset problem).
  • Same equipment is used during more advanced technical training e.g. “wreck penetration” and cave diving in “restrictions”.
  • Having this speciality enables you to take further training using sidemount equipment during any PADI TecRec technical courses.

What will we do..?

There will be; theory, equipment workshops, surface land drills, training dives and open water dives. All will include detailed feedback and daily video debriefing sessions.

Sidemount Essentials ...Steve Martin's signature training course 3

  • Cylinder Setup Workshop
  • Regulator Configuration Workshop
  • Sidemount System Workshop
  • Accessories Workshop
  • Surface Land Drills
  • Propulsion/Finning Techniques Workshop
  • Review and Practice Valve Shutdown Procedures
  • Review and Practice Gas Sharing Protocols
  • Advanced Buoyancy Training
  • Navigation Workshop (Correct Compass Use)
  • Advanced Dive Planning & Underwater Simulation
  • Team Diving Protocols & SMB Deployment

Suggested schedule;

  • Day 1 – Equipment workshops & skills training dive 1.
  • Day 2 – Complete theory, surface land drills & skills training dives 2 & 3.
  • Day 3 – Open water dives 1 & 2 (& skills assessments)
  • Day 4 – Open water dives 3 & 4 (& skills assessments)

What do I need to start..?

You need to be; PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (or equivalent rating) and at least 18 years old with 25 logged dives (minimum).

  • Mask & Suitable Fins
  • Suitable Exposure Protection
  • All Sidemount Equipment (will be provided)
  • Compass/SMB & Spool (contact me for my recommendations)

Sidemount Essentials can be combined with technical level upgrade options…Sidemount Essentials ...Steve Martin's signature training course 4

  1. Sidemount Essentials = 4 days
  2. Sidemount Essentials Tec 40 = 4 days (minimum)
  3. Sidemount Essentials Advanced Nitrox = 4 days
  4. Sidemount Essentials Advanced Nitrox Deco Procedures = 7 days
  5. Sidemount Essentials Tec 40, Tec 45 = 6 days
  6.  Sidemount Essentials Tec 40 Tec 45 Tec 50 = 8 days
  7.  Trimix Training Course(s) for PADI and TDI available – please contact me for details, a lot is based on your current experience and qualifications.

Please note: additional PADI/TDI training materials and certification fee(s) apply (pre-study recommended).

What can I do once certified and what to try next..?

All future technical level courses can be done whilst wearing sidemount once you have done the initial Sidemount Essentials training. Here is a test I suggest you try, it should prove how good the sidemount essentials program actually is… I suggest you visit my fan page, then look at all the sidemount essential divers and view anyone of their facebook profiles and you will see if they are still using sidemount or not 😀

I look forward to your questions and the chance to train you in sidemount. If you are an experienced instructor and want to offer this Sidemount Essentials Course to others then read my instructor level training courses below.

Steve offers all TDI and PADI technical courses in sidemount configuration only…

Technical Diving Courses ...TDI and TecRecI have been offering PADI DSAT and later TecRec courses since 2004, in 2008 I learned to sidemount and have never looked back. It is true I loved diving with a backmounted twinset, but once tried sidemount I have yet in several years needed to donn a twinset. This is because quite simply put sidemount works in my opinion better for all forms of technical diving. The trick is knowing how to sidemount correctly and that is where I can help you.

What course options are there..?

Training courses and certifications offered in the TDI range, Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Procedures, Helitrox, Normoxic Trimix or Full Trimix. I also offer the full range of equivalent levels under the PADI TecRec system, see details below…

  • Tec 40 -The entry point into the technical range, it provides a transition from recreational to tech. Although the use of full tech gear (doubles and wings) is preferred, it does allow modified use of recreational gear in some situations, provided the diver has two separate regulators, with one of the first stages fitted with a long hose. The intended working limit for a diver of this grade is 40 metres/130 feet with up to 10 minutes of non-accelerated decompression while breathing up to EANx50.
  • Tec 45 -The diver now must wear the full ‘standardised’ tech rig, including wings and doubles, plus an additional deco cylinder. (Note that side mounted cylinders are an acceptable alternative to back mounted doubles throughout the TecRec range). The course will allow the diver to go to 45 metres/145 feet and make accelerated decompression dives using any mix of EANx or oxygen.
  • Tec 50 – At the end of this course the diver will have the same set of skills and knowledge as the present Tec Deep Diver. As such it represents a high level of competency for a technical diver. Although the option exists to make the last dive of the course using trimix, it is intended as an air/nitrox rating and by the end the diver can dive to a maximum of 50 metres/165 feet and make extended, accelerated decompression dives.
  • Tec Trimix 65 – This course opens up the advantages of trimix to the diver, and divers are qualified to make multi-stop decompression dives that employ EANx and oxygen for accelerated decompression, and any trimix with an oxygen content of 18% or more. They can dive to a maximum depth of 65 metres/210 feet.
  • Tec Trimix – This level is essentially the same as the existing course of this name. Therefore there is no numbered suffix after the course title — there are no limits are placed on how deep the diver can go after training, providing they build their experience gradually.

What do I need to start..?

TecRec prerequisites vary (best to contact me), but the following applies to anyone interested in technical diving:

    • 18 years or older
    • Medically fit for tec diving (physician’s signature required)
    • Willing to accept the added risks that tec diving presents
    • An experienced diver with at least 100 logged dives
    • Certified as a PADI Enriched Air Diver and PADI Deep Diver or equivalent (equivalencies vary please contact me for more information)

Technical Diving Courses ...TDI and TecRec 2

It is best to contact me with the level your interested in and I will provide you with all information you require. For the costs of each course, please email me with your location. I do offer training all over the world, you just need to check with me when I will be close to your area and I can talk with a local dive centre and put together a course schedule for you. More details of how I operate are explained on my sidemount course training page.

What equipment do I require..?

Below is a list of the equipment you require for making technical dives in sidemount configuration, I may be able to provide the equipment for you. If you have your own I can help you customise it to get the most from it and the course with me.

  • Mask, Fins & Suitable Exposure Protection (snorkel optional)
  • 2 Single Tanks
  • 2 Primary Regulators and 1st Stages
  • (Stage Cylinders and Regulators extra)
  • 1.5 to 2m long regulator hose (recommend Miflex)
  • Sidemount Harness & BCD (approved by instructor prior to the course)
  • Dive Tables, Depth Gauge & Dive Timer (or Dive Computer)
  • Divers Tool or Knife
  • Slate with Pencil
  • Two Surface Signalling Devices (whistle & SMB or signal mirror)
  • Reel & SMB (if required by local regulations)
  • Compass
  • Multi Pouch Or Pocket
  • Redundancy Equipment (spare bungee, double ended bolt snap, cable ties and mouthpiece)

What can I do once certified and what to try next..?

There are many levels of sidemount specialties after you start down the technical training ladder.

If Carlsberg made Cave Courses in Sidemount…

Cave Diver Training Courses MexicoThey would probably be offered in Mexico and look like this;

My goal is simple, it’s to offer you one of the best cave training courses available. After each course I run, I take the time to sit down and re-look over every aspect of the course, focusing on how each day can run better, the ideal locations, the equipment, logistics and ways I can best video document your training experience… Depending on your current experience level and any cavern or cave level certifications you already have, I then determine what days of my program you need to do.

Types of cave training;

  • Cavern Training – allow 4 days.
  • Intro to Cave Diver – allow 5 days.
  • Full Cave Diver – allow 8 days.
  • Upgrade from Intro to Full Cave – allow 3 to 4 days.
  • Stage Cave Diver – allow 3 days.
  • DPV Cave Diver – allow 3 to 4 days.

Only x3 student spaces are available per course; once the 1st person books in that will fix the exact course dates for other students. You need to allow additional days before & after course (for practice or guided dives).

All you need to do;

  1. Arrange time off work for yourself (and family if you want to bring) suggest 7, 10 or 14 days.
  2. Book your flights to Cancun, Mexico and accommodation in Playa, Puerto Aventuras or Tulum.
  3. You only need to bring essential equipment; suitable exposure suit, mask, fins & dive computer, I can provide the rest.

What I will do;

  • Pick you up & drop you off each day from your accommodation, days generally start 8am to 7pm.
  • I provide cylinders, transport to dive sites (daily entrance fee varies & payable by you, approx. 10 to 20 US per day).
  • I provide you with complete sidemount cave training equipment.
  • Daily basic lunch provided between dives, you can also bring your own.
  • Debrief you with HD video feedback during training, all videos are yours to keep after training.
  • We will make a 50+ picture photo album and 4 to 5 minute highlight video of your course, this will appear on my Side Mount Scuba Diving facebook fan page.

So how does it work exactly;

Most divers come to me for a full cave training course, this takes 8 days from start to finish. The first 4 to 5 days are the intro to cave level and the last 3 to 4 days are the full cave part. Once the full cave is completed it is normal that divers stay on and do 1 or 2 days additional guided cave dives where we visit some special non-training caves. If 10 days straight is too much diving for you don’t worry, I can do first 5 days to complete intro then everyone has a day off to rest then we can continue… more rest days can be added if needed, best to discuss this with your holiday needs in mind.

Still not sure what you might need, don’t worry I suggest you contact me, with your experience and let me know your current diving certifications and I can then let you know what you need to complete either via emails or better over a Skype call.

Who can join;

Any diver that is at least 18 years old, has a advanced open water certification (or equivalent) with 50 logged dives. Courses will be conducted in sidemount, you do not need to be certified in sidemount to join, I will include training and certification within the training. One of the most important skills a cave diver must master is buoyancy control, depending on how good you feel you are, I will suggest upon talking to you and at booking stage, if you should take an (optional) day or two before the cave course start doing an open water sidemount workshop.

If you have no sidemount experience and/or you feel you are not very competent with your diving essential skills, buoyancy, trim & finning techniques, then I suggest you do 2 days prior to each of our 8 day program.

Here is a basic outline of what we will do;

  • Day 1 – Cenote Ponderosa – Theory, land and open water workshop on buoyancy, trim and propulsion techniques.
  • Day 2 – Ponderosa – Theory, land and open water “stress test” skills circuit and instructor lead cavern dive.
  • Day 3 – Chikin Ha – Theory, line laying workshops, cavern dive and instructor lead intro to cave dive.
  • Day 4 – Taj Mahal – Theory, x2 intro to cave level dives.
  • Day 5 – Taj Mahal – Land workshop, x2 intro to cave dives with missing diver and lost line drills 🙂
  • Day 6 – Car Wash – Theory, Navigation and open water water skills circuit, instructor lead cave dive.
  • Day 7 – Minotauro – Theory, x2 cave dives with restrictions and air sharing.
  • Day 8 – Gran Cenote – Theory, x2 cave dives with complex navigation.

I will provide regulators and sidemount system (if needed), you just need the rest.

Cave Diver Training Courses Mexico 2Cave training equipment list;

  • Wetsuit (5mm or 7mm) water temp 25*C
  • Wetsuit Hood (3mm or 5mm) or hooded vest
  • Suitable fins and wetsuit boots (no split fins, call me if you have been using these)
  • Mask (suggest black silicone)
  • x3 Non-directional cave markers/rem’s & x3 Directional line arrows
  • x2 backup lights (small, suitable for helmet mounting)
  • x1 canister light suitable for cave diving (I can provide if you do not have)
  • x2 line cutting devices (suggest eezycut)
  • x1 saftey spool (approx 30 metres long)
  • x1 wetnotes
  • x1 Dive computer
  • x1 timing device (watch or dive timer)
  • x1 compass (can be a small button compass for watch, suunto make a clipper compass)

I can provide helmet for use during training. Dive lights need to have a 4 hour burn-time (minimum).

Remember: all equipment can be provided during training, this will include complete sidemount system, regulators, lights, cave equipment. You just need to bring suitable fins, exposure suit and mask. If you have your own equipment please provide me with a full list so we can check its suitability before you bring it.

Sounds amazing, what does it cost..?

I usually take a 25% deposit (ideally via PayPal) upon booking confirmation.

  • Sidemount workshop (optional) – 300 USD (per day).
  • Intro to cave course (5 days) – 1500 USD.
  • Full cave upgrade (4 days) – 1200 USD.
  • Complete cave course (8 days) – 2400 USD.
  • Guided cave diving (includes 2 dives) – 300 USD (per day).

All courses will include your final certification and will be sanctioned TDI cave courses. If you join the complete cave course and are very competent moving through the training days, the training can be completed in 7 days, if so I will either reflect this in the price or do an additional day of guided diving (including video filming).

More information & help with booking;

Please contact – – Skype name: steve626508

I hope this is a good enough reason for you to drop everything and come over, don’t be one of those people wishing you would have 😉

I want to teach sidemount will you train me..?

Yes, but there are conditions (please read in full).

Firstly, the sidemount instructor course I offer is unique to all the rest; join me and become an official Sidemount Essentials instructor.

Instructor Level Training Courses ...available WorldwideSidemount Essentials is a custom speciality, that I have been developing over the last 6 years. Starting from 2017, I have decided to offer this level to instructors who have a real proven passion for sidemount diving and looking to offer the highest quality Side Mount training to their students. Any instructor that has this credential constantly receives training updates from myself, ensuring their teaching abilities remain up to date and consistent with my own.

You must first take my student level course and then spend time developing your own sidemount diving skill level, before I will consider you to become a Sidemount Essentials instructor. There is no fast track option to getting this instructor credential, sorry. This is the only way I can assure everyone else, that you have taken the right initial sidemount training and then put the time in needed to become a highly competent sidemount diver, before offering this level of training to others.

Sidemount diving is something that I have spent the last 6 years changing my life and business around. I only want to work with people who have a true passion for wanting to teach sidemount diving and who are looking to really make a real difference within the dive industry.

Reasons to offer Sidemount Essentials;

Firstly it will separate you from all the other “Side Mount Instructors” in this now booming market…

  • Enables you to build a solid name and reputation for yourself in the sidemount training world.
  • You will be offering my Sidemount Essentials specialty, which has a world renowned quality stamp on it.
  • Students will pay for valuable training.
  • Steve Martin will be supporting and backing you 100% as a sidemount instructor.
  • I will also back and support your business, helping you and it stand out from the others.

Please note: there are restrictions placed on how you conduct the sidemount essentials course; this is to ensure worldwide consistency between instructors and maintain the reputation and creditability of the Sidemount training program.

How do I maintain my Sidemount Essentials Instructor rating;Instructor Level Training Courses ...available Worldwide 2

  • Attend an annual training update, conducted by Steve Martin (2 days)
  • Use only the latest up to date teaching presentations and videos
  • Maintain the fixed course price for the sidemount essentials program
  • Only use the approved sidemount equipment listed on the Sidemount Essentials course page
  • Training must take place over a 4 day process, strictly following the skill sequence and course outline
  • You can only offer this sidemount course to others (maintains quality and value)
  • Any changes to the training outline must be authorised by Steve Martin
  • You will pay Steve Martin a fixed fee per student completing this training course.

After we have agreed that you are ready to become a sidemount essentials instructor. You will join a sidemount essentials course I am conducting and assist a minimum of x1 complete training course. I would be training you to become a competent instructor, not just giving you a ticket to teach. So if you are not up to scratch then more work would be needed before I can provide you with this certification. Training with me to become a sidemount instructor is not going to be the easiest option, the most valuable and rewarding, offering you a sustained income in the future …most likely!!

Instructors I have trained and currently authorised to teach this program for 2017 are;

  • Vas Proud, his facebook profile (view here)

Please note: All instructors that wish to keep on this list, will need to meet the conditions above. That way I can be sure the students receive the best sidemount training from any instructor I am seen to be endorsing.

Some training is worth paying that bit extra for…

I offer training in Mexico and Gozo (Malta), occasionally I offer training in the UK.advice-and-tips-for-new-divers

Soon I will be releasing courses dates for 2017… Please take your time and read through this page.

Course prices include;

  • All tuition & instruction from Steve Martin
  • All air fills (nitrox & helium mixes are at extra cost)
  • Courses will run 1on1, if your the only student booked in (max x3)
  • I will provide all sidemount diving equipment (if required)
  • Hire of a suitable sidemount mount harness & BCD
  • Hire of a sidemount regulator system
  • Hire of a set of sidemount cylinders, hardware & weights
  • Certification (if required)

What is not included;

  • Dive facility in Gozo cost €40 per person, per day.
  • For Mexico there is a $10 to $20 per person, per day, dive site entrance fee instead.
  • The training materials for standardised courses (students required to study before they arrive)

5-cylinders-to-no-mount-demonstrationPlease note: My online training membership access will be charged at 50% once you book onto a course. If you have these materials already 50% will of there cost will be deducted from your course training fees.

For other standardised TDI and PADI courses I recommend you obtain the course materials/manuals prior to the course, so you can study in advance (e.g TecRec Deep & Trimix Manuals, TDI Nitrox/Decompression Procedures Manuals). You are required to bring your personal mask, suitable fins, dive computer and exposure suit (dive centre can provided if needed at additional cost).

All training dives have a maximum depth limit of 30 metres, skills dives generally conducted between 8 and 10 metres (unless your booked on a technical course)

Training Options and Costs;

  • Guided Diving (per day), I either do custom daily training or guiding; I include photos/videos as I do with all training.
  • Sidemount Experience is aimed at all backmount or twinset divers that want to try out sidemount, this session runs over a 1/2 day.
  • Sidemount Essentials Course is done over 3 or 4 days, with 6 to 8 training dives suitable for all levels of certified diver.
  • Sidemount Stage/Deco Cylinder Handling workshop is done over 2 days and is suitable for experienced side mount divers only.

Please note: All my training runs on a fixed daily rate. €275 EURO (in Gozo), $300 USD (in Mexico) and £250 GBP (in UK) this is all per person, per day.

You just total up the amount for example 3 days of any kind of training in Mexico is 900 USD. I generally run all courses with 2 student, 3 is my maximum and if a training course actually has 3 people on it this makes the days a little longer for everyone, so in return for this I will reduce all daily rates for each person on the course by 10%. All courses will run even if you are the only person booked on. If you book in as a group of 3 people, you get a 10% discount per person off all training rates.

Cave Training Courses …see training options on actual section (above)

TDI Technical Courses …I train all divers in sidemount configuration only

    • Guided Technical Diving (per day), I either do custom daily training or guiding; I include photos/videos as I do with all training.
    • Sidemount Essentials + Advanced Nitrox, can be done over 4 or 5 days with at least 8 dives, suitable for all certified divers.
    • Sidemount Essentials + Advanced Nitrox + Decompression Procedures, can be done over 8 days with at least 12 dives, suitable for all certified divers.
    • Advanced Nitrox + Deco Procedures can be done over 4 or 5 days with at least 8 dives, suitable for all certified sidemount divers.
    • Helitrox or Adv Wreck or Trimix Experienced Side Mount Divers, days vary based on dive experience, contact for more information.

Sidemount Essentials Training with Steve Martin

Please note: All TDI Technical courses include the hire of cylinders and equipment but does not include the gas fill costs or any boat costs to get to the wrecks – all tec courses can be completed with shore dives (boat dives optional). I do offer a special discounted rate for guided dives (including photo/videos) this is for any divers who have already booked onto a course, dive centre day rates gas costs need to be added depending on the type of diving you are doing.

PADI TecRec Courses …I train all divers in sidemount configuration only

  • Guided Technical Diving (per day), I either do custom daily training or guiding; I include photos/videos as I do with all training.
  • Sidemount Essentials + Tec 40, can be done over 4 or 5 days with at least 8 dives, suitable for all certified divers.
  • PADI Full Tec Deep Course (Tec 40 to Tec 50), can be done over 8 days with at least 12 dives, suitable for all certified divers.
  • PADI Tec 65 & Tec Trimix, can be done over 6 to 8 days with at least 8 dives, suitable for certified tec 50 divers.
  • Tec Advanced Sidemount Wreck Course (Custom Speciality), 5 days and minimum 8 dives, suitable for experienced sidemount divers.

Please note: All PADI TecRec courses include the hire of cylinders and equipment but does not include the gas fill costs or any boat costs to get to the wrecks – all tec courses can be completed with shore dives (boat dives optional). I do offer a special discounted rate for guided dives (including photo/videos) this is for any divers who have already booked onto a course, dive centre day rates gas costs need to be added depending on the type of diving you are doing.

Students will need to:

  • Book flights, accommodation (contact me for recommendation list)
  • For Gozo (Malta) courses, I usually have an apartment with 3 bedrooms, this means 2 bedrooms are available for students during training (contact me for rates/availability)

Terms and Conditions:

  • A deposit of 25% is required upon booking (if this will be a financial problem, contact me)
  • Deposit is withheld upon cancellations (without 1 month cancellation notice)

Bookings and Enquiries:

It is essential that we get in touch, so we can discuss your current diving skill level, your expectations and goals of your training. I work on a day by day rate, and courses such as “Side Mount Essentials” have a minimum set number of days. This is set to ensure that you receive the right amount of time to practice and develop the necessary dive skills needed for the foundations of your sidemount development. Having a “structured” course also allows you ample time to absorb and retain the information presented during that course. Any additional days to complete training will be charged at my day rate.

Side Mount Training with Steve MartinBook now by emailing I am happy to spend 15 to 30 minutes with anyone via Skype to discuss your sidemount training, this will not cost you anything…

I want you to be happy with the training you receive…

So this means, if you are not satisfied at the end of your first day, you reserve the option to cancel your further training days without further payment, no problems and no hard feelings. If after day 1, you are 100% satisfied with my training then your sidemount development can continue! So for just one day of your time you get the chance to find out if I am the right person to be training you. As a professional, I would much rather somebody be 100% satisfied with the training they receive than feel obligated to stick with something they are not necessarily happy with.

Why do you offer this money back guarantee..?

Having myself taken many training courses from a variety of instructors over the years, I have found that, while sometimes the course I paid for was enjoyable and did indeed meet my expectations, there were often occasions in which a course I enrolled in and paid for did not fulfil these same expectations and was not a rewarding or enjoyable experience. In hindsight, my training development would have been a much more fulfilling and enjoyable experience had I taken the time out to properly research each individual instructor and their training philosophy’s.

So I believe that you should retain the right to choose whether or not my teaching style and philosophy is the right one for you. I am confident in my teaching ability and understand that some people may choose not to continue their training. And so therefore, I am more then willing to spend the necessary time training with you, in order for you to make that decision.

I believe in always teaching to the best of my ability and I believe my training is more than worth your time and commitment. If you would like to know more, you can view what others have to say in the testimonials found on the about page (view here)

Side Mount Essentials Training is now available in Gainesville, Florida

Looking for training in Florida ?

Our freelance instructor Joseph Seda is now offering endorsed training courses out of Gainesville

Joe completed his side mount essentials instructor course with Steve Martin after an intensive 2 weeks of training in April 2017

For group training over a long weekends, Joe might be able to travel to a dive site near you, note additional travel expenses may apply

Please contact Joe directly for available course dates

All instructors follow strict training guidelines

All students must enroll and complete relevant online training prior to taking any in-water courses regardless of instructor

Training currently offered in Florida is side mount experience conducted over 1 day or side mount essentials taking 3 to 4 days

Workshops also available for all levels of certified side mount divers who are looking to improve their skills or learn something new like stage and decompression cylinder handling – 727.470.5513

2017 schedule and training locations …find out where I will be and when !!

I will be in Australia, until February 2017

After I will be back in Mexico, contact me for my course availability. New training calendar coming soon, check back here for details.

Please research your future instructor carefully!!
…not all training courses are the same.

Ask yourself has your future instructor;

  • Written & developed their own proven training courses
  • Have the experience and ability to train dive instructors
  • Uploaded YouTube videos, inspiring and helping divers
  • Trained hundreds of divers in your chosen configuration
  • A website and facebook fan page with 5600+ subscribers
  • A public YouTube channel with 5000+ subscribers
  • A proven history of actual dive experience in your chosen field
  • Given unbiased advice on equipment selection over the years
  • Advised & worked with dive manufacturers to make equipment
  • Been invited to host talks & seminars around the world
  • Lastly eat, sleep & breath around your training course time
    online courses sold

    Years of experience


    Trained students

    Check out what is included in each of the following packages

    • Free Course Lessons | 50 minutes split over 7 videos
    • Backmount Essentials Course | 2 h 23 min split over 22 videos
    • Sidemount Course | 10 h 17 min split over 69 videos
    • Technical Diving Course | 3 h 2 min split over 26 videos
    • All Divers Course | 3 h 47 min split over 25 videos
    • Finning Techniques Training | 1 h 30 min split over 14 videos
    • Hand Signals Training | 31 minutes split over 5 videos