Everything in this article is something I’ve heard from spearfishing students before they went through my program or things I’ve read on the forums.

Rick is a 38-year-old spearo from the Northeastern United States and has been shooting fish for 2 years.

“I can spearfish around 25 feet, but once I get down there I get a pain in my ear that gets worse and worse throughout the day. It’s always my right ear and my ENT says I need surgery to get it fixed. I know it’s not because of bad equalizing because my left ear is fine. My buddy said if I took a freediving class they could teach me how to Frenzel which would solve the issue. I thought about that, but then I read a post on a forum where SpearoMasterBlaster said he puts a mixture of alcohol and eucalyptus oil in his ears and takes Sudafed with coconut water before every dive and that fixes everything. I’ll probably try that next. If that doesn’t work, I could use the money I was gonna spend on a class and just upgrade to a gun with three bands for more range and get those carbon fiber fins everyone is talking about. I could totally whack a fish at 35-40 feet while I’m at 25 feet.”

Bill is 28 from South Florida and has been spearfishing for 5 years.

“All my buddies can shoot big fish in the 60 to 70 feet range, and they post super cool pictures on Instagram #DeepFishTasteBetter #BigBoyDepths. I can only get down to around 40 feet #TinyFish #NotInstagramWorthy. I thought about taking a class but then I saw a YouTube video about how to hold your breath longer. It even talks about an app you can get on your phone for $1.99 that makes you hold your breath even longer and the competitive freedivers use it! So I’ve been working on that recently and I can definitely hold my breath longer sitting on the couch, but I can’t dive any deeper. I think I just need to hold my breath on the couch more. I also read a post where DeepDiver69 said he used the Lung-Expander and it made him spearfish better, so I’ll order that too. Then instead of using the money for a freediving class I can get a cool camera because #LadiesLikeDeepFishPics.”

John is 45 and has been spearfishing for 30 years in the California area.

“I’m tired of the Freediving Police going on and on about watching your buddy. Everyone I’ve ever known that spearfishes just goes right off the beach by themselves and we are all fine. I mean, I’ve heard about the increase in fatalities from spearfishing, but they’re all just pushing themselves, staying down too long, and diving too deep. My buddies and I are conservative and we know our limits. It’s pretty simple, just come up before you would black out so you don’t die. My buddy took the course and he said if someone blacks out just blow across their eyes and they’ll be fine.”

You must be living under a rock if you haven’t noticed the disturbing number of easily preventable fatalities in the sport during 2015. The number of people getting the sport is increasing as well as the fatalities. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation regarding freediving out there. No column of mine, YouTube video, forum post, or quick tip from your buddy who took a course will replace the knowledge and skills you would gain in a freediving course. Not to mention the quality of information received in this manner is highly variable. Any course will give you tools to dive safely, deal with a diver who has blacked out, and increase your freediving performance which will only enhance your spearfishing.

In 2016, try to make a goal to be a safer diver. Dive one-up, one-down and be #CloseEnoughToGrab your buddy when they surface. If the general spearfishing culture would adopt those two simple rules almost every fatality would disappear!

Ted Harty teaches 2-4 courses a month year round in Fort Lauderdale, FL. More info @ www.Immersionfreediving.com. Immersion Freediving is proud to be the official freediving course of Spearing Magazine.