Tec Dossier – Simon Townsend


Usual Country of residence: SPAIN


What is your background and current involvement in diving?

I come from an engineering background but I have always been involved in water sports and whilst living in Barbados I became hooked on diving and went on to qualify as an instructor. I have been a full time diving instructor since that time and I am currently living in Spain, running courses and organising expeditions to various locations such as Poland and Croatia amongst other things.

rehydrating during a dive in dahab

How did you get into tec diving?

Through an instructor friend of mine who was into cave and trimix diving. He was a great influence on me encouraging me to take time and gain experience before moving on to the next level. Sadly he is no longer alive but I will always remember the advice he gave me.

Do have any specialised areas of interest?

In particular I love deep wrecks and cave diving using rebreathers.  I also really enjoy teaching and helping new TEC divers reach their goals.

What do think the greatest challenges are in this kind of diving?

Patience and dedication. It is tempting to join other more experienced divers on more demanding dives, but you need to take it slowly, there is no need to rush. You also need the dedication to practice as a team in shallower waters until everything is right, it may seem boring at the time but it might save your life one day.

decompressing with the team dahab

What are the most important attributes of a tec diver for the type of diving you do?

They must be a team player with a high level of skill, dedication and experience. Someone you can really trust. They must also have the desire to help others using their own experience.

What are the most likely mistakes a tec diver can make in your kind of diving?

Some divers want to run before they can walk. At this level it is essential to gain experience slowly and learn from other more experienced TEC divers before trying to achieve the next level.  Also failing to rehearse big dives.

SIMON on deco

How do you prepare for a demanding technical dive?

Everyone, including the support team, has to be both mentally and physically fit, there is no room for error. I spend a lot of time with the team going over plans and procedures and making sure everyone is in the right frame of mind. Equipment must also be maintained to a high standard.

What were your best or worst tec diving experiences?

My best experience has to have been the project 9000 dives in excess of 150 metres, carried out in Dahab and Spain. The whole experience with the teams including planning, practising and preparing for the dives was fantastic.

What influences your selection of dive gear?

I have to test the equipment personally in a safe environment before progressing to more challenging dives. It is part of my life support and it has to be designed for the job, hard wearing and reliable.

What kind of person do you want diving in the same team as you?

They should be a team player and a person who can be trusted. Someone who is reliable and adaptable, not someone who solely wants to be the bottom diver on a deep wreck or push diver in a cave. They need to be willing to help out at all stages and play their part as a support diver if need be.


What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting into tec diving?

Take it slow. Firstly find an instructor who is actively involved in the sort of diving you wish to pursue. By ‘being active’ I mean not just teaching but taking part in expeditions etc. Then get involved with an active team. Start by being part of the support team and gradually become more involved over a period of time.

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