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How to Be a Spartan

To be, or not to be...

…wait, was that a question? This isn’t a recruiting plug. If anything, it’s a statement of fact. 

Whether you dive with us, around us, or in spite of us – as long as you are in (preferably under) the water, care about leaving the world in better place, and building up rather than tearing down your fellow divers, then you’re mostly a Spartan already!

That being said, what does it really mean to be a Spartan Diver? And how do you become one? 


I once had an old Chinese medicine doctor tell me that, “Mastery is nothing more than mastery of the basics“. That stuck deep in my core, and took me back to the early Marine Corps days where the emphasis is on breaking you down to an empty shell, filling you up with the basics. 

Man do old people know stuff!

We live in a world where everyone wants to reach the peak, to be the most popular, be the most effective, to master medicine, to win the internet… but none of them are true masters of their craft! They are masters of illusion, nothing more. 

Spartans put emphasis on training, and operate with a belief that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

Save the Humans

Think of any adage you learned as a kid…

  • Leave it better than it was.
  • Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Leave no trace.

The list goes on.

Spartans care about the environment. Cleaning up a lake or our ocean dive sites is just a small part of what we can do to make sure the places we touch end up better than when we got there, not just because it helps the critters who live there, but it’s a small thing we can do to help US live longer.

We also aren’t so arrogant as to believe that we can save the planet, because, as we learned from George Carlin, the planet will be just fine long after we’re gone. We aren’t here to save the planet… we’re here to save the humans!

Dive to Your Training

I’ll say it again- just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!

I can’t even tell you the countless times I’ve seen people dive outside of their training, simply because they can. A diver who is open water certified with SDI is taught to go no-deeper than 60 feet. But really, will they explode in a puff of smoke by going to 65 feet? 70 feet? 90?? Not likely. 

But the basic training you receive with SDI doesn’t teach you anything about what changes or what possible issues you might come up against by racing out to 90 feet!

Since we really can’t “know what we don’t know”, we have to default to, “dive what you know”. Unless you are involved in an active training program and working with an instructor to get you to the next level, stick to the basics, and dive within your training.

The Real Scuba Steve decompressing

Call It Before It Calls You

Yet another example of ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!’

A Spartan Diver is unafraid to admit they are too cold for another dive, or aren’t feeling right in their equipment today. 

Just because you are certified to 130′, if the conditions at 70′ didn’t leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy then don’t force that planned deep dive. Bailing on a dive plan before you go shows tremendous strength of character. If your dive buddy is worth their salt, they’ll understand.

Diving is supposed to be safe and fun. If you aren’t feeling it, tell your buddy then find a hammock and put your feet up until they get back!

Mutual Respect

All divers are created equal, particularly on the inside. Granted everyone has different capabilities and tolerances, but each and every human we come into contact with has an immune system, a sense of humor, feelings, etcetera, that is completely unique to them.

In this, we do not mock, shame, or belittle others. Tearing another diver down serves no benefit.

Likewise, Spartans do not challenge the abilities of one another. We ask about credentials and capabilities, but we never push a diver outside of their comfort zone. Not every bubble blower wants to be a deep diver, just like not every deep diver wants to be a decompression diver. 

Respecting each other for who we are, and what each of us brings to this table of life is a key component of being a Spartan.

Team Wins = Your Wins

This means that we care about each and every member of the dive team. When one of us reaches a milestone or achieves a new certification, it’s a win for everybody. We don’t secretly wish we were doing better or more than others.

I once had a dive buddy that I really cherished. He was a decent enough diver, to be sure, but he had this nasty trait of constantly trying to one-up, or beat me. I had been certified a few years prior to him, so it was natural that I had a few more dives and certifications in the bag. 

We got out of the water after my 200th dive and I was stoked to log it. He leaned over and instead of saying something like, “good job, buddy,” he chuckled and told me he needed to go out on a live-aboard so he could smash out a bunch of dives in order to get ahead of me. This is where I truly learned what kind of a man he was, and it was the beginning of the end of our diving relationship.

It also, for me, set the bar for what it means to be a Spartan Diver. Your wins are my wins, and hopefully mine are yours. I’m here to make sure each and every diver on our team meets their personal definition of success; I’d be honored to welcome you aboard if you’re down to do the same for me and the rest of our motley crew of ragtag divers… 

Spartan Scuba & Dive Team. 
Train hard… dive easy!

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Doc Strand

An eight year Marine Corps veteran, Dr. Strand discovered Chinese medicine as a last resort when recovering from a military related injury. He has since dedicated his life to the practice of medicine; a doctor to all - a healer to many. In recent years he has turned to SCUBA diving as a meditation aid in his quest for ultimate peace. The desire to share that gift led to the creation of Spartan Scuba. Doc’s experiences and travels abroad impact not only his writing style, but his passion for life, scuba, and medicine.