Diving identities used to be simple. Divers were such a tiny minority that the idea of categorising them would have been ludicrous; beards and beer bellies were the only fashion accessories.
There was no point being snobby about brands and labels, or even styles of diving, because everyone had to make his own kit and a 15m dive was considered a challenge.
Today scuba is considered such a mainstream activity that diving the Great Barrier Reef was voted number 2 in the BBCs 50 Things To Do Before You Die survey in 2003. With training available to all, the sport is no longer the sole preserve of fire-fighters and ex-military personnel.
With greater diversity in the kind of people becoming divers, and in diving aspirations and opportunities, its only natural that this new community will throw up some interesting stereotypes. What follows is not a complete guide, just a snapshot of some familiar personality traits. We know youll recognise them.

Adrenalin Diver
hspace=5 Clearly spent lots of time fantasising about being Action Man as a child. Likes to describe diving as an extreme sport and is generally disappointed at the less-than-athletic appearance and lacklustre attitude of most of the other (boring!) divers on the boat.
Tends to have a fairly short life-cycle within diving - there are far sexier (and riskier) sports out there to distract him. As soon as he realises that his ambition to become the first diver to reach 500m cannot be achieved in the next 12 months, hell be off to pastures new.
Tell-tale signs: Fascination with free-diving, wildly ambitious personal goals - likely to be planning to dive the Lusitania even before he has passed his entry-level scuba course.
Most likely to say: Lets go wake-boarding behind the RIB on route to the dive site!
Least likely to say: A 40m dive Its beyond the limits of my experience, so Id have to say no.
Mixes well with: Zero-Tolerance Diver, who he admires for discipline and purity, and the Tekkie, who he thinks is suitably extreme. Unfortunately both will despise him on sight.
Cant abide: Bimblers - a waste of compressed air.

Bimbler
hspace=5 A cheerful soul, easily pleased, even in low-viz UK conditions. After achieving an entry-level diving qualification, the Bimbler basically gave up the quest for badges and got on with diving. He or she will happily spend an entire dive mooching about in kelp or teasing blennies on a wreck.
Tell-tale signs: Dawdling and lack of purpose. More goal-orientated divers will pass the bimbler on their way to the bow, and again on their trek to the stern. Bimblers rarely complain about a site and appear pleasantly surprised to come across the shotline at the end of a dive. Generally safe, conservative divers but with an inbuilt dislike of delayed SMBs - a bit too much fuss.
Most likely to say: Dive plan Go down and have a little look around, hopefully come back on 50 bar
Least likely to say: Scenic shore-diving Forget it! If you cant guarantee a decent off-shore wreck, I wont bother.
Mixes well with: Everybody.
Cant abide: Bimblers are difficult to annoy, though One-Up Divers can try their patience.

Captain Clipboard
hspace=5 Hes in charge. Five minutes on a boat with him and youll be wondering how he manages to squeeze the fins on over those jackboots. Its nice to know that somebody is taking responsibility for the dive, but it feels like being back at junior school.
Nobody ever told Captain Clipboard that diving is supposed to be enjoyable and he is having too much fun bossing everybody about to notice that hes an annoying prat. Trying to point this out to him will only earn you a stern lecture on the importance of diving safety, so most divers respond by behaving like naughty children.
Tell-tale signs: The clipboard is a give-away. Shouted, military-style orders come a close second, and dive and safety briefings that take longer than the dive.
Most likely to say: You have 7min, 45sec before slack. Nobody leaves the boat before giving me their dive plan and cylinder pressure!
Least likely to say: You cant find your tables Dont worry, just follow your computer.
Mixes well with: Its tempting to say nobody, but Captain Clipboard is invariably an instructor, so will have plenty of Eager Eddies around him.
Cant abide: Keiths drive him insane. He can only abide divers with more clout in the hierarchy than he has.

Disintegrating Diver
hspace=5 A walking patchwork, instantly recognisable from a drysuit mostly constructed from glue and looking like the result of an enormous sneeze in a neoprene factory.
A DIY man at heart, Disintegrating Diver believes that the best dive equipment is home-built or long discontinued. Tatty, faded fabrics, elastic bands, an abundance of plumbers mastic and a Post Office sack as a goody bag are badges of honour. His kit testifies that hes been diving a long time and survived without designer gadgetry.
Tell-tale signs: A trail of split wrist seals, escaping rusted bolts and a heady whiff of rubber-based glue.
Most likely to say: Try this plywood reel I made, just remember to keep your thumb over the locking nut. Has anyone seen a locking nut on the deck
Least likely to say: Look! I bought this new Kowalski torch for just£400!
Mixes well with: ScubaGITs, Mingers, and anyone who has a toolkit containing spares.
Cant abide: Cant be bothered to dislike other divers, just finds their spending and gadgetry silly.

Eager Eddie
hspace=5 Every committed diver goes though an eager stage when even a dip in Stoney Cove is a magical experience. Eager Eddie buzzes with enthusiasm and is always desperately keen to prove worthy of any challenge.
Tell-tale signs: Talks incessantly about diving. Often labelled as badge-collectors, Eager Eddies sign up for every course going.
Closely related to: Zero-Tolerance Diver - an Eager Eddie with a little bit of knowledge.
Most likely to say: Ive just bought this Halcyon dive harness but Im not sure how to fit my AutoAir.
Least likely to say: Can we just talk about something other than diving
Mixes well with: Captain Clipboard, an object of admiration, and Tekkies and Gadget Geeks, objects of fascination.
Cant abide: Non-divers.

Fish Prodder
hspace=5 A walking encyclopaedia of fish names and facts, lives for close encounters with marine life. Idea of heaven an extended trip to Sulawesi, logging and photographing fish species, but
failing that will sniff out interesting specimens from Portland to Panorama Reef.
Fish Prodders are often set up as opposites to wreck-divers, but this isnt the case, as wrecks attract fish. Leading fish-prodder Richard Pyle popularised the concept of deep decompression stops on which most technical divers now rely.
Tell-tale signs: Swimming slowly and staying still for long periods of time. Books with photographs full of marine species. A tendency to lapse into Latin names when speaking. Ask a fish-prodder about his passion and be prepared for hours of fishy facts.
Most likely to say: Did you see the spots on that Chromodoris splendida
Least likely to say: No, I didnt see any barracuda, I was admiring the foredeck railings.
Mixes well with: Bimblers, Underwater Photographers.
Cant abide: Dive guides who swim too fast. Hunter-Gatherers - fish are friends, not food!

Gadget Geek
hspace=5 Scuba-diving is an equipment-intensive sport. Gadget Geek will fettle and calibrate happily for hours, but will look shocked when told that its time to jump into the water.
More traditional divers view Gadget Geek as the embodiment of everything they despise about modern diving - until they need a spare O-ring, a Schrader valve or a battery change on their computer.
Tell-tale signs:Staring at and fiddling with gadgets. On a dive, Gadget Geek is still easy to spot, with his Xmas tree appearance and continuous beeping. Will chat for hours about RGBM decompression software versus the VR3, but ask about his personal life and hell have little to say.
Most likely to say: Sorry, but I need to calibrate my fourth cell first.
Least likely to say: Electronics and water dont really mix.
Closely related to: Virtual Diver.
Mixes well with: Tekkies.
Cant abide: Zero-Tolerance Divers, who sneer at his gadgets.

Hunter-Gatherer
hspace=5 From blokes who insist on diving with 2m spearguns, to ad hoc lobster-grabbers, flattie-bashers and scallop-snatchers, the Hunter-Gatherer is driven by a desire to catch supper or make a profit from a weekends diving.
Will become so carried away with the hunt that personal safety becomes a secondary issue. Running out of gas, missing stops because of buoyancy problems caused by carrying six dozen scallops, injuries from mishaps with spears and knives - its all part of the big adventure.
Tell-tale signs:A well-used dive knife, several goodie-bags, and a variety of hooks and other implements. Occasional dodgy dealings with the skipper and local seafood restaurants.
Most likely to say: Pass me the podger!
Least likely to say: Scallop runs are so boring, I dont see the point.
Closely related to: Wreckies - both aim to come back with more than they had when they jumped off the boat.
Mixes well with: ScubaGITs - hunter-gathering is an admired traditional part of scuba.
Cant abide: Fish Prodders, conservationists and girlie divers who get upset at the sight of a lobster in a bucket.

Instinctive Instructor
hspace=5 Someone whose identity has become inseparable from his or her instructor status. Its like being with a Scout Leader or Girl Guide on speed.
The constant teaching points and taking control can get very wearing, especially if youre not a student. On holiday, Instinctive Instructors do their best to upstage dive guides, insist on taking less-experienced divers under their wing and criticise the standards of the dive operator.
Tell-tale signs:Casual re-tying of the knots youve used to lash your kit to the boat while commenting on the sea state and making recommendations about your dive plan - before youve even been introduced. Polo shirts badged instructor or instructor trainer.
Most likely to say: STOP! Regain control! Ive put two sugars in your tea - you need to raise your blood sugar level before the next dive.
Least likely to say: You lead the dive, Ill just tag along.
Mixes well with: Eager Eddies, but will soon patronise even the most eager into a stupor.
Cant abide: Divers from rival training agencies, especially instructors.


The Jinx
hspace=5 Have you noticed how certain divers seem to carry bad luck around with them Definable only by outcome, a Jinx is often involved in some misadventure but rarely comes off the worst.
Land logic and rules dont apply. Ask any seasoned sailor if there are people who jinx entire trips and they will pause, look away, and say yes.
Tell-tale signs:Blown-out dives, sudden squalls, engine failures, snarled props, lost shotlines, kit failures, missed wrecks. And if an albatross starts following your boat, pray to Neptune.
Most likely to say: What bad luck! I was so hoping everything would go right after that disaster last time.
Least likely to say: Its almost as if this trip is jinxed.
Mixes well with: Everybody. Cant afford to make enemies.
Cant abide: The superstitious.

Keith
hspace=5 The role of club numpty is invariably filled by a bloke called Keith who works in IT. Keiths turn up on club trips with frightening regularity, but always missing an essential piece of kit. If its possible to lose one fin between car and boat, a Keith will manage it.
Possessors of great comic timing, Keiths announce their latest mishap at the most critical moment, causing the dive organiser to become apoplectic and the rest of the group to collapse in hysterics. Everybody can feel good about themselves with Keiths around.
Tell-tale signs:Missing or inadequate kit, short attention span, sad lack of social skills, nice anorak.
Most likely to say: I havent checked the tables because Im using a dive computer. Yes, it normally makes that beeping sound. Probably because its been stuck on 50% nitrox since June 2002 - but its never bent me!
Least likely to: Become Diving Officer.
Mixes well with: Gadget Geeks, Virtual Divers -the poor relation of both groups.
Cant abide: Has no feelings strong enough to identify anybody he cant abide.

Luxury Diver
hspace=5 A new class of diver, invented in the USA. Armed with limitless funds, Luxury Divers seek out the worlds best diving locations and liveaboards, and capture their experiences using the best cameras, videos and laptops.
Most are 50-plus, successful career people who have paid off their mortgages and put their kids through university, but they are joined by a growing number of younger, childless professionals.
Tell-tale signs:Tantrums when the luxury-style treatment isnt up to scratch. First-class upgrades, Dive Quest brochures, widescreen Apple laptops running multimedia applications. May carry the latest mobile phone but be unsure how to use it.
Most likely to say: Cocos was so much better two years ago.
Least likely to say: The air-conditioning broke down, but we didnt mind.
Mixes well with: Other Luxury Divers, Underwater Photographers, Fish Prodders.
Cant abide: Divers who insist that UK diving is the best.

Minger
hspace=5 Determined to avoid any unnecessary costs or considerations when diving. Personal comfort (and hygiene) are generally first in the firing line. If the Minger has a girlfriend, he doesnt bring her on dive trips, which are rufty-tufty adventures to be conducted with like-minded blokes.
Sleeping in bivvie bags, kipping down in an engine-room, why pay good money for a B&B And why bother with a shower when youre only going to climb back into a drysuit (unless hes on the pull)
Relishes arguing about the cost of an air-fill, services his own regs and thinks cylinder-testing is for girls. If its cheaper to go diving off a stinky old crabbing boat with a half-cut fisherman at the helm, fine. When it comes to spending, beer takes priority. The Minger will spend money on good dive gear but only once convinced that its worth it.
Tell-tale signs:Battered kit, bivvie bags and beer stains.
Most likely to say: Oi! Its your round.
Least likely to say: That undersuit is very last year, I think Ill splash out on a new one in this seasons colours.
Mixes well with: Disintegrating Diver - always good for swapping homebuild tips.
Cant abide: Luxury Divers.

Nautical Nut
hspace=5 More interested in the process of getting to the dive site than in diving, the Nautical Nut is a frustrated sailor trapped in a dive club.
If he had the money to fund his boat habit, he would, but he has long realised that its smarter to treat a club boat as his own.
Tell-tale signs:A towbar on his vehicle. Volunteers to store the club RIB in his front garage. Subscribes to RIB International and Sailing Today. Keeps a VHF radio about his person and is addicted to the shipping forecast. Spends more on a flashy boat-coat than on his regulator.
Most likely to say: Ill be boat-handler this weekend.
Least likely to say: Lets go shore-diving for a change!
Mixes well with: Instinctive Instructors and Captain Clipboards - theyll sort out the divers while he sorts out the boat.
Cant abide: The seasick.

One-Up Diver
hspace=5 Youve just come back from a dive trip. Oh really One-Up Diver has already been there. And swam with whale sharks. Youre planning to go to Galapagos One-Up diver has been there too and doesnt rate it. Got a new torch One-up has tried that make and discarded it for a superior one. Saw a John Dory on your dive One-Up saw three, and a sunfish on the safety stop.
Invents self-justifying rules: Youre not a proper diver unless youve done the Salsette/over 500 dives/a cave-diving qualification or It doesnt count unless youve spent at least 20 minutes on the wreck/spent at least an hour on deco/ done it on air.
Tell-tale signs:An email address such as divingstar or hardcorediver@whatever.co.uk.
Most likely to say: So you didnt see that pod of dolphins
Least likely to say: Wow, that takes some talent! I didnt even spot that bell.
Mixes well with: Bimblers, Eager Eddies, anyone who can be lorded over.
Cant abide: Anyone unimpressed by bragging. Will form temporary alliances with other One-Up Divers if mutually beneficial, but these always end in acrimony.

Pink Lady
hspace=5 Perhaps it started as a joke or a slight preference for girlie colours, but Pink Lady expresses her femininity through her scuba kit. Has acquired much pink kit from diving friends who spotted a luminous pink mask, goodie-bag or lanyard and thought I know whod love that. Glows like an unlanced boil and loves every minute.
Tell-tale signs:Extreme pinkness. Closely related to Purple Lady!
Most likely to: Be seen scouring the beauty counter for a shade of nail varnish to match her fins.
Least likely to say: Ill take the blue one.
Mixes well with: Wearers of dark glasses. Divers who fear losing their buddy in poor viz.
Cant abide: Tekkies - all that dull black!

Queen Bee
hspace=5 Top woman on the dive boat, usually the only woman on the dive boat. Thats how she likes it. The diveblokes tolerate her presence and she queens it up while keeping other women discreetly at bay and never challenging the status quo. Everybody is happy.
Queen Bee isnt trying to out-dive the blokes, she just wants to be first among women - even if that means putting them down.
Tell-tale signs:Acts like one of the lads, but on her own terms. Has few female friends and unleashes a torrent of bitchiness if any divebloke mentions another woman-diver.
Most likely to say: Id love to have more women along but most of them arent up for it!
Least likely to say: Could you get that Loaded out of my face Its not funny or clever.
Mixes well with: Tekkies. With so few women in technical diving, this is Queen Bees natural home.
Cant abide: Other Queen Bees.

Reluctant Girlfriend
hspace=5 Looked hesitant all through training and hated taking her mask off. Wasnt interested in lectures but perked up in the pub when her boyfriend turned up. Had to miss some lessons and always had to catch up. Looked like she was being tortured when asked to jump in at the deep end.
Now shes qualified and on the boat, being looked after by the boyfriend. Doesnt really like diving, but hes dead keen so she has to join in or spend a lot of time alone.
He will take her on holiday to nice places like the Maldives and the Caribbean and can skulk off alone for the occasional weekend of UK wreck-diving.
Tell-tale signs:Yawns when people start talking about diving. Takes ages to kit up. Often ends dives early with some mysterious equipment problem.
Most likely to say: Im having a problem clearing my ears, so Ill stay on the boat.
Least likely to say: Ive been looking forward to that wreck for ages.
Mixes well with: Non-diving partners.
Cant abide: Eager Eddies, Keiths, Gadget Geeks - get a life! And Xenas - what total lesbians!

ScubaGIT
hspace=5 Came to prominence after being regularly featured in Dive Girl - a publication which he refuses even to touch, on principle.
Usually one of the oldest and/ or original dive-club members, his diving peaked circa 1974. Angry and resentful that diving and the world has changed. Blames the BBC, the Common Market, the abolition of National Service and leftie teachers.
Has links with Disintegrating Diver but prefers a bit of dodgy dealing and undercover activity to secure his kit.
Tell-tale signs:Grumpiness, nostalgia, antagonism to women, profound disapproval of all modern scuba teaching methods.
Most likely to say: Fast ascent What do you want, a flipping medal Stop whimpering about oxygen, that stuff costs money.
Least likely to say: Those changes to the diver training programme have been a real improvement.
Mixes well with: Other ScubaGITs, and anyone who buys him a drink while keeping out of the conversation.
Cant abide: Women. Anyone who started diving after 1974 (flippin novices).

Tekkie
hspace=5 Similar to a Trekkie, but less fun, and more likely to resemble an alien. Technical divers like doing things the hard way - lots of expensive kit, gases other than air, complex decompression planning - its not for the faint-hearted.
Like Bono, Tekkies still havent found what theyre looking for. But by exploring further, deeper, for longer - and going to places they previously couldnt reach - theyll find satisfaction.
Tell-tale signs:Mission diving! Managing all that kit and having the discipline to stick to the script would be challenging enough, but most tekkies go a bit panto by strapping torches to hardhats, riding phallic scooters and even chucking a video camera into the equation.
Most likely to say: Pass me that sixth cylinder - you can never have too much gas.
Least likely to say: Stuff it, lets just do something shallow.
Mixes well with: Wreckies, Gadget Geeks.
Cant abide: Bimblers - pointless. Adrenalin Divers - prats!

Underwater Photographer
hspace=5 Ready for your close-up Youll probably die of boredom while the diver behind the lens takes endless different shots and exposures and gives you impatient hand gestures for failing to hold your position.
You could be suffering cramp, be stung by a scorpionfish, and have a regulator fail, but an Underwater Photographer will be too busy framing the shot to care. Which is why most end of them up with only their camera as a buddy.
Above water, U/W Photographers are interested only in their hardware. The stripping-down and cleaning process would render any normal human comatose.
Tell-tale signs:Shedloads of complicated kit, lonely greasing of O-rings while everyone else is enjoying themselves in the bar. Determination to provide interminable slide shows featuring blue-looking fish swimming away.
Most likely to say: The backscatter on that dive was appalling.
Least likely to say: Im just going to enjoy swimming with the dolphins, so I wont bother with the camera.
Mixes well with: O-ring grease. Other divers just frighten the fish.
Cant abide: An unappreciative audience.

Virtual diver
hspace=5 His name is terribly familiar, because he posts it on every diving forum. Knows everything about diving that you can find out on the Internet.
Inexperience wont stop him from being an expert. After all, hes done 200m (in Proplanner, on his laptop). Has argued with some of the biggest names in diving (from his bedroom). Gives diving advice and dishes out criticism (from the anonymity of his email account).
Tell-tale signs:Broadband. A tedious IT job that allows him plenty of opportunity to play online.
Most likely to say: I think youll find that Im right and youre being an imbecile.
Least likely to say: Im not qualified to advise you on that because I havent done the dives.
Mixes well with: Programming code.
Cant abide: Trolls (people who make provocative Internet postings simply to elicit a response) because he always takes the bait.

Wreckie
hspace=5 Fish just obscure the view and buoyancy is for girls. Wreckies go in heavy and sink like a bag of tools, because thats largely what they are. Who needs a buddy when youve got a crowbar Youll know hes on the wreck from the constant banging.
Visit Wreckies house and youll see his treasure - all the tat that hes recovered from wrecks, gently rotting in the back garden. The serious Wreckie will be on first name terms with the Receiver of Wreck and wonder how to deal with those cracks that have developed in the room beneath his brass collection.
Tell-tale signs:Folder with a complete collection of Diver Wreck Tours, a personal account with the Hydrographics Office, an industrial-sized selection of builders tools and lifting bags. A passion for solo diving in the UK.
Most likely to say: If it hasnt got brass on it, Im not interested.
Least likely to say: Did you see that lovely nudibranch
Mixes well with: Hunter-Gatherers, Mingers, Tekkies.
Cant abide: Marine archaeologists, friends of war memorials, and anyone who goes on about looking but not touching.

Xena Warrior Dive Girl
hspace=5 Stands tall, carries her kit like a trooper - she is magnificent! Xena scares the hell out of many blokes because she loves diving and gets on with it without apologising for being a girl.
Usually travelling with a sidekick, Xena looks great at the helm of the RIB. When none of the blokes dares to say its too rough to dive, shell calmly point out that a 50m dive in a force five is not smart. Has all the strength, with none of the testosterone frenzy. Give her a rescue scenario and watch her perform!
Tell-tale signs:Leather outfit and big sword, though she doesnt bring them on dive trips.
Most likely to say: You need an adjustable spanner for that - Ive got one in my toolbox.
Least likely to say: Oh gosh, a twinset. You must be terribly brave and strong to do that kind of diving.
Mixes well with: Other women divers.
Cant abide: ScubaGITs.


Yoyo Diver
hspace=5 You thought neutral buoyancy was fairly fundamental to scuba-diving Bouncing up and down is forgivable in a trainee, but Yoyo Diver is certified and hangs out on holiday dive boats in popular locations such as the Red Sea and Caribbean.
The dive guide will think a little remedial instruction will do the trick but eventually surrenders and leads from the front, leaving Yoyo plummeting merrily up and down at the back of the group.
Yoyo Diver sees nothing wrong and takes enormous pleasure from most dives. Bizarrely, bobbing up and down doesnt seem to cause any injury except to other divers - perhaps thats because Yoyo rarely gets much below 10m before heading back up.
Tell-tale signs:Do you need to ask
Most likely to say: One minute I was playing with a clownfish and the next minute I was on the surface! How strange!
Least likely to say: Lets do an extra three minutes at 6m on the ascent.
Mixes well with: Pretty much everyone - often the Yoyo is the most sociable person on the boat.
Cant abide: Captain Clipboards, Zero-Tolerance Divers and other shouty types. Whats the big deal

Zero-Tolerance Diver
hspace=5 The discovery of diving revolutionises his life. This is not about fun- here is a world in which he can fulfil his potential and prove his worth. He must be the best, and to know better than anyone else. Despises lax attitudes, inadequate standards and lack of drive displayed by his instructors and fellow-divers.
Lack of diving experience proves no barrier to joining the elite, as long as he can buy the correct brands, configuring his kit to exacting standards, do the right courses, eschew alcohol and bad foods, keep fit, and recite the approved mantras. The strict discipline and leadership-sanctioned hostility and contempt towards non-believers prove intoxicating.
Tell-tale signs:Smart-casual dress with a crease down the front of the jeans. A hairstyle that wouldnt upset his mum. Refusal to dive with anybody outside his belief system. If DUI made underpants, hed be wearing them.
Most likely to say: There is only One Way - the Right Way.
Least likely to say: A good diver is a good diver, no matter who they trained with or what kit they wear.
Mixes well with: Nobody! Barely gets on with other ZTDs. Aspires to dive with the gods - those divers at the top of the organisation.
Cant abide: Non-believers. If you're not part of the elite, you're nobody.