A thrilling sport like scuba diving does entail a bit of the danger element. After all, you’re entering an environment where humans do not naturally belong. However, when you go diving, you have to remember the rules, listen to your instructor, and depend on your gear.
This activity sure does involve risks. However, with good preparation, you can combat them all. Following safe dive practices drastically reduces the likelihood of an accident.
Whether it’s your first time diving or thousandth time, it’s natural to be scared. Here, we discuss what divers should do for their safety and safety of their co-divers. These tips will help you have fun underwater and ascend with a fantastic life-long experience.
Before You Go on Scuba Diving
For your convenience, we’ve divided the scuba diving safety tips into three parts – before the dive, during the dive, and after the dive. So, before you set out to explore the lovely underwater life, here are some safety tips you need to keep in mind.
Get a Scuba Diving Certification
Some dive schools and operators demand proof of specialty competence or dive certification. Moreover, it will also depend on the type of dive. We highly recommend divers obtain a certificate from only recognized dive organizations.
Some operators will offer you a fundamental dive course. However, these courses are not the green signal for you to scuba dive wherever and whenever you want. If you do not hold any certification or do not dive with a certified diver, your travel insurance will be invalid.
Make Sure You’re Healthy to Dive
If this is your first time going scuba diving, you must get a medical examination. If you are fit and healthy, you’ll have no problem or restriction to scuba dive. Additionally, you have to sign a health statement before starting the course.
A lack of health and fitness will quickly lead to overexertion. Also, keep in mind that tobacco consumption, alcohol, and obesity will increase decompression sickness chances. That’s the reason you should keep your distance from alcohol few days before the dive.
Listen and Respect Your Dive Guide
Once you are off the shore and on the boat, you have to trust the dive instructor. No matter how experienced you are, you must always follow the guide. Make sure that you clearly understand all the briefs that come from your dive instructor.
Most unfortunate underwater accidents take place when you don’t have experience. Diving instructors generally have years of experience under their belt. Just try to abide by what the guide says.
Run Checks on Your Gear
Gear is another source of safety when you are exploring deep waters. The last thing you’d want is your gear malfunctioning. While you are en route to the diving location, you will have to set up the diving gear properly.
Before you take a plunge, cross-check all the equipment. Check again if the air tank is full and whether all the rest of the kits are in place. If you are unsure about something, don’t hesitate to ask your instructor or dive buddies.
Also, Buddy Check
You might not be aware, but sharing your underwater journey with a fellow diver is both fun and safe. Before you’re deep into the waters, make sure to introduce yourself to your dive partner. Try to get to know each other so that you have better communication down there.
Additionally, as an extra step towards safety, you must also run a check on your buddy’s gear. So, if you were wondering how do divers ensure the safety of their co divers, this is it.
Get a Scuba Dive Insurance
Were you thinking of going scuba diving without insurance? Not having scuba insurance is equivalent to risking your safety. Ensure that you and your dive partner hold scuba dive insurance. Also, go through the details and check what’s included.
Safety Reminders in Scuba Diving During the Dive
One of the most critical situations will be when you’re diving. Most of the safety tips apply to the time when you’re actually inside the waters. Read on to know all the safety measures you should adopt while scuba diving.
Scuba is an exhilarating experience and perfect for people who demand an adrenaline rush. When you are scuba diving, you’re trying something nearly impossible – breathing underwater. No diver must try to hold their breath.
Your dive instructor might tell you the same thing. Holding back your breath can cause an air embolism. It refers to the situation where air bubbles enter the bloodstream.
Equalize As You Descend
Like while you’re on an aircraft, you’ll also feel the fluctuation in air pressure as you descend into the sea. Therefore, as you are swimming deeper, you’ll need to equalize your ears frequently.
Not having proper equalization can be dangerous, the air pressure can cause damage to your inner ear.
Maintain Contact With the Instructor and Dive Buddy
While you are underwater, there will be many situations where you’ll be tempted to swim away. Our advice? Don’t do that. When you spot something intriguing, use hand signals to point it out to your fellow divers. Make sure to be together wherever you are heading.
Staying with your guide and buddy ensures safety and orientation. In case you lose them at any point in time, look around for a couple of minutes. If you still don’t see them, slowly ascend.
Keep Checking the Air Gauge
Can you imagine staying underwater even after your tank is out of gas? Of course not. But, this does not mean that you should continue your underwater journey till the tank is empty. When you are scuba diving, you should check when your tank is quarter full or half full.
You must calculate how much air you’d require to ascend and plan your journey accordingly. Similarly, you should also check the air gauge of your underwater buddy.
Dive within the Dive Computer Limits
If you are using a dive computer, make sure to check it frequently. Check how much time you have in hand at each depth. Another thing you can do is follow your guide and refrain from descending below their depth.
Generally, scuba diving professionals set a maximum depth of 40m (130ft) for recreational divers. Besides, the insurance plan also follows this depth. As it is, there’s nothing much to explore beyond that.
Never Over Exert
Though scuba diving is an adrenaline sport, you should relax and be calm underwater. Remember, the slower you go, the more you can explore. Moving at a fast pace will cause you to go out of breath. Nevertheless, you can signal your dive buddy for a rest.
We agree that marine life is beautiful and enchanting but refrain from touching anything. It is a good practice to protect yourself and also the coral reefs. Many underwater elements are sharp and poisonous. Also, some creatures might bite you if they sense any threat.
Try to strike a perfect buoyancy so that you can hover around the reefs without touching anything.
Like we mentioned, not ever holding your breath, gradually ascending is also an integral aspect of your safety. Ascending too quickly can cause decompression sickness or “the bends”.
Fast movement will force nitrogen into the diver’s bloodstream. By ascending slowly, you’ll allow the nitrogen to dissipate safely.
After Finishing the Dive
If you think your safety obligations are over once you’re out of the water, you’re mistaken. There are still some safety protocols to follow.
Stow Your Gear on the Boat
When you come out of the water and reside on the boat, slowly take off all your gears. Remember that you will need them again, so don’t dump the equipment in a pile on the boat’s deck. Leaving them like that is not suitable for the gears, and also, someone might trip over it.
Scuba gear is generally on the heavy side. Store them correctly so that no one gets hurt. Plus, it will also ensure the long life of all the gears.
Debrief With Your Buddy and Guide
The reason we asked you to have a dive buddy and a guide is not only for fun. You can learn a lot when you dive in groups. It’s a good idea to discuss how the dive went and what mistakes you committed.
Ask your guide and buddy how you can improve your underwater performance. Also, make a note of the weights you were using for the dive. It can help you obtain correct weighting for your next dive.
Let Others Know Your Experience
It’s not essential that all your dives will go as planned. If you are feeling strange about your recent underwater experience, don’t keep it to yourself. Let your instructor or dive buddy know what you’re feeling.
If you are feeling sick or tired, it is a natural result of diving. However, if there’s something else you’re feeling, don’t hesitate to express it.
Don’t Fly for the Next 24 Hours
When you go for a dive, you are also inviting excess nitrogen into your body. Make sure not to plan any flying activities in the next 24 hours after finishing your dive. Flying includes a pressurized movement, which can trigger decompression sickness.
The 24-hour period will be enough for the nitrogen to dissipate safely. It is better to take a day off after scuba diving to relax and rejuvenate.
Safety in Different Diving Conditions
The ocean will not have a beautiful and tranquil diving situation all the time. You can come across many weather-related dangers underwater. Let’s understand what you, as a diver, can do in such cases.
As you go deeper, the waves will be more impactful. But observing the ocean waves will give you a hint about surface conditions. Waves can affect how you exit or end the dive. It’s better to stay vigilant to altering situations.
It’s better not to fight or move against the waves. Also, try not to swim near anything the waves can push you into and hurt you.
As exciting and vibrant as it seems, it also has potential dangers awaiting you. There are some species and inhabitants that you must avoid, such as:
- Territorial aquatic species like the triggerfish
- Venomous species like jellyfish, stonefish, and scorpionfish
- Most importantly, sharks
You must pay attention to weather reports before planning the dive. If there is even the slightest chance of danger, reschedule!
If there is current, and your dive plan needs you to end the dive from the origin point, what should you do? The best practice in such situations is to head in the direction of the current. The logic here is to complete the challenging part of your dive first.
Another thing that you should know is that this will also use most of the gas. The current is typically most substantial on the surface and gets weaker towards the bottom or reef. When you face water currents, streamline your body and take breaks. Don’t try to swim in the opposite direction.
One essential piece of advice for all the divers out there is to use safe dive practices and not panic in emergencies. With these tips, we are sure that you can enjoy a safe and fun diving time. The ocean will become your best friend once you establish a secure relationship with it.
In any case, you should always prepare for scuba emergencies. The ocean is unpredictable, and that’s the reason you should double-check all your gears.
Hopefully, we were able to answer your question of what should divers do for their safety. Have a happy diving experience!
My unbounded love for the oceans and everything it has to offer motivated me to pursue my passion and become a professional scuba diving instructor.
I keep reading, exploring, and learning more about scuba diving and the underwater world all the time, so I’m excited to share my knowledge with fellow scuba enthusiasts and hopefully contribute a little to your development as a diver. I want people to fall in love with the oceans with as much passion as I have. Read more about me here.