Why Do Scuba Divers Dive Backwards?

Last Updated: November 10, 2022

One of the most common questions a scuba diver gets is, “Why Do Scuba Divers Dive Backwards?” Here’s why.

Scuba divers roll backwards as it is one of the safest and easiest ways to enter the water, because a head-first entry can shatter their mask or be uncomfortable due to fins entering first at an angle.

When going off the boat forwards, the diver may trip or fall due to the heavy oxygen cylinder. While keeping the diver and his safety as a priority, backward diving is employed. It also helps to maintain a stable position before divers go deep into the water.

Why Do Scuba Divers Roll Backwards?

Divers prefer rolling backward when they are either on an unstable platform or the edge of a boat. They roll into the water when their oxygen tank enters the water first. This method can be learned in a short while and can be used most of the time.

scuba diver diving backwards off the boat

Reasons For the Backward Roll

Weight distribution

The back-first approach will help you maintain an upright position which makes it easier to stay balanced and avoid any unnecessary topside movements. In addition, the weight is more evenly distributed throughout your body because of this technique and there’s a further reduction in fatigue as well.

Boat stability

As the oxygen cylinder is very heavy, it puts the boat at risk of getting toppled or imbalanced when it enters the water through gravitational force. However, when the tank on the diver’s back is made to enter the water first, the boat can adjust the difference in weight by balancing it with the diver’s weight first. Due to this, even if the diver makes a fierce dive, the boat stays still.

Less impact

The heavy tank on your back will break the water tension first and you’ll be able to enter it more smoothly. If you go in head first, your mask could break and your cylinder valve could hit the back of your neck and cause injuries.

Control over your equipment

The backward roll is a great way to enter the water, because you can have a better grip on your facemask and other gear. It protects your regulator from accidentally getting dislodged and stops you being disoriented when entering.

Reduce weight on diver’s body

The backward diving method also reduces weight on the shoulders of a diver. As they don’t have to carry weight even while jumping in the water, diving becomes easier.

Walking with fins is difficult

As a scuba set is not the most comfortable thing to wear, it is difficult to walk around in fins. To save themselves from trouble, divers simply  sit on the edge of the boat, put fins on at the last second to avoid any accidents and then dive backwards.

How to Perform the Perfect Backwards Roll

The perfect way to go in the water backwards is by sitting on the edge of the boat and putting your fins on. Be sure you have everything in place, such as mask and regulator before being given an OK sign from either captain or operator. After tip-backing into water with both hands firmly against face gear, kick away immediately for safety measure.

Other Popular Entry Techniques

Entry techniques are important when it comes to scuba diving. Apart from the backward roll there are other entry techniques that can be used for safety purposes, your dive instructor or boat captain will know best which one to use when entering the water.

Seated Entry

Keep in mind that for this technique you might need a closer surface to enter from. If the platform is too far away or unstable then it might be difficult.

You sit on the edge of the boat with your feet dangling over. Lift yourself with your hands over the edge and do a little twist midair to land into the water facing back towards the boat.

This method is ideal if you have limited space or unstable surface, and for those who have problems with mobility.

Giant Stride

Stand on the edge of a platform with your fins dangling over the side. Carefully put one hand securely onto your regulator and mask, the other on any loose gear, then take a large step into an open water, far enough so you don’t hit you oxygen cylinder on the boat.

When done, let the captain or instructor know that everything is ok.

Final Thoughts

Not only does the backward roll when scuba diving seem cool, but it also has a bunch of benefits for the diver. Just remember that it is most often done only when you are on a smaller boat. It’s easy to learn, you should give it a try on your next dive.

Sharing is caring!