In a sense, diving is like flying! It’s fun, super quiet, and you’re not where you’re supposed to be!
That’s why you should be well-prepared for any unpleasant encounter or issue.
While the chances of risky events occurring aren’t necessarily high, they’re still there. Just like in a plane, when you follow a set of precautions, diving into the underwater world requires some planning and safety checks. So, here are a few tips to ensure scuba diver safety.
1. Check Your Gear
A common mistake among divers is buying new equipment, storing them for a while, then getting them out on the day of diving. Faulty gear is the prime cause of diving accidents and the reason for 15% of fatalities in the sport. You should check your equipment at least a week prior to your dive.
Even if the water is calling for you, never leave the land before ensuring that your scuba gear is safe and ready for use, especially if it’s rental gear.
Test your scuba regulator, familiarize yourself with how your integrated weights release, and double-check that your BCD bladder isn’t leaking. You don’t have to do that in the sea. Just take your gear for a swim in the deep end of the pool and examine everything.
2. Plan and Stick to the Plan
Diving isn’t an on-a-whim sport. Planning your maximum time and depth is crucial and sticking to the plan you made is even more important.
Prepare a detailed plan, including the route you’re going to take, your exit point, and the possible obstructions you expect to face, such as tides, currents, and the types of creatures that usually roam this area.
Remember that the conditions differ from a spot to another. If it’s a place you’re not familiar with, make sure to go through the diving rules and emergency procedures of the new area. Even if you’ve dived in a certain location many times before, don’t overlook checking the weather and current conditions.
3. Communicate with Your Diving Pal
Diving in groups is always safer than solo diving, but even in this scenario, you can find yourself drifting due to currents or turbulent water. In this case, using the buddy system can be lifesaving.
Communicate with your diving buddy and make sure to go through the BWARF checklist together before you jump into the sea. Your job will be to monitor each other in the water, so agreeing on certain hand gestures as signs will help you provide immediate assistance to each other if required.
4. Never Exceed Your Limits
Know your limits, and don’t exceed them. If you wake up and feel like you’re not in a good state, either physically or mentally, don’t be afraid to cancel a dive.
A dangerous mistake is letting your ego get you in trouble. Just because you feel confident enough to dive past your maximum depth doesn’t mean you’ll come back safe. Moreover, unless you’ve received special training for cave diving or wreck penetration, don’t attempt to do them alone.
Consult your doctor before diving if you have an underlying health condition or a chronic disease like asthma or diabetes.
Also, women should be cautious not to dive when they’re expecting. If you’ve dived already during your first weeks of pregnancy, there’s no need to panic since the complications are minimum during the early stage. Nevertheless, it’s advisable to avoid diving during any stage of pregnancy.
5. No Alcohol
You can’t have everything, that’s life! You can either drink and party all night or call it a day and prepare yourself physically and mentally for your dive the next day.
The thing is, you’re diving into a world that isn’t designed to accommodate humans in the first place, so you need to be super aware of everything around you. And, of course, getting drunk is the opposite of staying alert.
When it comes to diving, some risk is part of the game. But by following these tips along with the rules you’ve learned in your PADI or NAUI diving courses, you can avoid accidents and enjoy this relaxing sport as much as you can.