10 Tips to Stay Safe While Scuba Diving
First of all, having proper training before scuba diving is THE #1 tip, scuba diving is an activity that requires 100% of your attention, sharp mind and confident in your own skills. Proper training is important because you can safe your own life if you know exactly how to act in case of an emergency. Proper training will make you much more comfortable underwater and that is key a safe dive. Choose dives that match your training, experience and confidence. Stay within your comfort zone! Listen to your inner voice and if you feel that you have exceeded your comfort level, abort the dive.
Once you have completed proper training, one of the most important things to do in your life is to simply dive more often. As with any activity, performance improvements come with practice.
If you are a Certified Diver, you should be diving at least 4 to 6 times at year because you know the importance of practice, and actualization of your scuba knowledge, you understand the importance of keeping your skills on point to have a safe experience.
3.- DIVE WITH YOUR OWN DIVE COMPUTER
As certified diver, it is a mayor benefit to have a dive computer, often considered mandatory equipment today. It will keep record of your dives, bottom time, maximum depth, water temperature and it will help you to be accurate in your profile.
4.-PAY SPECIAL ATENTION TO THE BRIEFING
Is common sense that you have to know your dive time, depth and safety stops and more to be safe and have fun while you dive. Briefing is a very important part of “safe diving”, as a Divemaster, we need 100% of your mental, visual and auditory attention, here is where you will know entry and exit points, where is the dive site, maximum depth, air supply and time limits, expected conditions, hand signals, general course to follow, surfacing air pressure, sea life expected, contingency plan for buddy separation and more!
5.-DO A BUOYANCY CHECK
Take and hold a normal breath with your lungs half-full, Completely deflate your BCD you should float at eye level with no air in your BC. Then exhale and you should start to slowly descend. Always listen to the Divemaster or Dive Instructor, do not descend unless you are 100% sure you received the signal to do so Thoroughly prepare and check your equipment prior to diving, it is your source of life.
DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH #1 rule of diving. Remember to always breathe slowly and in a relaxed manner. Holding your breath underwater can lead to lung injuries and worse, in the extreme case.
Diving is a relaxing activity, it should be effortless. First of all you have to be relaxed and confident before entering the water, then breathing will be natural and efficient as a slower rate becomes more natural. Try to exhale longer than what you inhaled, as natural and effortless for your body, if you will you can count 4s inhale – 6-7 seconds exhale, ultimately, the best after being relaxed and confident is to enjoy what you see! Then breathing becomes natural! That is the key, you enjoying the Sea!
7. - POSITION YOUR ARMS CLOSE TO YOUR BODY
Cross your arms around your BCD, while you maintain proper buoyancy swimming with your legs! For this you have to have experience and practice on your buoyancy control, this will decrease your air consumption. Having this position will prevent you to harm the coral, wall or any sea life in your way, as well as prevent you to have any kind of wound. Be aware of your own safety!
8. - BASIC GEAR Fins, Mask, Snorkel.
Basic gear should be important to you. Fins, snorkel and mask are basic tools that you require for diving, the more comfortable you feel in the water, the more safe you will be. It is always better to dive with your own gear because you know it works, it fits perfectly for you and you are 100% comfortable with it. Be aware of the human harness we represent to the ocean.
Fins and improper scuba diving practices are a threat to the underwater environment, an unintentional kick in the wrong direction can immediately destroy many years of coral growth. For this, please be aware of your buoyancy and the distance between you and the environment.
Most of us were taught that a snorkel is mandatory gear on every dive, just like a pair of fins. But increasingly, divers are leaving the snorkel in the gear bag (if not needed) most of the time. A snorkel, when attached to your mask, is more often to create a problem than a help. Save your snorkel for special occasions like swimming with Whale Sharks, Mantas and Sea lions!
Is safer to use it for a long surface swim from the entry point to the dive site, this way you save air from your scuba tank, once you are in the dive site you can carry it in a pocket on your BCD.
9. - SAFETY STOP
At the end of every dive you should pause at about 15 feet for a minimum of 3 to 5 minutes before your final ascent to give your body extra time to eliminate nitrogen. The air in your BCD and the bubbles in your wetsuit also expand rapidly during the last 15 feet and may cause you to become positive buoyant without realizing it. Make a safety stop on all dives deeper than 30 ft. The rule of thumb is 3-5 minutes at 15 ft, safety stops assist with the reduction of excess nitrogen, which helps to avoid decompression sickness. Plan to surface with a minimum 500 psi in reserve.
10. - LOG YOUR DIVES
In 6 months from now, you will go diving and you need to know what was your air consumption from your last max depth and your dive master is asking how much weight you used last time you dive and what kind of sea conditions your where in... but you do not have a great memory and you do not log your dives!
You may find it very useful to record the information from your diving so that on future dives in similar conditions you’ll be able to estimate how much air you’ll need.
* The date and dive site name along with number of dive
*Type of Dive (boat dive, shore dive, wreck dive, cave dive, night dive).
*The Visibility, Temperature of the water
*Bottom time, maximum depth and air consumption and safety stop time and depth
* Wetsuit used (3,5,7mm)
*Marine life seen, weather and sea conditions