Tag Archive: check

Why Should Divers Preform a Pre-Dive Safety Check?

Good organizational skills will help ensure a trouble-free diving trip. A successful dive begins before you even leave your home, with checks on weather conditions and equipment. Even if someone else is organizing the dive, make sure you are well prepared and informed.

Getting Off to a Good Start

On the morning of the dive, get a detailed, up-to-date weather forecast specific to the site you are diving, and double-check tide times if appropriate. If you don’t feel well for any reason, make an honest assessment of whether you are fit to dive that day. It is better to sit out a dive than to feel ill underwater and have to abort. Illnesses affecting lung or circulatory efficiency also increase the risk of decompression sickness – a very good reason for skipping the dive.

Always check your gear before you set off on a diving trip. Before you leave home, you must be sure that you have everything you need. It is good practice to make a checklist of all the items you will need, and keep this in your bag. When you arrive, be sure to transfer all your gear from the initial mustering point to the actual dive site, or onto the boat you are diving from. All too often, divers leave a vital piece of gear on the dock, such as a weight belt or mask, and only realize their mistake when the dive boat reaches its destination – by which time it is too late.

Diving With a New Buddy

Diving abroad often means that you will dive with strangers. Make sure you give the dive organizer an honest assessment of your level of ability and interests, so they can pair you with a suitable buddy. Even if you don’t know your buddy, give them all the respect and assistance you would offer a familiar dive partner.

Diving From a Boat

The boat should have been booked in advance, but even so, it is polite to call the skipper again before you arrive. He or she will be able to confirm that weather and conditions are favorable for diving. When you board, check that the boat has adequate first aid and safety signaling devices on board, and appears to be in a seaworthy condition. Before you leave shore, notify the coastguard or relevant authority – and do not forget to inform them of your safe return when you get back. Ensure that the skipper reviews safety procedures, including the location of lifejackets, flares, and life rafts, and demonstrates the underwater recall signal.

Diving From the Shore

If you are diving from the shore, always check for the easiest possible access to your dive site on arrival (or before) to avoid long walks down to the beach with heavy gear. You may need permission to drive to the water’s edge to unload.

Watching the Weather

Obtain a forecast that includes the wind speed and direction, sea state, and visibility (fog, mist, etc). Do not take any risks with diving in bad weather-it is better to miss the dive than dive in surging seas or in visibility so poor your boat cover will not be able to locate you. You should also check tide tables to establish the timings of slack water. This is critical when diving areas affected by strong tidal currents.

The Importance of Scuba Dive Buddy Check

Diving with a partner (or buddy) means that there is someone to help if you encounter problems underwater. For the system to work properly, however, you and your buddy need to conduct your own briefing before a dive and check that all equipment is functioning properly.

Making Buddy Checks

Just before the start of the dive, get together with your buddy and assemble your gear and put it on. There is no particular order in which to do this, but most divers find that to avoid overlooking anything, it is useful to develop a routine. When you are both suited up and before either of you enter the water, you should carry out a buddy check-sit or stand next to your buddy and carefully check each other’s gear, following the sequence shown below. Do not be tempted to rush these vital checks-you may regret it later. They ensure that you know how each other’s gear is assembled, how it works, and that it is functioning. They also serve as a double-check that neither of you has overlooked anything before you dive.

1. Check BCs so that you and your buddy know where each other’s inflation and deflation points are, and ensure that they are working. Do the same for drysuits, if worn.

2. Check that weights are present and securely fastened. You and your buddy must be especially aware of how each other’s weights are released, in case either diver is incapacitated.

3. Check harness is secure and note where, on your buddy’s kit, key fastening points and harness release clips are located, and how they are operated.

4. Check air contents gauges and breathe from your regulators to check they are working. Test each other’s octopus second stage.

5. Ready to dive? Give each other a last once-over to establish who is carrying any miscellaneous pieces of gear, such as reels and slates, and where they are fastened. When you are ready to dive, make a final OK signal.

Buddy Briefing

Suiting up provides a good opportunity to talk over a dive plan with your buddy. Ensure first that you are both agreed, as a pair, on the aim and course of the dive, your entry and exit points, and your predicted maximum depth and time for the dive. Check that you both have the required amount of air for your plan (including a reserve for emergencies). Agree on who will lead the dive and on whether you will dive to the left or right of your buddy. Decide on all communication signals, including how and when you will signal for the end of the dive, and on what you will do if you become separated. Once you have agreed a plan, stick to it unless it becomes impossible to do so. If circumstances change during the dive, use hand signals to discuss how, as a pair, you are going to modify the dive.

Preventing Fogging

Mask fogging is a very common inconvenience, and is caused by oils on the mask’s lens allowing moisture to bead. The traditional way to prevent fogging is to rub saliva onto the inside of the lens glass, then lightly rinse clear, before putting on the mask for a dive. Anti-fogging sprays are also available.