Descending to the seabed is always an exciting experience, but while you may want to get there quickly, you must always descend in a controlled manner. The method you use will depends partly on the site and prevailing conditions, and partly on your own preferences.
Making Your Descent
Having met up with your dive buddy in the water, follow the preparatory steps below. If you find that you do not sink, cheek that no air remains in your BC (and drysuit, if applicable). If the problem persists, you probably do not have sufficient weight on your belt, and should return to the boat or the shore to get some more. It is a good idea to note how much weight you need each time you try a different equipment configuration record the details in your logbook for reference.
At a depth of 10ft (3 m) you should carry out a bubble check. This involves briefly stopping so that you and your buddy can check each other’s equipment for signs of air leaks for example, from an incorrectly fitted hose. This will allow you to return to the surface to resolve the issue before you resume the dive. By fixing minor problems now, you may avoid bigger problems during the dive that could lead to an emergency.
As you descend, you will feel pressure in your ears. Release this regularly by swallowing or holding your nose and blowing against the closed nostrils – a process called “equalization” or “ear-clearing”. If you feel you art-descending too fast, allow a little air into your BC. Your mask will also start to press on your lace; relieve this by exhaling gently through your nose. If you are wearing a drysuit, you will feel the water pressing it against your body, base this by letting air into the suit, but not so much that it alters your buoyancy too greatly and remember to release it again on ascent.
1. Meet up with your buddy on the surface, well clear of any boat cover. If using a snorkel, remove it, and switch to breathing from primary regulators.
2. Give an OK signal to each other when ready to begin the dive. If using a “buddy line” to link yourselves together (useful when one buddy is a novice), ensure now that you are both attached.
3. The “down” signal confirms your intention J descend immediately. If your buddy is a nervous, reassure them by holding their hand and helping them to descend.
4. Both you and your buddy should deflate your BCs and exhale together, so that you become negatively buoyant and start to sink simultaneously. If you have a problem sinking, address it now.