With any skilled pastime, it is important to keep your technique sharp. Many divers only dive once a year (or even less frequently), and it is easy to forget even basic skills during your time off from diving. Honing your skills in sheltered water is a good way to stay proficient.
Varying the Routine
Skills exercises don’t have to be simple drills. Introducing an element of fun or setting an objective can motivate you to train for longer. Games for the pool or sheltered water include “hide the mask,” which forces you to navigate and search without your mask; or you can practice breath control by performing simple exercises without breathing apparatus, such as retrieving objects from the bottom, or swimming through a series of hoops, extending the course as your stamina improves.
1. “Hide the mask” begins with an “OK” signal from the seeker, once the diver who is going to hide the mask has removed it.
2. The seeker closes his eyes while the hider finds a corner of the pool to put the mask in, and returns to signal the seeker to start searching.
3. The seeker opens his eyes and starts to methodically search the pool bottom until the mask is found and replaced.
Removing and Replacing Gear
Familiarity with your basic gear is a vital skill. One exercise that helps to foster confidence in this area is to remove your scuba unit- that is, your BC and breathing apparatus, all fully connected and put it back on underwater, keeping your regulator in your mouth throughout. This exercise should be carried out at the bottom of a pool or in sheltered water, and if you are a beginner or haven’t tried this before, it may be useful to have an instructor present who can guide you through the process. Start by undoing all fastening clips on the front of your BC: and pull your left arm out of it first (even if you are left-handed), using your right arm to pull it around to your right. The BC jacket should now be in front of you, between you and if; tank. Keep the hose for your regulator second stage between your arms (otherwise it may get caught under you shoulder strap when you put the unit back on). Then put the scuba unit back on by reversing the operation.
For an extra challenge, once you have removed your BC, try removing your regulator from your mouth and swimming away to a distance of about 30 ft (10 m), before returning and putting your gear back on again.
Alternatively, try entering the water without your gear, then putting it on while treading water, keeping your head above the surface. This is a much more difficult exercise, and should only be carried out under the guidance of an instructor.