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While my fiance was doing his OW cert dives, I was his dive buddy (doing my "refresher"). We ended up swimming with me in the lead, and him following. Not long after leaving the platform, however, I looked back and he was gone. Long story short, the lesson learned was: We'll stick side-by-side whenever possible from now on. But one problem he said he had was identifying me underwater. My mask, snorkle, and fins are all black with no markings on them at all. I don't own any other equipment, so I have to rent it all. Is there anything I can do on future dives so he can see me in the water better? I've thought about marking my fins with paint (I think putting my name on them would be a good idea), but figure the paint would come right off after the first shore-entry dive/snorkle we do.
You can get a paint pen to mark the bottom of your fins and other parts of your equipment. I think I got mine from Leisurepro, but it's available in a lot of places. It doesn't come off all that easily, and at most, just do some touch ups. I would recommend that you mark the blade part of your fins, rather than the heel/foot part. Marking your gear is a good idea in general, to help prevent accidental/intentional theft.
I know some people tie colored bands around their arms to help ID buddies, as well as marker lights on their tanks.
But as you stated, doing the side by side diving is one of the best ways to keep from losing each other, as well as a agreeing on a 'lost buddy' plan.
When we begin our explorations under the sea, we are not used to seeing in that environment and because of that all divers look the same, all reefs look the same, etc. As you get used to the sport, you'll start to notice differences. While painting your fins will speed up the process, you and your fiance will soon learn to see subtle differences between divers. While you may have all black gear, that's rarely the case, so the chances of someone else of your size and shape being in all black are slim. Even if it does happen, you'll likely be wearing different brand fins, or wet suit. Your rental BC will likely be easy to spot and tanks almost always have subtle and not so subtle differences.
As you do start getting your own gear, he'll learn what to look for. The colors on your wet suit. Maybe you have different fins than most others, or they're a bright color. Some like to buy colored tanks to help with this.
You need to look his gear over with the same thing in mind. What do I see that will help me recognize him UW?
Walter: Yeah, I'm sure we'll get used to identifying each other, but as we start out it's even more important to be able to ID each other quickly and easily.
spectrum: colored tape on the snorkle is a great idea. As for the glow sticks, just regular glow sticks? They'll handle the pressure?
3dent: I love your ideas for writing on my fins. I may just try that (assuming I'm good enough with the paint pen).
Wayward Son: I have no immediate plans to buy equipment because we're so new to the sport. If we go out as much as I want to next year we may start making purchases, though. If/when I start buying equipment, I'll definitely keep this in mind. I like "unique" things anyway... I've seen a few threads on here about "wild" or "custom" wetsuits, bcd's, etc. Definitely "my style".
I wrote my name (ROB CAP) on the fins with a felt-tip pen
It lasts some months.
If you rent fins you can use a colored tape.
or you can buy a colorful ... mmmhh sorry don't know the word in English
you know the string which holds the mask.
The more you dive together, the more you will get used to each others styles. Many people don't swim the same. Some people use a different fin kick or they are positioned in the water differently. That being said, in a low vizability evironment like the quarry, you should be swimming side by side. Usually only leaving about 5 feet between the two of you (depending on viz of course). I know when I first started leading students on dives in the quarry, it became a cattle drive since they couldn't identify me from other students or instructors. So they just followed the person in front of them. I now have them side by side, and I use the frog kick as it provides a much leisurely pace for the students to follow. They can identify me since everyone else is doing the flutter kick.