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Pet Peeves And Safety Concerns For New Divers

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by OE2X, Feb 14, 2006.

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  1. OE2X

    OE2X *** ScubaBoard Supporter

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    This list was gathered from various Scubaboard members and compiled and edited by Catherine96821 and Diver0001.


    We encompass varying levels of experience and represent divers and knowledge of diving conditions from around the globe. Diver0001 has compiled a list of "notes" that will help beginners and seasoned divers alike.

    Many of us had to learn much of what we know "the hard way". This summary from divers of all experience levels and regions will hopefully serve as a guide to improve diver safety and enjoyment.

    Thanks again for your enthusiasm.

    Catherine96821



    1) When boat diving in the open ocean carry appropriate surface markers with you. Devices like a signalling mirror, whistle, or safety sausage can mean the difference between getting the attention of someone on a boat or drifting out of sight...

    2) Conditions in the open ocean vary from swimming pool like to formidable and even hostile. In some environments good physical fitness, stamina and powerful fins are required.

    3) Good buoyancy control is essential for comfort, safety and the health of our reefs. Pay particular attention to practicing and perfecting this skill.

    4) When entering the water from shore, plan your entry to move through the surf zone to deeper water as quickly as possible. Lingering in ths surf zone exposes you to increased risk of nasty falls and/or accidents.

    5) Ensure that you can reach your own tank valves. There are some situations, particularly on the surface, when you may need to shut down or OPEN! your tank and you can't count on your buddy always being in the right place at the right time.

    6) Take time to practice your basic scuba skills. You were taught these skills because you may need them some day and keeping them fresh in your mind may mean the difference between handling an incident under water or becoming overwhelmed by it.

    7) Keep your body in good physical condition. Your body is your most important piece of diving equipment.

    8) Learn how to account for your air supply in planning your dive and pay close attention to your gauges while under water. Running short (or even out) of air is most divers' nightmare but it is easily avoided by diligence.

    9) Once you have defogged your mask, put it on. If you leave it hanging around your neck it will dip in the water an you will need to defog it again.

    10) Plan your dive. This means agree with your buddy about maximum depth, time and activities under water. Be clear about your comfort zone boundaries and ask your buddy about theirs. Pay special attention to air supply and discuss when to turn the dive (at what pressure). Review required signs and discuss emergency procedures, lost buddy procedures and other appropriate contingency procedures for a particular dive. Failure to properly plan dives has lead to much confusion, many incidents, and even deaths among divers. Planning is a core skill, the importance of which can not be underestimated.

    11) In reference to #10. Once the plan is made, adhere to it as if it were gospel. Any deviation is an appropriate reason to abort the dive. You can always dive again another time but once Murphy has his hooks into your dive you're best off to stop and deny him the chance to make it worse. The more advanced the dive (and the divers) the quicker they are to abort when Murphy shows up. As a beginner, you should understand that aborting a dive that you don't feel good about is a sign of strength, not weakness.

    12) As you advance in your diving, please offer advice and share information with less experienced divers. Try not to forget that you were once a beginner too. Diving is a social sport and arrogance, bragging, one-upmanship and the like are unwelcome.

    13) Understand and respect your personal "comfort zone" boundaries and be realistic with yourself and your buddies about your limitations. Peer pressure -- perceived or real -- is a major issue in diving and resisting peer pressure is both difficult and necessary for the safety conscious diver.

    14) Always be honest about your experience level even if it means you won't be allowed to make a dive that you really want to make.

    15) Be a good buddy. This means plan the dive together with your buddy and stay with them throughout the dive. This can sometimes be a challenge when paired off with a total stranger on a dive boat but being a consciencious buddy pays dividends in safety and enjoyment.

    16) When you know you will be diving from a boat, take the time the day *before* the trip to do a check out dive and get your buoyancy/weight requirements worked out if you're unsure about these things. Most operators will allow you to do it from the boat but it causes delays for the entire group on board and can put you under pressure to hurry up, which can take away the fun.

    17) Be careful not to bump into other people under water. Try to keep an arm's length distance from other divers and take care to stay out of their flippers.
    18) If you want to look at the same thing another diver is looking at, take a moment to position yourself beside them, as opposed to above them. This allows the other diver to see you better so you don't crash into each other.

    19) Keep your hands to yourself. Some sea creatures, such as sponges, anenomies and corals are very delicate and easily harmed by even light touching. If you must grab something then take a moment to look for a bare bit of rock.

    20) If you are taking photographs then show respect for the fact that other divers want to look at the creatures too. Wait until they are done to move in for your shot.

    21) If someone in your group is taking photographs then show respect for the fact that they need time and room to take pictures. If you are curious to see what they are taking pictures of, then keep your distance and wait until they are done to move in for a closer look.

    22) Interacting with wildlife can be very enjoyable but seek these interactions only when the animals approach you. If you chase after the animals or deliberately molest them (for example stressing a puffer fish to make it blow up) then you can easily harm them.

    23) In some dive locations there may be several large groups in the water at the same time. In these situations keep a careful eye on your buddy and your group so you surface with the right group.

    24) If you haven't been diving for a while, or you want to prepare for your next vacation then take a refresher course before you go. This will boost your confidence and give you some practice with skills you may have forgotten.

    25) Do frequent buoyancy checks. As you progress in your diving the amount of weight you need to carry will change. It will also change with every different suit or tank you use or with the varying salinities of the world's oceans. Keep notes in your log about how much weight you need with every configuration and location.

    26) If you are using a pony bottle as a safety device then keep it full and resist using it except for its intended purpose in emergencies. It is tempting to use it to extend your bottom time but then it loses its function as safety equipment.

    27) When alighting a boat via a ladder, keep your fins on your feet until it's your turn to exit and you have a hold of the ladder. If you don't do this you may be unable to avoid floating off, or even under the back of the boat! Likewise, when you do take your fins out watch out for the back of the boat. It moves up and down and can hit you on the head.

    28) When awaiting your turn to climb back onto a boat via a ladder, then keep your distance to the side and not behind or under the ladder. That way, if a diver slips and falls off the ladder and back into the water they won't land on you!

    29) When onboard a boat, and especially onboard a zodiac, remove your weight belt. If you happen to fall overboard you will have to drop it and you will lose it.

    30) Be fussy about your gear. Your tank should be adjusted to the proper height, the strap must be tight, your octopus and spg should be clipped off so they don't dangle and your gear must be in good working order and well maintained. All of this is for your safety, comfort and enjoyment. If you rent gear be as critical of what you are given as you would be of your own gear and check it before you leave the dive shop.

    31) Always, always, always do a buddy check before you get in the water, even, or *especially* when you're in a hurry.

    32) Keep yourself fit, well rested and well hydrated before the dive. If you must drink and stay up all night then do it after the dive.

    33) Listen carefully to what the captain and crew of the dive boat tell you and cooperate in keeping the boat safe and tidy. A tidy boat is a safe boat. Likewise, the captain and crew of the boat are familiar with the rigging of descent and parking lines. Listen carefully to how the crew expects you to deploy and/or use the rigging and cooperate in making sure it gets done right.
     
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