Diving is an incredibly thrilling sport that entails an element of danger. As a diver, you’ll enter an environment where you don’t naturally belong. So, what should divers do for their own safety?
Although the underwater world offers the potential for exploration, it can be very dangerous without proper planning and preparation. It can even be deadly. This means scuba diving or free diving safety must always be the priority.
What Should Divers Do for Their Own Safety?
If you’re planning to try out free or scuba diving, make sure that you re-read these reminders on what should divers do for their own safety:
Always Dive with a Buddy
This is the most important tip for safety underwater. We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a diving buddy with you on every dive.
The buddy system significantly reduces the risk of entrapment or entanglement underwater, equipment failure, running out of oxygen, and other possible dangers. So, you need to ensure that you have a trustworthy diving buddy during a dive.
Should you run into any problem, your buddy will be your lifeline and you theirs. Always stay close to your diving buddy so you won’t lose visual contact with each other.
According to statistics on diver fatalities, the majority of scuba divers were all by themselves when they died. They either died underwater alone or became separated from their buddy during the course of a dive. This old diving maxim rings true up to today: ‘you dive alone, you die alone.’
Set Up a Dive Flag
This is also important for you to remember when asking yourself what should divers do for their safety. Anytime you’re on the water, it’s necessary to take all safety precautions.
So, clearly display a ‘diver down’ flag. It’s not just smart, it’s also the law, depending on where you’re diving. The flag is an indicator to other boats that are within the area to steer clear and slow down around the flag.
There are two types of the ‘diver down’ flag. In international waters, the flag is blue and white and known as an alfa or alpha flag. In North America, our flag is a red-colored square and a stripe across which says ‘diver down.’
When you are preparing to dive, pack it in your bag. As you are diving, make sure that you try to stay as close as possible to the flag. The flag will be more visible to the passing boats in comparison to your head and shoulders when you’re on the water surface.
Beware of Boat Traffic
Whenever you’re diving in an area where there’s boat traffic, it’s absolutely necessary that you’re conscious of your surroundings.
This also applies when you’re piloting a marine vehicle, such as a boat. Being fully aware of what’s in the water, as well as the local regulations will ensure diving and boating safety.
Whenever you’re heading out on a boat to spearfish, it’s good practice to create a float plan. The float plan should be left with a family member, friend, and the local marina. The flat plan will outline your boating trip and provide some basic information as to when and where you plan to go.
Should you run into some trouble, the float plan will make it easy for the local authorities to find you and offer assistance.
These are what should be included in a comprehensive float plan:
- Name of the vessel’s owner, address, contact number, and emergency contact information
- Boat’s description, including name, color, license number, and other distinguishing features
- Number of people that are onboard
- Details of the trip, time of departure and arrival, location, alternate and planned routes
- Information on the safety equipment onboard e.g. radio channels and signaling devices
When considering what should divers do for their own safety, they should also:
- Use a well-maintained boat that’s suitable, depending on the conditions
- Make sure that a diver down flag is displayed
- Avoid diving alone (remember the buddy system)
- Don’t overload a marine vessel, especially with too much equipment and people
Make Sure You Are Physically Fit
Are you absolutely sure that you’re physically fit to dive? Diving might not seem to you to be physically demanding, most especially when you’ll be diving in a calm, tropical body of water.
But, situations will arise wherein your physical strength and stamina are required. Rough weather, strong currents, and a rescue situation will all require you to have an excellent baseline of physical fitness. Of course, you must have the ability to swim.
Poor fitness will cause you to overexert yourself. You’ll be consuming more oxygen or breathing gas compared to the oxygen consumption of a fit person. This will translate to more struggles and less time for you to enjoy yourself underwater.
If you’re not confident with regard to your fitness level, we suggest you conduct swim training. This is a way for you to build cardiovascular fitness, efficiency when in the water, and develop leg strength. Swim training will also help you get used to having your fins on.
You can also do dry-land core exercises and strength training in your local gym. More importantly, cut out excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption. Not only will doing so improve your diving experience, but you’ll also live longer!
As you’ve read this article on diving safety, you already took an important step in ensuring you avoid the dangers associated with scuba diving and freediving. There are numerous risks that come with such an amazing activity.
Fortunately, there are ways, such as the aforementioned, which can help ensure your safety and enjoyment underwater. Always prepare for an underwater emergency as the ocean can be very unpredictable.
Have a safe and happy diving experience!