Ten Commandments of a Safe Scuba Dive
New to scuba diving or perhaps you are just looking for a little helpful information before your next diving trip, in our latest blog we are covering the 10 commandments for safe diving.
- Do Not Hold Your Breath
The most important rule of Scuba Diving is “never hold your breath”. When a diver ascends the lungs expand and then they contract when a diver descends. Continuous breathing means the air can escape but if the diver holds his breath, air has nowhere to escape to and this ends up damaging the alveoli that make up the lung walls. When this happens they will rupture causing serious damage or worse, death. The injury to the lungs due to over-pressurization is known as “Pulmonary Barotrauma”. In the most extreme cases this condition can cause air bubbles to escape into the chest cavity and/or bloodstream. Should the air get into the divers bloodstream, it can cause an ‘Arterial Gas Embolism’. In most cases this is fatal. So, don’t hold your breath!
- Practising Safe Ascents
Ascending slowly and safely is as important as breathing. When ascending too fast, nitrogen that is absorbed in the bloodstream when at depth will not have time to dissolve back into solution as pressure decreases and the diver surfaces. This condition is known as ‘Decompression Sickness”. Maintaining an ascent rate of no faster than 30 feet per minute will bring the diver safely to the surface. An easy way to regulate your ascent is to ascend no faster than the diver’s smallest bubble.
- Gear Check
The diver’s life is literally in the hands of his diving gear when he is underwater. Gear should be checked before EVERY dive and that includes buddy checking too, as should your gear malfunction, your buddy will need his gear to save you. The diver must also have thorough knowledge of his gear as many accidents occur not from gear malfunction, because the diver does not know his gear.
- Don’t Exceed Your Dive Limits
Don’t give into peer pressure and dive beyond your limits. Also know your dive limits and if you feel mentally or physically unable to do a dive, call it quits. If the weather conditions for the dive day make you uncomfortable, trust your instincts and cancel the dive. And don’t ever take on a dive beyond your qualification.
- Physical Fitness
Although it may appear to be a non-strenuous activity, diving is actually intensely demanding on the body. Maintaining physical fitness is key to a safe dive. Overexertion due to lack of fitness can cause you to breathe faster, which may cause anxiety and that can lead to an accident.
- Plan Your Dive and Stick to the Plan
Plan your dive properly before you go out and make sure that everyone in the dive knows the plan and sticks to it. All parties should be agreed on how long and how deep you intend diving before you submerge.
- Know the Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds applies to the air supply. The rule is as follows; a third of the air supply is for the outward journey, a third is for the return journey and the last third is a safety reserve.
- Use The Buddy System
The old adage goes as follows: “When you dive alone, you die alone”. Diving alone is a big NO-NO. Most emergencies while diving can be handled with the help of buddy.
- Practice Basic Skills
Over time a diver’s basic skills get rusty. Many of these skills are taught in the entry-level courses, and many divers never have to use any of the emergency procedures. These basic skills are vital and could save a life. Practice and refresh your basic skills.
- On the surface, Establish Positive Buoyancy
25 percent of diver fatality happens on the surface and not underwater. 28 percent of diver deaths are due to fatigue. Establishing positive buoyancy on the surface conserves energy and prevents exhaustion. Make it a habit to establish positive buoyancy at the end of every dive.