Diving…Part Two

When You Go Diving

Breathe Normally All The Time. Never Hold Your Breath. Scuba is a strange and exhilarating experience because you’re doing something technically impossible, breathing underwater. It is important to NEVER hold your breath. Breathe normally on scuba at all times. Holding your breath can cause an air embolism (where an air bubble enters the blood stream), which is a serious and potentially fatal injury.
Equalize frequently as you descend. Just like on a plane, the change of pressure as you descend to depth while scuba diving means you need to equalize your ears. This needs to be done frequently and before feeling any pain to avoid injury to your inner ear.
Stay aware of where your guide and buddy are located. Don’t be tempted to swim off on your own when you spot something interesting. Point it out to your guide and dive buddy and head towards it together. Staying with your buddy and guide is important for safety and also your orientation. If you do lose each other underwater, look around for 1 minute, and if you still can’t see them, slowly ascend to the surface where they should have done the same.
Keep an eye on your air gauge. You can only stay down as long as you have air in your tank, and you need to be aware of when your tank is half full and quarter full so you can plan your return to the surface accordingly. Your guide will ask you how much air you have left periodically, but you are ultimately responsible for your own air consumption.
Dive within the limits of your dive computer. If you are wearing a dive computer, ensure that you consult it frequently to see how much time you have at each depth during your dive. Otherwise, follow your guide and do not descend below their depth.
Don’t over exert yourself. Diving is often called an adrenaline sport, but you should actually be super relaxed when underwater. There is no gain to swimming fast over reefs. The slower you go, the more you’ll see. Avoid moving at a pace which makes you out of breath. If you do feel tired, signal your buddy and find a coral-free rock on which you can hang to have a rest.
Don’t touch anything. You should avoid touching anything, besides the aforementioned rock. This is to protect the coral reefs, as well as yourself. Many corals are sharp, many marine plants poisonous and many marine creatures will bite if they feel threatened. Keeping your hands to yourself ensures you and they stay safe and unharmed. It’s also important to perfect your buoyancy so you can hover without effort over the reefs and therefore won’t feel the need to touch anything.
Always Ascend SLOWLY from every dive. As well as not holding your breath, ascending slowly from a dive is the other Number 1 rule of diving. Coming up fast from a dive can cause “the bends” or decompression sickness, as nitrogen is forced into the bloodstream. By coming up slowly from a dive and doing the safety stop, the nitrogen in your body has a chance to dissipate and therefore cause no harm.

Planning a Dive Vacation?

Before You Enter The Water

Make sure you’re fit to dive. If you’ve never dived before, you should have a medical examination in your home country before you go traveling to ensure you’re fit to dive. If you’re generally fit and healthy, there should be no problem. You will be required to sign a medical statement before learning to dive.

If you’re already certified to dive, avoid diving if you’re not feeling one hundred per cent. In particular, don’t dive with a cold or a bad hangover. Save the big party night for the finale of your diving days.
Dive with a reputable diving school. Locate a recommended dive school in the area where you’re going. It’s important to know they are well-established and have well-maintained scuba equipment and boats, along with experienced staff. Check if they have instructors that can speak your language fluently.

Listen to your instructor or dive guide. Once you’re on the dive boat, it’s important to listen to your instructor or guide, no matter how experienced you are. Plan Your Dive, Dive Your Plan is the number one rule of dive preparation. You need to follow your instructor’s brief on where you’re going, the route you will follow and what you need to watch out for.

Double check all of your scuba gear. En route to the dive site you will need to set up all your scuba gear. Take your time and double check everything is working. If you are not sure about anything, don’t be embarrassed to ask your guide or instructor.

Make sure you do your buddy check. Doing the buddy check of each other’s scuba gear is extremely important before you get in the water to make sure neither of you have missed anything. Introduce yourself to your buddy beforehand as well, so you can get to know each other a little. It’s better for you both safety wise and it can also be the start of a great friendship!

Have scuba diving and travel insurance. Ensure you are covered both above and below water with insurance that explicitly states scuba diving activities are included. Being covered on land is vital too, as diving often involves being in remote locations in developing countries.