Scuba Diving Certification: Be A Good Dive Buddy
From your very first scuba diving class you were told to always dive with a buddy, never to dive alone. This is a very good rule and when done properly will not only make your scuba diving safer but more enjoyable as well. Lets look at a few rules to make you a good dive buddy.
Pre Dive Buddy Conference:
Once you select a dive buddy you both or in some cases all three of you need to sit down and discuss the upcoming dive. You need to be on the same page so to speak. What are your objectives for the dive. Spotting critters? Underwater Photography? Spearfishing? Perhaps you just want to cruise along and enjoy the reef or the wreck. Discussing your mutual goals will help you both not only stay together and accomplish those goals but will help make the dive easier as well. Decide who will navigate underwater? Are you both diving with a scuba diving computer? Is one of you diving with Enriched Air – Nitrox? How long you will stay down and what to do in the case of something out of the ordinary happening. This simple precautions help ensure a safe dive and helps prevent things from going wrong. This is also a great time to discuss dive hand signals and what to do if you are separated or run low on air.
Pre-Dive Buddy Check:
In your very first pool training session you were taught to do a Pre-Dive Buddy Check. This not only assures that all of your scuba diving equipment is functioning properly and that your air is turned on but allows an extra degree of familiarization for you to learn your dive buddy’s Scuba Diving Equipment configuration and set up and for him or her to learn yours. If something went awry during the dive like running low on air, your both would be familiar with each others gear and would be better able to assist the other. I have been teaching scuba diving for 29 years and I still make it a point to do a buddy check prior to my dives.
Balance Your Dive Goals:
Make sure that you both enjoy the dive. Just because you are taking photographs is no reason to block your buddy from seeing the cool critters. I was diving with a very good buddy who was spear fishing while I was trying to take photos. The first time we dove together all I was able to photograph was fish with a spear in them. Once we sat down and discussed our mutual desires we were able to share and both better enjoy the dive. We spotted for each other and he made sure that I got the photo and then I made sure he had an opportunity to spearfish. We both enjoyed many dives together after that.
Dive Within Your Training Limitations:
It is not uncommon for two divers of different experience to dive together. Just because you have more experience then your buddy does not mean that you take charge and start teaching. Teaching scuba diving is best left to the Professional Scuba Instructors. That does not mean, however, that you cannot or should not give a few pointers or benefit of your experience. It just means that you need to dive within the limits that you were trained. If venturing beyond these limits consider taking a Specialty Diver Course or diving with a Divemaster.
Be Conscious Of Your Dive Buddy:
A good diver checks his or her air and depth frequently. A good dive buddy checks with his or her buddy frequently to make sure that they are OK as well. Remember you may not get cold but your buddy might. You may have lots of air left but your buddy might use air faster then you do so always check with each other to prevent surprises. If your dive buddy is not as experienced, uses air faster or tires more quickly make sure that you both get back to the boat or dock together. Once your buddy is out of the water you can join another buddy pair but make sure that you have taken care of your dive buddy first.
Diving with a Dive Buddy is the most common way to dive and the safest by far. If you take some time to communicate together you will greatly enhance the enjoyment and safety of your dive. That means that your dives will be great Aquatic Adventures.