Scuba Diving – is it Safe

Scuba Diving – is it Safe

Diving – Is it Safe?

Scuba Diving can be a dangerous sport if you do not take a ‘be safe always’ approach when entering the water. It has a lot to do with your personality at the end of the day. It will be as safe as you want it to be, even in times of extreme weather or water conditions. it is important to be always stay alert. Just like crossing the road, if you don’t take precautions and follow the simple rules that you have learnt as a child, accidents can happen anytime anywhere!

Get certified by a professionally recognised centre

Many new divers do not check that the centre they are learning from, particularly when they visit more remote places in Asia, that their dive instruction is received from a professionally organised and run centre. There is often a presumption that all dive centres have gone through proper checks, controls and certification. Unfortunately, there are many who profess to be qualified to instruct, but to save costs, have not received authentication from professional bodies such as PADI or SDI which have strict rules and requirements for all dive operators. Don’t miss this first check when you step in. Always ask to see proof of their certification.

Be medically certified to dive

See your doctor before you sign up for dive instruction. No one else should care as much about your safety as you! And no one else will be as sorry as you if there are accidents or problems when you dive. Get physically checked and if necessary, obtain a letter from your doctor authorising you to learn to dive.

Be aware of the conditions and your own diving competency level

Sometimes, it is best to follow your instinct. If you feel the currents are too strong, or you are not feeling well, stop your dive by informing your buddy straightaway and ascend together. Do not try to attempt a dive if you are uncomfortable. We have seen many experienced divers abandon dives due to strong currents, and that has saved them and their dive group a lot of trouble.

Never dive in terrain or environments you are not certified for

In order to dive caves, do night dives or penetrate wrecks, you should have received proper training and certification before you attempt them. There are techniques that you must learn in order to be safe for such specialty dives. Choose from the wide range of the Specialty Courses that conducts regularly which is of interest to you, and you will find that you will be much more confident whenever you dive the next wreck or cave.

Be prepared to say “No” to a dive

If you find yourself uncomfortable or unsure, even after you have started to descend or are in the middle of a dive, it is OK to cancel that dive and come back another day when the conditions are more favourable. It does not mean that you are not a good diver – infact very often, it is the smart diver who knows himself best – and knows when to say “No thanks, I will sit out this one.”

Never dive alone

Regardless of experience levels, you should never dive alone. If you lose your buddy during a dive, look around for no more than one to two minutes. If you still cannot find your buddy, you should end your dive and make your way up to the surface. Not only will it be safer for you, it will also give comfort to your buddy that you are watching out for him too.

Prepare for a dive well

The night before a dive trip, you should always rest well, and hydrate yourself by drinking lot of water. And, you should not have a heavy night’s drinking as alcohol causes dehydration. Dehydration contributes to many diving-related illnesses.

Always check your dive gear before each dive (especially for rental gear!)

Before you go on each dive, always check all your dive gear again. Make sure that your regulator and hoses are working well without leaks, your BCD inflates well and your tank has the right level of air. Do not assume that just because you have returned from one dive safe and sound, using the same set of dive gear will not cause any problems on the next dive. Many shops have rental gear which may not have been serviced well or for a long time. You should check all gear, rental or your own, well before every single dive.

Choose a buddy who dives like you

While choosing a buddy who dives like you may not be an option many of the times, it is always good to get to know your buddy before you start diving together. Ask simple questions such as how many times he has dived, where he has dived, when his last dive was, and how good he is at air usage. This will help you to also anticipate problems your buddy may have during the dive. The most enjoyable dives are sometimes when you have a good buddy, who shares with you the sights he comes across and paces well with you throughout the dive.

Drink plenty of water

Diving can be a very dehydrating sport. Make sure that before every dive, you have plenty of water. I always make it a point to drink a cup of water just before I jump into the water. This has always helped me to stay well hydrated throughout the dive for the next 45 to 60 minutes.

Pay attention during your pre-dive briefing

Dive briefings are important to help you understand what to expect when in the water. Your dive guide will explain about the terrain, what you should expect to see as well as how to best navigate yourself around the dive site for a most enjoyable dive. It will also help you to anticipate changes in the terrain so that there are no surprises.

Be aware of sympthoms of hypothermia, heat exhaustion and dehydration

Watch out for all the sympthoms as you are your best judge of whether your dive will cause any problems. It is always best to be safe and not sorry, so look out for tingling sensations, nausea, giddiness, numbness and any other sensations that makes you uncomfortable. Inform your dive buddy and/or your dive guide about it, and stop the dive and start your ascend to the surface.

Respect marine life

All marine life needs to be respected, not just the big stuff. Be very aware of your surroundings and the fish and coral life around you. Do not touch anything as far as possible, especially if you are unsure if it will be poisonous. Remember, the ocean belongs to the marine life and we’re the visitors!

Diving is as safe as any other sport. As divers, we have a responsibility to the environment, to other divers and most of all, to ourselves to ensure safety and preservation. Safe diving is practiced if you choose the right partner to dive with, so make sure you find out about the dive centre, instructors and guides, and feel very comfortable that they practise the prescribed safety standards diligently and conscientiously.

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