Although every scuba diver knows that safety is always paramount when diving, that doesn’t stop many of them from developing bad habits over time that could reduce the pleasure experienced during their dive, and, even worse, impact on their own safety and the safety of others.
If you’re a keen diver but think you might have got into some bad habits over the years, it’s time to take a close look at your own practice and see if you have been making any of the following mistakes and take steps to make changes.
In This Guide
Skipping A Buddy Check
This is a serious bad habit, and if you find yourself doing this make sure you nip it in the bud right now. As we already said, safety is paramount, and the whole point of the buddy system is to have a safeguard to back you up. If you’re skipping the buddy check, anything could happen once you’re under the water and that’s bad news for both of you. Shortcuts on any element of diving are a bad idea, but when it comes to safety, shortcuts must be avoided at all costs. You don’t want to be left having to solve issues when you’re already in the water. It’s very easy to just do a quick buddy check before you roll off the boat to make sure that neither of you have a loose tank or anything worse.
Incorrect Protection For Exposure
Nobody wants to cut their dive short because they’re freezing cold, but that’s what happens if you wear the wrong exposure protection. This is another bad habit that you need to break right now. Yes, you may be diving in the tropics, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be chilly once you get down a few metres. Wear a protective wetsuit and you won’t waste precious diving time having to come up to get warm.
Wearing The Wrong Weights
When you’re a new diver, there’s a good chance that you’ll be wearing too much weight and that means that you become accustomed to that weight and how it feels to carry it about during your dive. However, think about the effect that it’s having on your body. You’ll have to work your body much harder to push yourself through the water with the extra weight on board, and you’ll need to constantly swim so you stay buoyant. What does all that mean for your dive? Well, apart from exhausting yourself much more quickly, you’ll also be getting through your air much faster, and that means you can’t stay underwater for as long. Reduce the amount of weight you take down with you and you’ll extend your diving time exponentially.
Neglecting To Service Your Gear
This is another serious habit that you need to break right now. Imagine the picture – you’ve just spent a fortune on your diving vacation but when you arrive you realize that your equipment isn’t working properly. Good maintenance is the key to prolonging the lifespan of your diving gear, and since it doesn’t come cheap, it makes good financial sense to look after it for as long as possible. There is some basic maintenance you can easily do yourself, so put the work in to find out more about maintaining your equipment and make sure you do it regularly. Of course, there is some equipment which can only be serviced by a professional, so make sure to get it done before you head out on that dive, otherwise it’s not only a frustrating problem when you discover that your gear doesn’t work, but it could also be a potentially dangerous one.
Taking Off Your Regulator Or Mask When You Surface
We all want to tell our diving buddies about the cool things we’ve seen during our dive, so it’s no surprise that too many of us take off our masks or regulator immediately we get to the surface, however there are a few important things we should do first. We should inflate our jackets, signal our OK to our boat and then ensure the rest of the party is fine before thinking of taking our masks off. Think about the reasoning behind this. In choppy seas, the boat only has a short time to get you all on board, and as you waste time taking your mask off, you could risk injury.
Going In Too Deep
If you’re part of a group dive, don’t exceed the maximum depth. You’ll be using more air than everyone else and that means everybody’s dive is cut short. This is a very selfish attitude when diving and should absolutely be avoided, no matter how strong the temptation is to just go down for those few metres more.
Failing To Analyze Your Tanks
It’s all too easy to just grab a tank without checking what’s in it, and sometimes that works out just fine. But it’s never worth taking the risk of finding out that what you thought was a 32% nitrox tank actually has a much higher percentage than you thought. Safety is always paramount when diving, and you should always take the time to check nitrox tanks with a nitrox analyser to make sure that the content is what you believed it to be. Nobody wants to lose consciousness under the water, so take those few extra seconds to check for yourself.
Breaking Your Bad Habits
While some of these bad diving habits are merely irritating, others are potentially life threatening and must be avoided at all costs. The key to avoiding many of them is to draw up a safety checklist and always go through it thoroughly before you dive. By checking your tanks, making sure your gear is well serviced and always making sure that you do the necessary buddy checks, you’ll not only be improving the quality of your dive, you’ll also be improving your own safety in the water and the safety of others around you.
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