Dive Safety…we’re all responsible for it, but what does it mean?
Do you have to be a rescue diver to be a safe diver?
No. Every diver should strive to be a safe diver. Diving, by it’s very nature, is adventurous. We explore the underwater world, taking along our own life support equipment. As adventurers, though, we can still be safe. Let’s look at ten ways to improve dive safety.
#1: Dive often. The more you dive, the more comfortable you’ll be diving. You’ll also know your gear better; you’ll know where everything is if you need it quickly and you’ll also know if something is quite right.
#2: Advance your skills. Take a class to learn something new. Improve your buoyancy control, take a Night Diver course, etc. Your Open Water Diver certification is a license to learn, so learn!
#3: Keep your self in shape. Good physical condition will make your diving easier and gives you an extra edge if you have to respond to an emergency. Also, reducing fat and developing muscle might help you shed a few pounds of lead from your weight system.
#4: Know your limits. If you’re not ready to dive, don’t dive. If your head isn’t in the game, it might not be a safe dive. Don’t be afraid to say you’re not up for the dive.
#5: Keep up-to-date. Read scuba magazines and see what’s going on in the scuba world. Specifically for Dive Safety, check out Divers Alert Network(DAN)’s Alert Diver website. For example, DAN has a great article on Tank Safety.
#6: Do a pre-dive safety check on each and every dive. Whether you think of it as BWRAF, Big White Rabbits Are Fluffy, Bruce Willis Ruins All Films, or something else–check your gear and your buddy’s gear before hitting the water. Check your BCD, Weights, Releases, Air and a final check to make sure you have all other gear like mask, snorkel, fins.
#7: Know before you go. Listen to that pre-dive briefing or get an orientation by local dive professionals before you strike out on your own. What are the tides like? Are there any hazardous marine organisms you should avoid or be aware of?
#8: Become a DAN member. DAN membership has a lot of benefits, and they’re not just for diving. Access to TravelAssist, which can help with evacuation anytime you’re traveling more than 50 miles from home. Access to diving-specific insurance (recreational and technical), trip insurance, etc. You’ll also recieve Alert Diver, DAN’s magazine, access to online seminars and much more.
#9: Take a DAN training course. DAN offers a variety of diving-specific first aid programs. DAN Oxygen first aid teaches you more about the signs and symptoms of decompression illness. First aid starts with recognizing the problem and then providing appropriate first aid: high-concentration oxygen. Other programs include Neurological Assessment, Hazardous Marine Life, BLSFA (basic life support & first aid), BLSHCP (basic life support-health care provider level), and Dive Medicine for Divers.
#10: Go a step further and be a role model of diving safety. Become a DAN Instructor and teach divers to be safer divers. Open to Dive Leaders (Divemaster, DiveCon or higher), you can complete a DAN Instructor Qualification Course (IQC) and begin to teach divers how to be safer divers.