Working with divers almost on a daily basis, I’ve observed some bad diving habits that I want to point out. Most of these things are slips of the mind or just plan carelessness that causes trouble later in the dive. Check out below some of these bad habits.
Not checking air pressure before getting into the water.
Don’t skip this step. Before ever putting your equipment on your body, you need to know if the cylinder has sufficient air. I’ve been on many boat charters where divers gear up, jump in the water, and descend only minutes later to find that their tank was near empty. O’rings fail and can leak air out with you hearing it. Sometimes dive operators make mistakes and can skip a tank during filling. It is your responsibitiy to know if you life support equipment will support your life. Check your air and all of your gear.
Not discussing a dive plan.
Many times divers jump in the water without discussing any type of dive plan. At minimum you should discuss with your dive buddy maximum depth, maximum time, minimum air pressure to surface with, and who is leading the dive. You need to know how deep your going, how long are you staying (what’s your NDL?), how much air will you surface with, and are you leading or following? These are just the bare minimum things you need to discuss. This simple conversation can save your life. Don’t dive without a plan. Most all diving deaths and accidents happen when divers are diving beyond their limits. Decompression sickness is real. If you overstay your limits, you will get bent. If you run out of air you can drown. If you don’t stay together you will get separated and spend most of the time searching instead of diving.
Rushing and Overheating
There is no reason to rush to set up your equipment. You are entering into an environment that you cannot live in without the support of correctly operating scuba equipment. Do not dive if your equipment isn’t working correctly. Every year there are multiple diving deaths because divers choose to dive with a known equipment issue. Don’t be that guy. Bring extra equipment and/or know when to call the dive. During the summer a lot of divers overheat. They rush setting up their equipment and skip steps trying to get into the water to cool down. Take a few minutes and jump in the water to cool down if your getting hot. It is better on your body. It helps avoid decompression sickness. It will help you conserve air because your not jumping in already worn out. You are less likely to make mistakes in setting up your equipment when your not overheating. Slow down and you will speed up.
Not hydrating before diving
It is believed that a leading cause of decompression sickness is due to dehydration. Start drinking water a day or so before your dive and stay hydrated. You blood becomes thicker when your dehydrated. Imagine a bubble rising in syrup and then one rising in water. The bubble will rise much slower in syrup. We are taught to ascend slow. We are infact decompressing on every dive we do and trying to eliminate bubbles and bubble formation. Staying well hydrated will aid in this process. Also, don’t drink alcohol before diving. Not only does it impair your judgement, it also dehydrates you. Save that for later.
Having bad buoyancy control
Buoyancy control is a skill that you will continue to develop the more you dive. However, it is a critical skill for safe diving. Just about everywhere I dive, I see divers new and old silting out the bottom with their fins. Divers come to see and experience the dive site, not silt. Don’t be the guy that ruins visibility for everyone else. Your body should be horizontal in the water column and none of your gear should be dangling about. Kicking coral can kill years of growth. Between oil spills, toxic water discharging and bad environmental choices by big cooperations and government, we have plenty of other things already killing it. We definitely do not need divers helping with that. Imagine yourself in a 3rd person view. How is your body positioned? Where are your fins? Bad buoyancy control shows a lack of diving skill. Read last months blog to learn how to weight properly and/or take an advanced buoyancy course with me.
These are many more bad habits that divers tend to hold on to. Think through your diving habits. Are they safe? Make changes to become the best and safest diver that you can be.