As you are well aware, diving can be risky, but that’s all part of the fun and excitement that comes with diving. Entry-level courses will teach you everything you need to know about diving safety, including the common causes of accidents, what all divers should do to avoid danger in the water, as well as what to do during an emergency and last but not the least, how to choose the best scuba gear packages.
Accidents can be prevented as long as you get the right training and have even just a basic understanding of what to do to avoid problems. Taking the simple steps of educating yourself and integrating those lessons into your diving expeditions are what makes this sport safer.
In fact, according to statistics, the chance of dying during a dive is roughly 2 to 3 out of every 100,000 dives, which means it is really rare.
Do take a look at these 10 basic diving rules. Follow these rules, and you will be able to bring down the risk of accidents by a great deal. This way, you can make your dive as fun and safe as possible.
Rule #1 – Check Your Gear Always
Always thoroughly check your scuba gear before getting into the water. Do not forget the buddy check system too, as you will rely on one another to stay safe below the water. You should know how to utilize every piece of gear, as many accidents occur when divers don’t know how to use the equipment on hand.
This means knowing how to release your integrated weights and deploy a SMB. You should also be aware of where all dump valves are placed on a BCD.
If you are getting ready for an out-of-the-ordinary scuba dive, such as a night dive, have your primary torch with you, a chemical light, and a backup, and make sure they’re all charged completely. If you are going on a Nitrox dive, calibrate the computer to the new air mix.
Rule #2 – Plan Your Dive and Dive Your Plan
Plan your dive to make sure you will stay safe, whether you want to go with a Divemaster or a buddy.
Agree on a maximum depth and time in the water before going in. Always be aware of lost-diver protocols, and emergency procedures, as these things differ a bit from one dive site to the next.
If you are diving without a guide, then you should know how to navigate the site ahead of time, and take the appropriate equipment so you can get back to the exit point safely.
Always communicate with your dive buddy to be certain you both know what hand signals you’ll utilize. Hand signals can differ depending upon where a diver is from, so you want to check the tiniest details in advance.
Rule #3 – Never Hold Your Breath
The most important rule, when diving is to not hold your breath because doing so, may cause serious injuries. The air in your lungs will expand during ascent and contract during descent, so as long as you breathe on a continuous basis, this won’t pose a problem as the excess air escapes.
When you hold your breath, air can’t escape as it begins expanding. Eventually, the alveoli in the walls of your lungs rupture, causing severe damage.
Pulmonary baro-traumas are caused to the lungs as a result of over-pressurization, and it can cause bubbles to escape into your bloodstream and chest cavity, where arterial gas embolism can occur and result in death.
Even a depth change of merely a few feet can lead to lung over-expansion. Holding your breath is dangerous at any point during your dive, not just when heading back to the surface. So continue to breathe always.
Rule #4 – Only Dive Where You Feel Comfortable
Scuba diving is meant to be fun, so you shouldn’t put yourself in an uncomfortable situation in which you can’t mentally or physically get through a dive. Always dive within your limits, regardless of how pressured you may feel by other divers who want you to move deeper into the water when you aren’t ready.
Remember, don’t do it, if you are not up for the challenge.
Never be frightened to change your location or cancel your dive altogether if you find that the conditions are unsafe. Dive sites can vary dramatically from one day to the next, especially with regards to water temperature, currents, and surface conditions.
Don’t attempt diving in a site that’s beyond what your qualifications call for. Deep dives, wrecks, and overhead environments, as well as diving using enriched air, all need specialized training first.
Rule #5 – Practice Your Ascents
Always ascend slowly because if you exceed a safe limit, the nitrogen that’s absorbed into your bloodstream during your dive doesn’t have time to dissolve as pressure reduces towards the surface. Bubbles will accumulate in your bloodstream and could lead to decompression illness. If you maintain your rate of ascent no more quickly than 30 feet every minute, you will be fine. A dive computer can warn you if you are going too quickly.
If you don’t have a computer, don’t ascend any quicker than the smallest bubbles you exhale.
Fully deflate the BCD before you start your ascent. Don’t use the inflator button to reach the surface. Plus, you should always do your 3-minute safety stop when you reach 15 feet to decrease risks of decompression illness.
Rule #6 – Apply the Rule of Quarters
The rule of quarters states that all divers should use 2 quarters (1/2) of the air supply for the journey outward, another quarters for the journey back, and the last quarter as a safety reserve. Example: 200bar starting pressure, 100 bar one way, 50 bar to return and 50 bar in reserve.
Adapt this to situations that don’t fall into the profile of heading out and back, such as drift dives when your entry and exit points aren’t the same. Leave enough air for a slow enough ascent and your safety stop. And think of your buddy’s needs too, just in case an emergency were to arise.
If you’re planning a deep dive, end with more air than you would if you were in shallower waters. If you are diving in harsh conditions with cold temperatures and stronger currents, your air consumption will accelerate. Consider this as well.
Rule #7 – Keep Yourself Fit
Diving is a demanding sport, even though you may find yourself relaxing underwater during a typical dive.
Keep in mind that diving in stronger currents, longer surface swims, and the fact that you need to carry gear and be exposed to a variety of weather conditions means that you need to be physically fit enough to remain safe.
A lack of physical stamina and strength can result in overexerting yourself, which leads to quicker consumption of air, panic, and accidents.
Use of tobacco and alcohol, fatigue, and obesity can increase your risks of decompression illness. 25% of deaths are also caused by pre-existing conditions that should have kept individuals from diving at all, so always have your doctor examine you and make sure you are able to dive if you have a physical ailment of any kind, even temporary issues.
Remember that even the common cold can be more dangerous underwater.
Rule #8 – Know Vital Skills
Never forget about the basic skills you acquired during your entry-level courses. First, make sure you master them, as they are vital to your safety. Performing these important techniques during an emergency could be life-saving.
Basic skills include knowing how to use a buddy’s alternate air source, understanding what it takes to conduct a CESA, and being able to disconnect the pressure inflator hose during an emergency.
The focus should be on preventing accidents. So, you should master buoyancy control to avoid uncontrolled ascents. Know how to clear your mask to avoid panic.
Generally, you want to know what to do if anything were to go wrong, regardless of the fact that rescue-certified divers may be on hand to assist those in need and even perform CPR after getting a diver out of the water.