General Diving Tips

By following some of these diving tips, you will begin to enhance your diving experience and develop yourself as a competent and safe diver.

1. Secure all of your gauges and hoses. This will reduce drag and keep your gauges and regulators from dragging along the bottom.

2. Learn to say NO. A ‘good’ diver is not the person with the most gear, or the one who dives the deepest. It’s the one who can make a mature decision.

3. Remember – When faced with a situation underwater STOP – BREATHE – THINK – ACT.

4.  Different coloured delayed SMBs. These can be used to inform the surface cover of different situations, eg Use yellow to signal help.

5. Watch your position in the water column – Maintain a position in the water column, so that the water pushed by your fins doesn’t disturb the sediment below you. Periodically check behind you.

6. Before a dive, review the what ifs, eg, what would you do if: you were separated underwater or you went deeper or stayed longer than planned or you ran out of air underwater or you had equipment problems (e.g., loose tank band).

7. Night dives – Always take a second torch and use fresh batteries.

8. Check. Do a leak (bubble) check and computer check just below the surface, before you descend.

9. Be well — Make sure you’re rested, healthy, well hydrated and well-nourished prior to your diving activities. Avoid alcohol before and between dives.

10. Carry a small dive light with you when you dive during the day. This will allow you to look in dark holes and into coral overhangs.

11. If you don’t have a proper mask case, transport your mask in the foot pocket of your fin to prevent damage to the glass.

12. Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water before and after your dive.

13. Do not let all of your air out of your BC to descend but let just enough air out to start down. This will keep you from dropping rapidly and will control your descent.

14. Get a ‘save a dive’ kit together, with spare fin strap, mask strap, strong elastic bands (for wrist seals) O Rings, bicycle repair kit, hose fastener.

15. Always listen carefully to the pre-dive briefings. If you missed something in the briefing, ask. Don’t leave it to your buddy.

16. Assemble your gear as soon as possible. It is easier to do so before the boat gets underway. Doing so will be easier on you if you have a problem with motion sickness.

17. Check for cracked or missing O-rings, before every dive. those O-rings can mean the difference between a enjoyable dive and watching all your friends dive.

18. Ripples in a sandy bottom normally parallel the shore. The steeper side of the ripple will be toward shore.

19. Turn off air while travelling to a dive site on a boat – it prevents the second stage purge button accidentally being pressed and losing your air before a dive

20. Clean a new mask glass with toothpaste to stop the initial fogging.

21. Wearing hand cream can make putting on neoprene gloves very easy.

22. Secure all your gear – Securely fasten your gauge console, dive computer and or/octopus to your BC to avoid incidental contact with the reef.

23. Take care of your equipment. Keep it properly serviced and maintained. Replace old and worn equipment before it lets you down.

24. Take a small mirror with you when you dive so that you can get somebody’s attention at the surface.

25. Mark your gear with your name or initials so that you can tell your gear from everyone else’s.

26. Descend head-up and, as much as possible, facing the same way to retain your sense of direction.

27. Know your buddy. Make a note of their equipment and colours so that you can easily recognise them underwater. It is all too easy to pair up with the wrong buddy underwater.

28. Prior to a dive agree criteria to abort the dive eg, when one of you hits 80 Bar, cold, getting lost, separation, current too strong etc.

29. Never forget your buddy check, even if you are experienced or have dived with the same buddy earlier.

30. Take every opportunity to practice your skills and drills especially when you change your equipment.

31. Get orientated, always take a compass and know the direction of the shore or safety.

32. Stay together. The “same time / same site” philosophy does not constitute a buddy team.

33. When diving a wreck, make sure you can find the shot line again by checking its position in relation to the wreck, Do this before you go off and explore.

Neil Smitham

Since starting diving I've learnt a lot more useful things than I ever did at school, and been to so many different places that I doubt I would have without diving, around Britain and abroad. The Red Sea is great diving, and I've been to Orkney / Scapa Flow eight times, but my best trips have been two club trips to Norway. The craic of the journey and the spectacular scenery added to the fantastic diving. Favourite wreck, The Frankenwald or The Ferndale and Parat.

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