Scuba diving has some potential risks just like every other outdoor activity does. However, these risks can easily be minimized by obeying a couple of rules. DiveWithSeaman.com already has a “Rules For Diving” page but here in this post, I wanted to give the most important rules one by one which will increase the safety and comfort of your dives starting right after you finish reading. Here are 10 golden rules of scuba diving that will increase the safety, quality and pleasure of your dives while decreasing the anxiety under the water.
After every dive that is deeper than 10 meters, don’t forget your safety stop. Wait at 5 meters (not in every 5 meters, only AT 5 meters) for 3 minutes. This will help you:
- Reduce the amount of nitrogen in your veins and tissues by exhaling during this period. As you already know, pressure change between 1o meters and the surface is 100%. By waiting at 5 meters, your body is adapting this sharp pressure change.
- Adjust your gear before surfacing.
Don’t ascend faster than 9 meters(30 feet)/minute. This means that if you are a Open Water Diver and dove to 18 meters, your ascend time should be 2 minutes at least. It can be better more than that. Faster ascend rate may result in decompression sickness.
3- Always Dive With a Buddy
Always dive in pairs to reduce risk. I know that there is a term “solo diving” for experienced divers, but I personally don’t advise you to dive alone. I have more than 4000 dives and 17 years of experience but I never ever dive alone. That’s because every situation while having a buddy can easily by fixed whereas if you are alone, it may have unwanted results. Think about cramps, out-of-air situations (okay, an experienced diver can look at his/her pressure gauge, but think about rare equipment failures resulting this) and nitrogen narcosis? Have a responsible dive buddy in your every dive.
4- Never Exceed the Dive Limits
There are certain limits for every depth. According to SSI Dive Table, a diver should stay no more than 50 minutes in 18 meters. After the 51st minute, diver is under the risk of decompression sickness. Always watch your dive computer and the dive tables.
Don’t even approach to these limits (called No-Decompression Limits) on the tables and the dive computers. If you dive computer tells you that you can stay at your current dive for another 10 minutes, ascend a little bit after 5-6 minutes.
5- Show Respect to the Marine Life
Underwater life was always there even before we, human-beings have started to exist. Divers are nothing more than a guest under the water. We are already mass destructing the underwater creatures by over-fishing and entertaining (please watch The Cove (2009) for having a better understanding of how we affect these creatures for entertainment).
If you don’t care about the underwater life, you still have to show respect to the marine life for your own safety and your equipment. Secure your hose by using clips. This will prevent your equipment (alternate air source, for example) to hit the rocks and etc.
Don’t try to feed the animals. A Moray Eel, for example, can harm you unconsciously while trying to feed it.
Go on breathing continuously just like you do right now reading this article. Holding your breath especially during an ascend will rupture your lungs due to the increased volume of air in your lungs. Golden rule of scuba diving:
NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH!
Read my “Best Breathing Technique While Scuba Diving” article.
7- Check Your Air Pressure
In every 5 minutes, look at your pressure gauge. This should become a habit in all your dives. Don’t overcome by languor if you are an experienced diver, even if a dive professional. A sudden equipment failure may go unnoticed during a dive and make you out-of-air. Everything is not related to our experience.
Dive deeper, check more frequently. You’ll breath denser air at 30 meters than you do in 15 meters. So, you should increase the frequency of your checks when you dive deeper.
This point is often underestimated. “Getting drunk, sleeping less and surfing more!” is only a Hollywood stuff. Sleep for 8 hours, don’t consume alcohol starting from the night, previous to diving. Alcohol and sleeplessness will increase the chance of decompression sickness.
After you wake up, remember that a good dive day starts with a good breakfast. Eat light food before you dive but never dive hungry. This will disturb you and result in nausea and headache.
9-Avoid Yo-Yo Dives
Plan your dives. If you have agreed with your group for a dive up to 20 meters, start to ascend slowly after your trip ends at 20 meters. After the maximum depth is reached, divers should ascend slowly and return to the surface at last. Don’t start (for example) to ascend from 20 meters up to 15 meters, stay there for a couple of minutes and then return to 20 meters back. Look at the dive profiles below for dos and don’ts:
If you are an Open Water Diver, you maximum depth limit is 18 meters. Don’t dive to (for example) 25 meters without proper training and experience. This will jeopardize your dive. It is not only the depth. If you don’t have the proper training, don’t attempt for a wreck dive or a cave dive. If you want to experience these dives, make your plan with your certified scuba instructor and follow the instructions. Training is the only option for a healthy and cheerful dive.
Remember that the absolute maximum depth limit for a recreational scuba divers is 40 meters (suggested depth is 30 meters). Even if you are a Deep Diver, instructor or any dive professional of any level, you should not exceed it.
Please remember, “a successful dive is the one that you surface safely and smiling“
Good dives all…
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