How to Stay Safe in Scuba Diving


Staying safe is the first rule of scuba diving. It is more important than anything else.

Getting in

With all your pre-dive checks completed, it’s time to get into the water. Diving from the shore is simple. You just walk out through the shallows until it’s deep enough to swim, then you can put your fins on. Things are different when diving from a boat or from a rocky shoreline.

Boat safety

The most dangerous thing you may meet when diving is your own boat. When you decide to leave the boat, you should get away from it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Boats have hard surfaces and rotating parts that are hazardous. Entering the water from bigger vessels is like jumping from a pier. Divers usually make a giant stride entry from these so that they get as clear from the hard edge of the platform as possible. The same entry method should be used to enter from a rocky shoreline next to deep water.

Fins last

The last thing to do when getting ready to dive is put your fins on. A diver walking with fins is a hazard to himself or herself and to others, but a diver in the water without fins is unable to manoeuvre.

Put your fins on at the last moment and take them off as late as possible when leaving the water. To do this efficiently, go to the point of entry with your mask in place, and holding on firmly with one hand, use your other hand to put on your fins.

Jumping sense

The next thing to do is to make sure that the water is free of hazards before you jump in. Leaping on top of another diver who jumped in before you or who may even be coming up is potentially dangerous. It is very important to take a good look at the water before you jump in.

There will be occasions when there is enough space for more than one diver to make a giant stride entry at the same time. Each diver must be sure to enter his or her own patch of water without any danger of collision. A crash of divers loaded with heavy equipment could be serious. It is usually safest if all divers jump at the same time on a count of three, otherwise each should wait their turn, pausing while the previous diver swims clear.

Getting out again

You should never jump into the water without considering how you are going to get back out. Divers should also be very careful about the way they get out of the water because, again, it’s the boat itself that represents the hazard.

Divers should be aware that although the boat may be at anchor, it is almost certain to be swinging gently in an arc through the water. This makes it slightly more difficult to grab hold of the ladder. Also, the boat may be moving up and down with the motion of the waves. If this is the case, it is best to get on to the ladder as the boat dips in the trough of a wave. To do this, step onto the ladder in one purposeful movement so that you are carried up with the boat’s next rise on the wave.

Some dive ladders are designed for divers to climb out while they are fully equipped and still with their fins on. Other ladders require divers to take off their fins before climbing up the steps.

There should always be help on hand when divers are getting back on the boat. You should also keep your mask and regulator in place in case you fall back into the water.

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About the Author: Cody Riffel is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo. She likes to write on variety of topics, whatever interests her. She also likes to share what she learns over the Internet and her day-to-day life.

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