Plan your dive...
A happy weekend to all of you! I hope you are well.
Good to be back. My apologies for having been quiet recently. I was on leave (we all need some dont we). Upon my return I got busy at work (probably the same problem for you, you know when you come back, open your work mailbox and see 1'000+ unread email and knowing about 95% are useless...). So you can imagine I was a little depressed. And since this was not enough I got Covid. Actually as I write this post I am still in isolation.
Long story short: I can't wait to get out and dive. I really need to find a way to make diving my permanent activity. Any idea are welcome by the way...
Ok enough about me. Topic of the day? The fifth article or say reminder re common mistakes: Plan your dive. Or dive planning.
A sheet of paper, a pen, your recreational diver planner, off you go! Back to school, kind of.
So, before you say it -because I know most of you will say it- I know most of you don't plan the dive and just follow the Instructor or the DM in charge. Well, technically you can. Yet some of you may dive without supervision so its better to plan (unless you use a standard reiceved from another diver, in which you should still review it first anyway); some of you may just be interested to know about the plan and ask your guide. He will probably be happy to answer your question since it is rare customers (if I may call you like that) do ask.
Get to know the info (at least the basics) about the currents, depths expected, marine life and potential threats if any, entry and exit points, surfacing techniques if any particularity, boat traffic, environmental concerns, etc.
Check out what surface support you may need during and after the dive (ok this may not be relevant for simple shallow recreational dives during a sunny day I agree).
Emergency contacts: let someone know you go for a dive, where and when.
Make sure you and your team will run the same plan. Souds stupid? Well its always stupid till something happens. Agree on the maximum depth, bottom time and minimum air to terminate the dive (e.g. 50 minutes of 50 bar is a good approach although conservative depending on the plan).
Agree what you and your buddy/ team would do if you are separated, exceed your planned dive or experience an out-of-air emergency or an equipment issue underwater. Better discuss it on the boat before.
Review hand signals with your buddy.
Conduct a predive test on equipment, particularly any rented gear. Remember to do the buddy check (many of us tend to overlook it or do it ourselves).
Define an emergency action plan (EAP), a tool that divers are taught how to construct in their advanced training courses should include what prompts an emergency response, important contact information, the nearest medical facility and the best means of getting there as well as essential first aid equipment. Ok that will usually be handled by the dive operator but why not asking about it? You will find it interesting.
Dive planning doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it is essential to prevent and manage diving incidents.
The Diving Bear