Dive Skills

Tips To Help Avoid Decompression Sickness

Every diver fears DCS, or decompression sickness. Many have suffered minor skin tingling, or joint pain, after deep dives, but it’s the full-on blood curdling version of DCS that scares the living daylights out of us.

Chamber

There are several things we can do to minimise the risk:

Avoid exercise after diving

Why you should try a night dive

Many divers go through a whole career without experiencing a night dive. And if you’re anything like I was, it may be a case of deliberately avoiding them!

Sunset

Night diving was something I never planned to do. If I’m honest, the thought of being submerged and having no idea what might be swimming towards me held no appeal at all.

And then one day a buddy arranged a night dive for me and uttered the immortal challenge “You’re not scared, are you?” Of course I wasn’t!

Correct weighting for divers

We’ve all faced the problem of changing one aspect of our kit and then finding our weight and trim is all wrong. It happened to me recently when I switched to a semi dry suit.

The other problem more experienced divers face is that they can easily compensate for being over or under weighted, but this can lead to excess air consumption, fatigue and less enjoyment on a dive.

So it seemed like a good time to re examine the correct way to set your weights up. The essence is to find the correct weight and then trim it so that you can move around underwater effortlessly.

Weight

PADI teaches that for correct buoyancy, you should be able to sit at the surface at eye level with no air in your BCD.

The mistake is that most people check this at the start of the dive, and it should be at the finish.

At the start, with a full cylinder, you should very slowly sink with no air in your BCD, and remembering to breathe through your regulator.

How to use a Surface Marker Buoy

A surface marker buoy, or SMB is an essential piece of kit for a diver, especially one who dives regularly from boats. As with any skill, using one should be regularly practiced, and as with all things diving, it isn’t as easy to deploy from 30 meters with gloves on as you think it’s going to be!

Buoy

If you’re carrying an SMB, always agree with your buddy on the procedure for deploying it prior to the dive and as part of the briefing. You should be adept at using the buoy yourself, but it is always easier with someone else’s help. If you’re intending to make it a two person job, agree clearly on the surface who is doing what.

Overcoming Diving Fear

All divers experience fear, and probably more often than they’d care to admit. From the sickening moment when you’re gear catches on something in a wreck to a full blown problem with a buddy, any of us who have dived a fair bit will have been through these situations.

Then there’s the fear that you experience when you first start to dive. Will you use your air too fast? Will I remember to do all the things I’m supposed to do? Where’s my buddy gone? On any dive, you have to be able to multi task, and in the early days this just doesn’t come naturally.

Scared Face

Boat Diving Skills for Scuba Divers

As a diver there is going to come a time when you dive from a boat. It could be a small RIB off Brighton, or a huge liveaboard in The Red Sea, either way the skills you’ll need are essentially the same.

The Secret of Buoyancy

I was reminded about the importance of good buoyancy recently, when I accompanied a bunch of try divers as a guide. It was their first experience diving in the ocean – we were only at 3 meters – and of course, their buoyancy was appalling! Most of them ended up bouncing along the seabed dragging themselves along with their hands, then putting too much air in their jackets and popping up towards the surface. Of course we were all there once.

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