Safe diving practices should be at the forefront of all dives and should be practiced until they become habits. Learning about dangerous situations and learning how to mitigate those risks are invaluable skills for all divers. For the best diving experience, you have to plan and prepare before the plunge. Regarding safety, every dive is the first dive, and every time safety procedures must be followed. There is nothing wrong with saying “I’ve never done this” or “I’ve never used this piece of equipment before and I need your help”.
Safety Tips for All Divers
Be involved with dive planning
Planning for your dive is the first step in staying safe. Do your research: find out all you can about your destination and find trustworthy local dive stores, dive professionals, and buddies.
- Continue your diving education
- Find a dive buddy, and get to know him/her
- Find a local professional dive store
- Update your CPR and First Aid Skills
Equip Yourself Properly
Your equipment is your lifeline underwater. Ensuring that your gear is maintained and working properly is crucial to a safe dive.
- Inspect your gear before every dive and review your safety equipment
- Make sure gear is easy to use, adjustable, and suitable for the type of diving you plan on doing
- Rent only familiar gear and make sure you know how to use it
- Use a pre-dive checklist
Skills to Practice Before Diving
Skills such as equalizing, mask clearing, and hand signals are almost second nature to most divers. However, it is always good practice to practice your skills before diving.
- Adjusting weight and gear fit; removing and replacing weight systems
- Deploying and stowing new gear (e.g. Deploying a Surface Marker Buoy)
- Reviewing your dive computer
- Reviewing out-of-air procedures with your buddy
Before you get in the water, it is always a good idea to double check your equipment and work with your buddy and/or divemaster to plan every aspect of your dive.
- Get any unclear instructions explained
- Become familiar with the dive site and exit/entry points
- Have an EAP (Emergency Action Plan) ready
- Determine when/how you will end the dive with your buddy
Manage Your Air
During every dive, managing and monitoring your air by keeping an eye on your gauge regularly is one of the best things you can do to stay safe.
- Ensure you have enough air for your dive (i.e. leave enough air for the return, ½ or 1/3 rule)
- Verify air is turned on before dive
- While diving, check your air gauge regularly
- Make a complete stop (safety or decompression) with at least 500 psi/35 bar remaining
Be a Prepared Diver (Click to read)
Most divers don’t plan to run out of air or make an uncontrolled ascent, but there are common, preventable mistakes that lead up to these emergencies. DAN’s Prepared Diver Course is based upon real-life dive accidents and uses engaging video modules to help diver learn more about the science of diving so they can make informed decisions and minimize risk.
The five most common scuba diving accidents are preventable. That’s why Divers Alert Network (DAN) created the Prepared Diver Course.
The Prepared Diver Course is an informative and engaging video-based program for students and new divers, or divers that are refreshing their skills, that details proper diving behaviors and safe diving procedures. A complement to the entry-level certification, and refreshers, this course offers insight into the science behind fundamental diving skills and highlights best practices vital to making good diving decisions.
Respect your Limits
Increase your awareness of the tangible and intangible limitations that divers face before every dive including environmental, physical and physiological issues.
Be Aware of Your Air
Clearly understand the importance of having sufficient air and learn to consider the factors such as currents, workload and weighting when planning a dive.
Listen to your Ears
Learn about how pressure at depth affects your ears and how to avoid ear injuries.
Maintain Good Buoyancy
Discover the factors that affect buoyancy and learn how to establish optimal weighting.
Control Your Ascents
Explore the physics affecting safe ascents in several types of dive environments and how to ascend properly in each one.
Bonus Content: Assume Responsibility
As a diver, you are ultimately responsible for the decisions you make. Take responsibility and learn about the issues you must pay attention to and the questions you should ask.
The full prepared diver courses are available to divers through DAN eLearning.