Tried and tested over the years, these 7 little changes will make a big difference to your scuba diving experiences:
Are you overweighted? Some divers are far too over-weighted and don’t even realise! Ask your local dive school / dive operator / an instructor or DM to help you work out your correct weighting. It will make the world of difference with regards to air consumption, comfort getting to the dive site (on a shore dive) and it’ll make your entire diving experience so much more enjoyable (and longer!).
I am sure every diver has felt stressed out or slightly panicky at some time during their years of diving. They might not all admit to it, but it’s not unusual. This might be caused by task overloading, a strong current, cold water, bad visibility, surge, a leaky mask or for no known reason. If you’re feeling stressed out and anxious or find yourself breathing erratically, take a moment to relax. Indicate to your buddy that you need to stop a moment. Stop and breathe. Breathe in-two-three; out-two-three and take time to fix what might be wrong, or bothering you. Collect your thoughts. Relax. Once you feel you have your breathing under control, you will feel more relaxed. And if you still feel uncomfortable, abort the dive in a safe manner (don’t forget your safety stop!).
Practice your buoyancy. Some people get this straight away, others take a little longer. Some have problems staying off the bottom, some find themselves going up to the surface all the time and others turn turtle… often! The only way to get it right is to practice – and practice a lot. You’ll be surprised how soon you’ll get it right, just by practising! Don’t be frightened to put air in your BCD to give yourself a bit of lift and don’t be frightened to dump air if you find yourself ascending when you shouldn’t be. You’ll soon get to know how long (or how short) you need to press the ‘inflate’ button and you’ll also learn how much air to let out. Buy your own BCD – or rent the same BCD if you can – as familiarity makes things so much easier.
Invest in a couple of clips and keep the clips in the same place on your BCD. Don’t keep swapping them to different places if they work where they are. Clip your gauge so that the hose runs under your left arm and snugly across your body and clips on the right hand side of your BCD and if your BCD does not have an octo pocket, tuck it under your right arm, run it across the front of you and clip it securely to the left hand side of your BDC. Always clip your octo over your gauges so that you can unclip it easily, without it being caught under the gauge hose. There is nothing worse than hoses that are flying loose – not only can they damage the environment, this is a sure way to damage your gear and if they’re clipped up, you will know when to find them at all times!
Keep it Simple! Try to keep your extras to a minimum and keep your gear neatly tucked against you – attach your torch to a D ring and keep it in your BCD pocket if you aren’t using it. Clip your SMB and reel securely to your BCD so that it doesn’t get in the way or flap around or unravel whilst you are diving. Invest in a small knife that attaches to your BCD – it won’t get in your way and this is far better than having one strapped to your calf that can get tangled up in kelp.
Know Your Limits:
Dive within your limits – don’t go diving in conditions you are not used to or in conditions you don’t feel comfortable with, especially when you start out diving. There will be lots of time to dive in big swells and currents when you are more experienced! And if you are not comfortable diving with the group of divers you have been invited to go diving with, give it a skip. Some people will push the envelope more than you might feel comfortable with and expect you to do the same. This is when accidents can happen.
Practice your mask clearing and regulator retrieval. And practice often. These skills need to become second nature, so that you don’t have to think about clearing your mask when it gets knocked across your face or retrieving and replacing a regulator that gets pulled out of your mouth by another diver who gets to close and hits you with their hand or a fin (yes, it happens!). Practice makes perfect and knowing you can handle minor mishaps like this will also make your diving more enjoyable.
Just a few simple tweaks can really make a difference to your diving experience – and set you up for more relaxed and enjoyable diving in the future! If you need assistance with weighting, or want to do a refresher before you get back into the water, give us a call – we’re here to help!