Tips for experienced and/or refresher divers

Be a safe diver!

As in downhill skiing, there are inherent risks to scuba diving. Your Scuba Diver training introduces you to those risks and teaches you the ways to minimize them. This handout reviews important safe diving practices – review it often, but remember there’s no substitute for continuing education to increase your safety!

1. Always Breathe Continuously on Scuba

  • Never hold your breath or “skip breathe.”
  • Breathing on scuba is slower and deeper than breathing air on land.

2. Clear Early and Often

  • Ear injuries are commonly caused by diving while congested or waiting too long to equalize.
  • On descent, equalize your ears before you feel pain or discomfort.
  • If you cannot equalize, ascend slowly and try again, gently. If you still cannot equalize you cannot dive.

3. Oxygen First in a Diving Emergency

  • Whenever a diver has a suspected pressure related injury, provide 100% oxygen until
  • instructed to do otherwise.
  • Get help from local emergency response and call DAN.
  • Do not re-enter the water to attempt recompression.
  • Take rescue and first aid training.

4. Continue your Education

  • Diving is fun and so is continuing education! Be trained by a certified underwater instructor and continue your training by taking advanced, rescue and other specialty courses.
  • Do not participate in or promote diving by uncertified or undercertified people. If you assume you are an instructor, you will assume a lot more – such as liability.

5. Consider Conditioning

  • Maintain good physical and mental conditioning.
  • Dive only within your conditioning, training, & experience.
  • Dehydration & recent alcohol consumption increase your risk of decompression illness.

6. Maintain Your Equipment

  • Purchase the best quality equipment you can afford and take care of it.
  • Use well maintained equipment appropriate for your diving conditions.
  • Check your equipment before each dive, and rinse in fresh water after diving.
  • Meet or exceed the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

7. Plan Your Dive…

  • With planning and communication, safe dive buddies avoid most common diving accidents.
  • Before entering the water, review your plan, including signals and emergency and lost buddy procedures.
  • In unfamiliar areas, get an orientation from local dive professionals.
  • Use surface marker buoys and ascent/descent lines wherever appropriate.
  • It’s never too late to cancel a dive!

8. …and Dive Your Plan.

  • In any emergency or stressful situation: STOP – BREATH – THINK – then take action.
  • Control your buoyancy to make diving easy on you and the environment.

9. Do Not Push the Tables (or your Computer)

  • Dive computers and tables are designed for a hypothetical diver on a hypothetical dive; your specific conditions will be different.
  • Diving “within the limits” will not guarantee against a decompression illness, especially when you approach the limits of table or computer.
  • At the end of your dive perform always a safety stop at 5 meters for 3 minutes.
  • Ascend no quicker than 18 meters/min; slower after your safety stop.
  • Avoid “saw tooth” diving. Make the deepest dive of each day first, and the deepest part of each dive first. Make one ascent per dive.
  • Flying and driving to high altitudes shortly after diving is risky.

10. Log Your Dives

  • It’s fun: remember your dives, buddies, and what you observed.
  • It’s necessary: show your experience at dive operations worldwide and for advanced certifications.
  • Recent logged experience opens the doors to special dives and often avoids the expense of a required “check out” or “refresher” dive.

11. Flying considerations.

  • For a single dive a minimum or 12 hours.
  • For multiple dives a minimum of 18 hours.
  • Plan to dive early in your vacation to allow yourself time to do more if you wish.