You’ll Never Dive Alone
An important rule when scuba diving is always dive with a buddy. Put simply this makes diving safer, easier and much more fun. The teamwork begins before you even dip your fins into the water with the pre dive safety check. The pre dive safety check is the first thing you do once you are kitted up, whether it’s your first open water course dive or your 100th.
Every scuba diving instructor will have their own way of helping you remember the steps of the pre dive safety check with their own Acronym. The favourites on Koh Tao include Because We Really Are Fish, Bruce Willis Ruins All Films or a favourite with many Thai based dive centres; Bangkok Women Really Are Fellas.
Sometimes student divers will come up with new acronyms, in order to make it easier for them to remember the order in which to check their scuba equipment.
Here at Crystal Dive, Koh Tao we consider diver safety our number one priority. Therefore I thought it would be a good idea to go through one of the most basic safety procedures – the buddy check. This simple but effective check is first introduced during your open water course, when you will complete a buddy check at least 6 times, but it can become neglected and forgotten over time.
Why Do We Check?
It is your responsibility to assemble your equipment before going scuba diving and you should be happy that everything is OK and in good working order. Many things can happen to your equipment after you have assembled it so it’s a good idea to check one last time to make sure it is all functional.
Also (and just as important), you should be familiar with your buddy’s equipment. You are going to spend the next hour with this person in the water so you will need to know how to help them if an emergency arises.
Once you and your dive buddy have got kitted up you stand face to face with each other and make the check step by step. The idea is you check their equipment while they check yours:
Start by inflating and deflating each other’s BCD by using the low pressure inflator buttons, then check again by orally inflating to ensure it is functioning correctly.
Also familiarise yourself with your buddy’s BCD such as locating all quick release valves that are fitted to the jacket.
As we all know you can’t really go diving without weights so you need to ensure your buddy hasn’t made a schoolboy error by not wearing either the weight belt or their integrated weight pockets.
If they are wearing a belt, ensure it is a right hand release and fastened tight. For integrated weights check they are secure.
Here you should be checking all straps and velcro on the BCD are pulled tight and any clips are secure. This will ensure that you know how to quick release your buddy’s BCD but also provides your buddy a better fitting BCD.
Also make sure you turn your buddy around to check the tank straps are secure and make sure the top safety strap is fitted correctly.
Probably the most important part of the check is to ensure that the tank valve is open fully with a slight turn back, not just opened slightly.
After this, breathe from your own primary 2nd stage while watching your SPG, then breath from your buddy’s alternate air source again checking their SPG.
Check to ensure the needle on the SPG is not moving as any movement may indicate a problem with the tank or regulator.
5. Final OK
Help each other to get your masks and fins on then give each other one final glance over before giving each other a big PADI high 5. It’s time to get wet!
Check, Check ,Check
It’s essential you carry out a pre dive check before every dive. It only takes 2 minutes and could help prevent problems on your dive. And an added bonus – if diving with a new buddy it provides an opportunity to talk and get to know each other.
So remember to always Begin With Review And Friend before all of your scuba dives!
For people who are interested in how to fix any Scuba equipment, then you could consider taking the PADI Equipment specialist course. If you do experience any minor problems with your scuba equipment you will be able to fix them there and then meaning you won’t miss the dive. If the problem is a little bigger once you are back on dry land you can take the broken piece of equipment to a workshop and repair it.
Author: Neil Davidson (PADI MSDT #294100)