Diving safe can keep you alive and also increase your chances at a successful hunt. So here are my seven tips for a safe affective day out diving.
Always use the buddy system. Having someone that is watching your back is a huge help. Not only can your buddy safe your life should an issue occur, but they can also be another set of eyes looking out for fish. Dive partners can allow to increase your dive time just by being next to you. Let's face it, it's easier to relax knowing that someone is there watching over you while you are holding your breath.
Notify friends or family members of your dive plan. Tell your friends or family the plan of the day. Where you are going to be diving, with who, what is your ETA for your return, and any contact information necessary to help in the rescue if needed.
Know the Signs and symptoms of a shallow water black out and know how to deal with a SWB. Additionally, you should be familiar with the signs and symptoms of a loss of motor control (LMC). A LMC usually occurs just before a shallow water blackout and you should also know what that looks like when a diver is experiencing it. This rule may seem pretty obvious because it can save you or your buddies life, but I continue to see divers clueless about these two things.
Check the ocean conditions. Too many times I’ve seen people literally message on Facebook is anybody diving tomorrow and my whole thing was like did you check the forecast at all, there’s like 10 foot waves and 20 knot winds. Checking the conditions can include everything from tides and tidal change, to winds and waves. Understand that these things can dictate your possible diving entry and exit points.
Line Management. Swim up current if possible when fighting fish. You do not want to be in one spot pulling up line or float line around you. This is a recipe for entanglement and possible drowning. If you were to remain stationary, the slack in the line would build up around you and increase the likelihood of entanglement. Swimming up current while taking in line, The slack in the line will drift out behind you instead of around you.
Plan your dive with your dive buddy accordingly. Now that we have communicated with our family what the dive plan is, its time for us to communicate with our buddy what our dive day will look like and how we are going to handle things if a emergency happens to arise. So have your emergency procedures already in place. Discuss with your buddy how long a typical dive is for them and how deep they are comfortable with hunting. Also, discuss what your plan is if you get separated and can't find each other. Be sure to have an alternate phone number for their significant other in order to notify someone on your buddies behave that are missing.
Be properly weighted. Being improperly weighted can effect everything from increasing your chances of a shallow water blackout to decreasing your chances of shooting a fish. So my basic rule for being weighted is to have enough weight to sync your wetsuit plus a little bit extra to compensate for your body composition buoyancy. You should be able to breathe comfortably without kicking to stay on the surface. When you exhale slightly you should float right about your eye level. Being waited too heavy will significantly reduce your ability to relax and prepare for a dive as well as making ascending more difficult thus increasing the chances of a shallow water black out. Being too light will cause you to have to work too hard to even get down and stay still. This will spook fish and just make it more difficult to hunt.
Follow these seven rules to make diving safer and more productive for you. If you want to learn more enroll in a free online spearfishing course below.