Marine life is fascinating! What you see above the water represents just the tip of the iceberg and there’s a whole new world altogether beneath. And exploring that world, being face to face with it, is an experience that’s cherishable for a lifetime. That’s why you scuba dive! But there are certain measures you need to keep in mind to discover this world carefree. Here are some scuba diving safety tips for you to follow.
This is the most important safety tip before you begin your scuba diving venture. You need to go through a well-rated and recognized dive school to learn the fundamentals of diving. So use the power of the internet to check for qualified diving schools. Look up forums, reviews, and social media pages. But most importantly, ensure the diving school is affiliated with a recognized diving agency. The two most common diving agencies are:
Keep in mind the quality of the diving instructors too. Only certified dive instructors are allowed to take amateur divers underwater. Other divers such as open water divers and rescue divers are not certified to be instructors to take you underwater. Make sure to ask for your instructor’s credentials before booking a slot with the school.
Also read: Experiencing Scuba Diving In The Andamans
Just as fitness matters for any other sport, scuba diving requires the same amount of physical endurance and mental stability. True, once you're underwater, the exercise is pretty relaxing where you can just paddle your way in between reefs. But the strenuous part lies in those long surface swims, carrying the gear on your back, and diving through strong currents. That’s when your physical ability will be put to the test.
Not being physically fit will lead to overexertion, which then leads to inhaling more air, leading to a snowball of complications. And you don’t want a whole myriad of problems happening as handling strenuous situations underwater is much different than handling them on a land-based activity.
Before you plan on scuba diving, visit your physician and get a physical examination done to determine if you’re fit. If you’re just recovering from a cold or surgery, heal completely before you choose to scuba dive. Doing these things will limit the chances of you sleeping with the fishes!
P.S - Stay away from alcohol or any substance the night before. You need the focus and alertness of a White Shark for scuba diving.
Also read: 7 Most Adventurous Cities In India To Visit For A Thrilling Vacation
Once you're underwater, you’re entirely dependent on your scuba equipment. So don’t be lazy in skipping this step. Check whether you have access to the dump valves of your BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) and if it’s not entangled in any other gear. Failure to do this might result in struggling to gain control underwater. Ensure that your tank band is securely strapped onto the cylinder; you don’t want to see your diving cylinder departing once you’re underwater.
If you’re diving with a companion, do a thorough buddy check where you will see that your buddy’s scuba gear is in order and vice versa. Also, if you have to report to the diving deck at a certain time, please don’t arrive late. There’s a chance of you forgetting equipment in the process of hurrying. In other words, don’t keep the group and your diving instructor waiting.
Also read: Adventure Sports In Sikkim
It may come naturally to hold your breath, but you need to be conscious of this step. The first rule they teach at dive school is not to hold your breath when underwater. Doing so will result in life-threatening fatalities and you don’t want to put yourself in that position.
There’s science behind that reason. When a diver dives underwater, the more the pressure increases and thus the pressure on your lungs also increases. For air to escape, the diver needs to breathe normally, negating potential problems that could occur due to lung contraction. On the other hand, if a diver doesn’t breathe, the contraction will damage the lung linings and will injure the organ.
A condition called pulmonary barotrauma develops when the lungs are injured due to such excess pressure. In severe cases, air bubbles begin to develop in the bloodstream, leading to arterial gas embolism. But don’t worry, these conditions can be avoided easily; just remember to breathe.
Offbeat tip: Add Nicole Scherzinger’s “Don't Hold Your Breath” to your playlist and listen to it while you’re driving to the dive deck; you’ll be fine.
Also read: 7 Best Camping Sites In South India
Scuba diving involves a lot of physics. The more you understand this science, the better your dive will be. There’s pressure when you go underwater due to its weight. As you dive deeper underwater, the pressure increases, in turn causing your eardrums to stretch inwards. This creates a sort of compression, resulting in discomfort.
The most common technique to combat this is pinching your nose and blowing hard through your nostrils. This will release some of that pressure and will make you feel comfortable. However, this is just one of the many techniques used to equalize pressure. Some more proficient ones are:
Practice these techniques thoroughly and then scuba dive. On the other hand, if you feel any pain while descending. Stop immediately. Ascend a few meters, equalize and then start again.
Also read: 11 Adventure Activities To Do In India
You had fun. You enjoyed the offerings of the marine world, and now it’s time to go home. Now where ascending is concerned, you need to be careful and ascend as slowly as possible. The slower it is, the safer you’ll be.
To ensure that you’re not ascending too quickly, use a dive computer or depth gauge to determine the pace. It’s said by many professionals that 60 ft per minute is the ideal rate you should go at for more than 60 ft of depth. Similarly, your ascent rate should be 30 ft per minute for depths less than 60 ft.
However, if your ascent rate is higher than what is recommended, air bubbles might form in your bloodstream and cause decompression sickness, resulting in fatigue. To prevent that, keep your ascent rate in check. Period.
Also read: 8 Fun Treks In Northeast India
Scuba diving involves proper air supply management and divers follow the rule of thirds for this. What you have to do is basically designate the amount of oxygen required to complete the dive. Divers follow this rule by allocating a third of their air for descending, a third for their ascent, and a third as standby. This is a general rule of thumb and it’s something you should stick by as well.
Moreover, you should also factor in situations where there’s a slow ascent or where you have to take a small stop. If you’re diving with your friend, think about their needs as well. What if they run out of oxygen? Will you have enough to share some? Keep these potential scenarios in mind and plan effectively.
Also read: 7 Fun Things To Do In Andaman And Nicobar Island
This safety tip and the rule of thirds work hand-in-hand. You might wonder why this point is on the list, but you never know the number of people who have neglected this commandment. After all, scuba diving is about air management too and if not done properly, your ascent will be haphazard, resulting in arising complications.
Be in constant communication with your diving instructor or dive buddy concerning this tip. If you feel you h ave spent more oxygen than you calculated, it’s your responsibility to inform the instructor so that you can plan your ascent accordingly.
Also read: 10 Luxury Hotels In Andaman
To sum up this point concisely, we’ll say, “don’t bite off more than you can chew.” You could get a bit enthusiastic about doing advanced dives such as a cave dive. But those require a separate base of skill set altogether. If you feel that your capabilities don't match the dive you want to go to, play safe and sit that one out; it’s not worth the risk.
Recreational diving has an upper limit of 130 ft, so try to search for dives within that limit. Also, don’t succumb to peer pressure if you’re uncomfortable. Make a stand and decide for yourself.
Also read: 9 Best Beachside Hotels And Resorts In Andaman
This tip goes without saying! You need to take your time and properly plan what you want. Decide on the depth you want to dive, the time, and the company you choose to dive with. Familiarize yourself with safety procedures, air equalizing techniques, and the diving school you choose.
As far as possible, dive with an instructor so that someone’s there to watch out for you and vice versa. If you’re experienced and prefer diving by yourself, scout the location beforehand, research it, and check the climatic conditions best suited to dive. Also, ensure that you’re well equipped to find your way to the exit point.
Also read: 5 Islands To Visit In India
India is blessed to have ample scuba diving sites. The most famous of all are the coral reefs at the Andamans and Lakshadweep. And diving locations in India expand to west coast destinations such as Goa and Malvan, while the southern tip has Murudeshwar & Netrani Island, Kovalam, and Kochi. However, the eastern coast has just one scuba diving site and that is in serene Pondicherry.
Have Scuba Dooper Dive!
Now since we have gone through some of the most effective scuba diving safety tips, we hope that you keep them in mind before and while diving. So enjoy yourself! Explore the mysteries of the earth underwater; it’ll open your mind.
What Is The Most Important Rule In Scuba Diving?
The most important rule is not to hold your breath while diving. This will cause your lungs to contract and form air bubbles in your bloodstream, resulting in pulmonary barotrauma.
How Safe Is Scuba Diving For Beginners?As long as you know the type of dive you want, safety protocols, and your training, diving is extremely safe for beginners.
What's The Most Common Diving Related Injury?
Ear barotrauma is the most common diving-related injury. It primarily arises when ear pressure is not equalized properly.
When Should You Not Dive?
You should not dive if you have a heart condition, a chronic cold, asthma, or epilepsy.
What Happens If You Come Up Too Fast Scuba Diving?
The nitrogen present in the bloodstream will form bubbles, in turn damaging the tissues and nerves. In certain cases, this can even lead to death or paralysis.
Should You Eat Before Scuba Diving?
You should avoid eating heartily before diving. You don’t want to get stomach cramps and throw up when the sea is rough. On the contrary, hydrate yourself well.
Can I Drink Alcohol Before Diving?
It’s better to avoid drinking the night before your dive before diving with a hangover is dangerous. Also, you need to be hydrated before diving and since alcohol causes dehydration, it’s better to avoid touching a Budweiser.
Can You Dive If You're A Smoker?
You can dive if you smoke, but it’s better to get a lung function test and an x-ray beforehand. Just to ensure that you’re fit enough to dive.