Before heading straight into the do’s and don’ts of scuba diving, let us first discuss it a bit as one of the best underwater activities out there. This is where a diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus called a “scuba,” independent of surface supply. It has also been deemed as a sport for risk-takers. Unfortunately, the enjoyment that it brings is coupled with jeopardies, which are very obvious just by thinking of the ocean’s depth that it mischievously hides.
Before heading deep into the ocean, you must be prepared to ensure your overall safety. Just like in any other precarious undertaking, scuba diving has its list of do’s and don’ts that must be strictly followed, especially by beginners. Some of the top rules are compiled here, so make sure that you would take notes!
DO: INVEST IN A GOOD DIVING SCHOOL
Look for a quality school or training that would teach you about diving or just its basics if you are just a beginner. You could do so by researching, looking at reviews, as well as asking other people.
DO: BE PHYSICALLY FIT
Ensure that your body is ready to take in the pressure to deep down the sea. Your body should be warmed up before any diving activity. Your muscles would be challenged underwater and your flexibility too. If you dive in with a body that hasn’t been ever stretched at the least, it would be shocked by the effort it has to do down there. At the same time, once you go back up, you would suffer from muscle soreness.
DO: CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT
It is just logical to check your gears before diving. You want to make sure that everything is working properly and nothing has a defect. Bear in mind that your life depends on these gears. Some of the equipment you would be using are a mask, wetsuit or drysuit, scuba gloves, fins, scuba tank, regulator, depth gauge, submersible pressure gauge, compass, and dive computer.
Your mask would allow you to see underwater by creating an air space in front of your eyes. Also, if you have a large face, you will need different equipment like scuba masks for large faces, which will help you enjoy your diving even more. A wetsuit should be worn in warmer water in terms of suits, while a drysuit is for colder water. You have to know the nature of the water body or the area where you are diving and be ready by wearing the right suit.
DO: APPLY THE RULE OF THIRDS
According to this rule, a diver must allocate a third of his/her air supply for the downward journey, the other third for the return journey, and the last third for safety purposes. This is essential to guarantee that you won’t suffer from any accident underwater, and you could make it to the top again.
Now, the secret to being able to adhere to this rule is to ensure that you are breathing normally.
DO: MEMORIZE ALL THE BASIC HAND SIGNALS
Another priority in the list of do’s and don’ts of scuba diving is this. You would communicate with your diving pals through hand signals down there, so it is necessary for you to know the basics. You would all want clear communication once you are underwater. Now, just a side note: if you want to call your diving pal, you could make a noise by banging your tank.
DO: STICK TO OPEN AREAS
When you are already down there, stay in spaces where you have a full 360-degree view of your environment. If possible, these spaces should be a lot wide enough for you. This is especially important to beginners or divers who aren’t trained to go inside confined areas. Examples of such areas are caves, shipwrecks, and narrow trenches.
DO: BREATHE CONTINUOUSLY
Of course, you need to breathe! If you won’t, you would die! The excitement might be too much for you, but you need to regain focus. Remember that you have an oxygen tank that would support you. Also, don’t ever think that holding your breath would save up a lot of your stored oxygen! You would kill yourself.
DO: SLOW ASCENT
When the dive is done, you shouldn’t go upwards too fast. It is normal for the body to move fast to oxygen, but you need to calm down. It is because ascending rapidly might cause a hazardous build-up of nitrogen in your bloodstream and tissues. So relax as you are leaving the marine world behind you. Bask in the view of the sea’s biodiversity surrounding you. Continue your slow and steady breathing to avoid the said build-up as well as the decompression sickness.
DON’T: BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
Another important item in the list of do’s and don’ts of scuba diving is this one. When you are about to dive, you shouldn’t shy away from asking a professional or a guide about anything that is unclear to you or making you feel uneasy. Remember that you are saving all of you a lot of trouble if you voice some concerns early on. one question that I have always wanted to ask is: “Why do scuba divers dive backward?”. Check the article and learn the answer.
DON’T: EAT A BIG MEAL BEFORE DIVING
A very big meal would surprise your stomach, especially if you would then be exposed to the pressures under the sea. Don’t put your body under that kind of stress. Just eat a moderate amount of food. Drink enough water as well.
DON’T: DIVE ALONE
Never dive alone, especially if you are only an amateur. You always need to inform someone that you are going for a dive, and you should take a buddy with you and a professional diver. Besides, it is also more fun because you have someone to share the majestic view down the sea.
DON’T: DIVE WITHOUT SOMEONE STAYING UP THERE
Don’t ever dive without someone waiting for you upon the surface. There should always be someone who is on the lookout for safety purposes. And never forget the Diver Down Flag.
DON’T: DESCEND IN AN UNCONTROLLABLE FASHION
It would help if you went down gently to prevent ear equalization difficulty or exceeding maximum depth. This requires you to have control of your body and an excellent ability to focus.
DON’T: DIVE OUTSIDE YOUR LIMITS
Everyone has his/her limitations. In diving, you should be mindful of yours. If you have a certain condition that makes it unsafe for you to dive, then don’t. If you aren’t trained to go in narrower spaces, stay in the open where there is sunlight, and you could move freely. Inform your diving pals of whatever concern you have.
DON’T: MEDDLE WITH MARINE LIFE
Never touch a living thing down there or mess with their habitat. Just watch them. Always keep in mind that you are the visitor, so pay your respects. You might have the right intentions, and you are just in awe, but you could be destroying their habitat or hurting them directly just by touching. If there is no resident marine life expert down there with you and you aren’t educated about marine life, don’t touch anything.
If you come in contact with a dangerous marine animal, get the attention of your diving pals right away.
DON’T: TRASH THE PLAN
Every diving undertaking follows a designed plan made by a professional in the group. Everyone in the diving team must follow it; no ifs and buts. Wanderings that aren’t in the original plan shouldn’t be done. Any other thing that you would want to do down there that wasn’t part of the plan should be told, especially to the group’s professional.
If you experienced a problem with your gears if your feet got caught in something, if you couldn’t see anything, if you accidentally got in a cramped area, if you got a little behind, don’t panic. If you panic, you wouldn’t be able to think properly to fix your problem fast. Also, panicking would make your heart beat faster, which in turn would make you breathe abnormally. That would deplete your oxygen supply fast, and you wouldn’t want that, especially if you are already deep down the ocean.
It has been reported that a lot of diving casualties were brought by a sudden onset of panic, which wasn’t handled properly. So be mindful of your nerves. Don’t overthink down there.
Once again, these are the do’s and don’ts of scuba diving that must be considered by both amateur and professional divers. On the other hand, beginners should take extra precautions. Listening to advice from professionals would give a more satisfying experience and warrant the protection of their lives.
Scuba diving is an activity that is scary in nature, but it could always go smoothly if the standard protocol is followed. There are much more in-depth do’s and don’ts for this sport that deals more with movement techniques underwater, with other underwater gears, and much more. But if you follow through with this list and make sure you would abide by everything, you are good to go for the adventure waiting for you.
If you already dived successfully by following these do’s and don’ts, make sure to spread the word about safety underwater, especially to those who are thinking about trying scuba diving.
For reasons why you should definitely try scuba diving, read here.