With the COVID-19 virus hitting countries all over the world, it has left a large majority of divers unable to get in the water (myself included). As the weeks go on, the draw of the underwater world is getting stronger and stronger.
As difficult as these times are it is giving us a perfect time to get things done that we don’t always seem to have time to do.
Diving is much more than just being underwater, don’t get me wrong being underwater is the best bit about diving. Diving is a collection of components that when put together make for the amazing sport that we all love.
So what are some of these components?
If we break apart the sport of diving we can categorise it into the Planning, Preparation, Execution and Debriefing stages. Each of these stages has multiple components attached to them that allow us to complete a safe and enjoyable dive. Most of the components in these stages are aspects that we must complete every time we go diving such as equipment checks, dive plans, buddy checks etc.
What are some components of diving that get overlooked when diver claim they are ‘too busy’ and now have the perfect time to catch up on?
1. Equipment Maintenance
All divers know that we need to maintain and care for all our diving equipment after and during use as it is what keeps up alive and enjoying our time underwater.
But when was the last time you got your equipment serviced? Or even just gave your equipment a bit more of a deeper clean to show your gear just how much you love it.
Firstly, I am not telling you to go ahead and service your equipment without proper training and equipment. Remember all equipment we use for Scuba diving is life support equipment and needs to be serviced by a professional and qualified technician to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Get in contact with your local dive centre and organise getting your equipment serviced now while you can’t go diving.
Now is the perfect time for you to learn more about your equipment, you can sign up for your ‘Equipment Specialist’ course with your local dive centre or local instructor. (You will need to organise with them the best way they feel they could complete the practical sessions with you).
You can also check out my ‘equipment troubleshooting videos’ which I will be releasing over the next few days.
2. Equipment Adjustments
Far too many times have I had students or guided divers come out with me and say “I was going to get around to changing that” or “Oh yeah I had thought about moving ………. , but I never got around to it.”
Now you have no excuse, getting your dive gear set up properly for you is one of those key components that gets looked over by far too many divers.
Having equipment that fits is configured properly and is appropriate for the type of diving you are doing is a necessity and one of the most time-consuming aspects of a course for an instructor. If you are unsure of the best way to set up your equipment then get in contact with an instructor that has the experience in the type of diving you are planning to do.
3. Equipment Log
Let’s be honest, who can put their hand up and say they have a logbook of all of their diving equipment? Some of you might be thinking to yourself, why do I need to keep a log?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
We keep logs for all other important parts of our lives such as the car, boats, compressors, etc. so that we have a record of what has been done to them throughout their life, why not have one for the equipment that keeps us breathing while we are underwater?
It doesn’t need to be a massively in-depth report every time you use your equipment but a log that keeps track of service history, who serviced the equipment, if you had any problems with your equipment during a dive and date. This information can then be kept as a record that can be passed onto anyone you might sell your equipment to (if you ever do).
4. Emergency Plan
When was the last time you looked over and refreshed yourself on your emergency plan and procedures?
Most of us don’t live in the same house as our dive buddies so why not organise a Facetime call with them, grab a beer and refresh yourselves on your emergency plan and update it where needed. I am sure you have done plenty of diving since you created your plan so you are now more knowledgeable about the type of diving you are doing and could have a better way to execute your plan now.
Don’t have an emergency plan or procedures in place? Why not? You’ve got a great opportunity now to create one.
Many divers get complacent when it comes to their safety and their emergency plans because ‘We dived together loads before’ or ‘I’ve done this site 1000’s of times’. When an emergency occurs your brain goes into survival mode which causes you to deal with the situation the best way you can at that time, while you have hundreds of other things going through your head. By creating an emergency plan and emergency procedures that you use constantly with your buddy and is practised when not in an emergency situation helps you to mitigate any added problems during an emergency.
No matter what level of diver you are you should know what the emergency plan is for a dive, whether you are on a guided dive, diving with your dive buddy or diving with an instructor. The safety of yourself and the divers with you should always be at the forefront of your mind.
5. Skills Practise
Although we aren’t able to get in the water and practise our skills there, we still have plenty we can practise on land.
This is a great opportunity to increase your proficiency with your skills such as mask removal and replacement, regulator switching, locating and stowing equipment in your pockets, clipping onto your d-rings, and shut down drills. You can work on all of these skills without having to worry about your buoyancy while you’re out of the water.
Work on getting these skills passed your current level of proficiency by:
- Practising doing mask removal and replacement 1 handed
- Switching between your regulator for out of air scenarios or regulator failure scenarios one-handed and without looking for the new reg
- Locating and stowing equipment in your pockets without having to look down at your pocket to find what you’re looking for
- Clipping onto your d-rings 1 handed and without looking for the D-ring
- Being able to do a shutdown drill as proficiently and quickly as possible.
I hope these can keep you busy during the lockdown period wherever you are in the world and fingers crossed we will all be able to start blowing bubbles underwater again soon!
By Sam Bennett
Technical Diving Instructor