Over the course of the past year and a half, we have had the opportunity to dive with some wonderful people from all over the place. We’ve also been to a variety of dive sites from freshwater quarries, to cave mouths, to the Tongue of the Atlantic. It’s been fantastic. But we’ve made it our mission to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly so we can learn from it. As you know already, they can’t all be gems. Sometimes it’s things you can’t control. Here are some things you can.
Never assume anything. Never be sure about something you haven’t seen or experienced and even then, be wary. We felt this topic needed some discussion. The first couple times we dove with other divers, usually locals, we assumed they knew their dive sites. We figured they’d know how to get there and back, what to expect, average visibility, distance to the site, etc. In reality though, we’ve seen people lose their buddies. They’ve gotten lost. They didn’t know how to use a compass. Maybe they’re doing some unsafe things. Don’t assume things about other divers. Most folks only do 10 dives a year. Trust your own skills. If things go sideways, you’re going to be the one those divers are looking to for help.
The key here is to work on you. Practice. Know what you can and can’t do. Get your compass navigation down. Practice your buddy breathing, mask clearing, and emergency skills. Go over your dive plans a couple more times.
Diving accidents happen when the small stuff is overlooked. Do your buddy checks. Sharpen the skills. If it’s a skill you don’t like, then you really need to do it. You will be a better and safer diver because of it.
Another thing that’s been on our minds recently is making assumptions about gear. We dive a lot. Most of the time, things go to plan and everything just works as it should. And it will until it doesn’t. Practice your skills. Check over your gear before each dive. Get your regs serviced and your tanks inspected like you should. It costs money and time but it is your life support gear after all. Treat it that way!
Lastly, don’t be a snob. Ego kills in diving. And ego is human nature. We all have to work on it. But we have our fair share of it in dive industry and community. Remember to learn something from everyone. Even if you’re experienced and have 90,000 dives and have been teaching for 47 years and eat deco dives for breakfast, please don’t be a snob. That goes for safety snobbery too. Be respectful of other divers. They may be doing something unsafe because they weren’t trained appropriately. They could be new. They possibly haven’t been diving in years. They could dive all the time and are just having a bad day. Maybe they are just nervous on their first boat dive. We’re all here for the same thing y’all. A gentle reminder will do. Be excellent to each other.