If you’re a beginner diver or an experienced diver you may wonder sometimes what steps to take to prepare for a dive. Whether it is a simple shallow reef dive out to Molasses Reef or a technical dive out to the Northern Light, you may wonder what step you might be missing. We’ve all done it… left our wetsuit at the dock, forgot your dive light or computer on the charger or even just before your giant stride you find that your fin strap has just snapped! Oh NO! Preparation may have been your saving grace! Here are some steps you can follow on how to prepare for a dive:
You’ve already planned your destination! You’re looking out of your back door to the crystal clear waters of the Florida Keys! The sun is shinning and you are ready to dive! You’ve got your water bottle so you can stay hydrated and you’ve maintained a healthy lifestyle so you can do what you do best, Dive!
Do you have your certification card?
Every dive shop (if they are a good one) will ask to see your certification card. You remember the card; you were so excited to receive it in the mail! That’s the one! It’s not hard to keep that in your wallet or at the very least snap a photo of it and keep it in the photo library on your phone (you’ll never forget your phone). Being prepared and having this card will make your check-in process very smooth. Without this card you may come across some problems. Yes, most dive shops have access to “look you up in the system” but, what if Internet is down? What then? No card, no dive! Long story short…. Keep your card in your wallet.
When did you dive last? Do you feel your skills are up to date? Do you feel comfortable handling any diving situation that may arise? Will you be a good buddy?
Sometimes after long periods of not doing something, you may forget key steps to making sure that experience is memorable and safe. If you do feel you could use a review then think about enrolling in a SCUBA Refresher course. You can do this at Horizon Divers with us or most local dive shops offer a pool refresher! If you can’t remember how to put your gear together, you are not ready to dive!
Do you have all of your gear from head to foot?
Take a mental checklist of everything you could possibly need for your dive from head to foot. Do you have your mask, snorkel, BCD, regulator, wetsuit, booties, fins, dive computer, SMB, reel, light, etc.? Check your inventory before the boat leaves the dock! Maybe consider building a “Save-a-Dive” kit that includes spare parts; fins straps, tools, mouthpieces, etc. You don’t want to be the diver shivering underwater because your wetsuit is hanging in the sun at the dock drying for your next dive! BURR!
LISTEN to the dive and safety briefings!
As a diver, snorkeler or rider on the boat, you will learn valuable information from these briefings. Don’t assume you know what the captain, crew and divemaster will tell you. Many questions can be answered by just listening. Where are the weights and weight belts? Is there a bathroom onboard? What to do in case of an emergency? What are the entry and exit procedures? ETC.
You always hear, “Communication is key to life!” Communicate with your buddy on the dive plan.
What IS the plan? Depth? Who’s leading? Once you’re underwater, communication can be a little tricky. Yes, it’s easy to say, “OMG look at that giant shark behind you!” I mean, I’m practically screaming through my regulator in that situation. The point I’m trying to make is make sure you and your buddy know the scoop? Are you swimming outside the wreck only, or do you plan to penetrate the wreck? These things are better-discussed topside then underwater. As a technical diver, be sure to keep your captain in the loop too! They need to know your run time and when to expect you back!
Be safe and have FUN!
Diving is supposed to be fun! If you’re not having fun then something probably isn’t quite right. See what you can do to change that; consider continuing your education or fine-tuning what you already know by taking a specialty course to feel more confident with your skills! I don’t know about you, but when I’m underwater with a school of hammerheads or my favorite teeny-weeny juvenile trunkfish I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders! Ironic, as I am several atmospheres under pressure!