Scuba diving is a sport and form of recreation in which participants breathe compressed gas underwater via a scuba system, such as an open-circuit compressed air tank or a closed-circuit rebreather. Scuba divers carry their own source of breathing gas, usually compressed air but sometimes a combination of oxygen, nitrogen, helium, and/or hydrogen depending on the depth and duration of the dive.
Scuba diving may be done recreationally or professionally in a number of applications, including scientific, military, and public safety roles, but most commercial diving uses surface supplied equipment because it is safer and more cost-effective to supply breathing gas to the diver than to provide a self-contained breathing apparatus.
1. Never dive alone
There are risks involved with diving that are present whether you are by yourself or being assisted by a buddy. There are also legal obligations that divers have to abide by when scuba diving. These laws require that there be at least two divers and that they be within a certain range of each other. Even if you are diving on your own, it is important to let your family or friends know where you are going when you are expected to return, and any details of the planned dive.
2. Suit up properly
Diving equipment is bulky and cumbersome, so it is important to have a plan before entering the water. It’s also important to ensure that all your equipment functions properly before you enter the water. This means checking gauges, regulators, tanks, etc., doing pre-dive safety checks of your gear on dry land, and planning out your dive beforehand.
3. Make a plan for diving
As with most any activity involving risk, preparation can reduce the danger that’s involved with diving. It is important to remain flexible in the water though and be aware of conditions and how they might affect your safety during a dive. This includes factors like tides, currents, weather, and the condition of your equipment.
4. Do complete a buddy check before entering the water
Before getting into the water it’s important to go over all your dive equipment with your dive buddy. This includes checking for proper function, tightness, and proper attachment or assembly of everything from regulators and gauges to mask straps and wet suits.
5. Learn to communicate underwater
Situational awareness is key to diving safety, and it can be easy to lose track of the other divers in your group if there are more than two or three of you. Dive leaders should be familiar with both hand signals and line signals, which are basically specific gestures or movements underwater that correspond with specific events or situations.
6. Stay in a visible range while diving
It’s important to remain aware of your surroundings at all times, even during a simple recreational dive. While you may be used to acting independently while diving, it is best practice to stay within eyesight of the other divers in your group. This ensures that everyone stays safe and no one is accidentally left behind or swept away from the dive site.
7. Always keep an eye on surroundings
You may have been diving before, but every spot has its own unique characteristics and potential hazards. Be aware of what the surroundings look like and note any dead or discolored fish in the area. Also look for any disturbances on the surface of the water, such as birds diving into water or dark patches that indicate a possible oil leak.
8. Watch out for currents, steep drops, or obstacles
If you are diving in an open body of water like a lake then it’s important to be aware of currents. If you are diving in a cave or deep hole then it is also important to watch out for steep drop-offs or obstacles underwater. Being aware of your surroundings can help prevent injury or death while scuba diving.
9. Learn to measure depth and remaining time before you go
One of the most important rules of scuba diving safety is to monitor your depth and time underwater. This helps divers avoid decompression sickness, which can be a risk if a diver ascends too quickly or stays down too deep for a long time.
10. Ascend slowly and make stops along the way to adjust
It’s important to ascend slowly in order to avoid decompression sickness. If you notice anything unusual, such as an increase in pain or the appearance of a rash while ascending then it’s best to stop and adjust your ascent speed accordingly.
11. Be aware of your limitations and not push the envelope
Each diver has his or her own limitations when it comes to scuba diving. It’s important to stay within your limits with all aspects of the sport, including depth and time. Diving safety is about knowing oneself and staying in control at all times.
12. Remember that there are risks involved in scuba diving
Even though you make safety a priority while scuba diving, it is still a good idea to remember that there are risks involved in the sport. Accidents can happen even when you make all the right choices and stay within your limits. Do not push yourself beyond your limits and continue to respect the underwater environment.
13. Use a buddy system and dive with a partner who is knowledgeable
It’s important to find a dive buddy that shares your passion for diving, but it is even more vital that you work with someone who has their head on straight about scuba diving safety. There should always be a designated leader in the group and each buddy should have a thorough understanding of all standard dive procedures.
14. You are responsible for your own actions underwater
Each diver is responsible for his or her own actions when scuba diving, so it’s important to know what you’re doing when you are in the water. If you have any questions about scuba diving safety then do not hesitate to ask for help.
15. Observe the environmental conditions
Be conscious of changes in weather, wildlife, or environmental factors while diving, and always avoid disturbing underwater habitats. This will keep the local ecosystem safe for everyone.
16. Have an emergency plan in case of an accident
Accidents can happen at any time, so it is important to come up with a detailed emergency plan to follow in the event of an accident. When something goes wrong underwater you could be fighting for your life, so these plans need to be thorough and accurate.
17. Pay attention to hazardous marine life
Marine life and hidden obstacles lie beneath the water’s surface, so it is important to be mindful of what you might encounter while diving. You also need to be on the lookout for garbage and other debris that human activity has left behind in local waters.
18. Wear the proper equipment during each dive
There are certain pieces of gear that are necessary for divers to use while diving, including a scuba tank, BCD and regulator, weight system, and wetsuit. Not having the right equipment could end in injury or death, so it is important to make sure you have all the necessary pieces before getting in the water.
19. Plan for achievable goals
It is important to know what you want from a scuba diving experience before jumping in the water. If you’re looking for relaxation then it might not be wise to choose an advanced dive location, but if you are just starting out as a diver then you might want to go with a simpler location.
20. Dive as part of a supervised group
Scuba diving is fun and relaxing, but it can also be dangerous if safety precautions are not taken into consideration. It’s important to dive only as part of an organized and supervised diving group in order to reduce the risks involved.
21. Wear suitable gear
There are many different types of scuba equipment available on the market, but not all of it is safe to use. Make sure you know what each piece of your diving gear can do and how it could potentially affect your safety before getting in the water.
22. Never dive alone
It is always best to practice scuba diving safety by diving with a buddy, as this could reduce your risks during an accident or other unforeseen event that requires immediate attention. It is also important to respect the fact that each diver has different physical limitations and needs, so take this into account when choosing a dive buddy.
23. Take an introductory scuba class
Before actually diving, it is important you go through a proper introduction program – usually referred to as an “open water certification” – in order to get the necessary training before going underwater. An experienced instructor can teach you everything you need to know about diving safely and effectively.
24. Get training from experts
Training is an essential part of becoming a seasoned scuba diver, so it’s important that divers take advantage of all available resources while learning how to scuba dive properly. It is also a good idea to get additional training on a regular basis, so you are up-to-date with the latest scuba diving safety information.
25. Have an emergency kit
Underwater emergencies can happen at any time, so it is important that divers have access to all necessary life-saving equipment before they get into the water. Each emergency kit should contain a first aid kit, flashlight, oxygen tank, signal whistle and a signaling mirror.
Diving is a safe and relaxing activity for those who know how to scuba dive properly. However, as with any recreational activity, there are certain things divers should do in order to reduce the risks associated with this popular hobby. By following these 25 scuba diving safety tips, you can become a safe and knowledgeable diver quickly.