Regardless of depth, there’s no such thing as an “easy” dive: once a diver recognises that fact, then many of the so-called “accidents” that sometimes occur in deeper technical diving become avoidable. Here are 6 tips to remember before your next dive.
Regardless of depth, there’s no such thing as an “easy” dive: once a diver recognises that fact, then many of the so-called “accidents” that sometimes occur in deeper technical diving become avoidable. Rather than being “events without apparent cause”, incidents are, invariably, attributable to a failure on the part of the diver to safeguard against what – in retrospect – becomes the obvious.
There’s an old adage that goes “plan your dive and dive your plan”; in that regard, the deeper the dive – and the more complex its objective – the greater the need to consider every aspect of the dive plan.
Plan every aspect of the dive. Define its objectives and become accustomed to using a written checklist. Reviewing each item will help ensure that nothing is overlooked and that all members of the team understand the absolute parameters of the dive and what is expected of them. Include a contingency plan detailing missed decompression schedules as well as emergency protocols.
Do not rely on memory to recall details of the dive plan. Encourage the use of an easily accessed slate, or wet-notes, to record key parameters of the dive, including turn-around times, gas switches, decompression schedules, etc.
Ensure that every member of the team is suitably trained and qualified to carry out the proposed dive, e.g., deep wreck or cave penetration; that they have recent experience of the projected deepest depth, possess the necessary skill levels and are familiar with the stated objectives of the dive.
Do not plan any dive that exceeds the experience level of the least qualified team member.
Do not cave in to peer-pressure and commit to carrying out a dive that causes the least trepidation or concern. Never be afraid to say, “No!” Everyone has the right to call a dive at any time, and for any reason, without fear of ridicule.
Maintain a high level of physical fitness and good dietary habits. Generally speaking, deeper technical dives rely on cumbersome, bulky and often-heavy equipment items. Apart from greater ease when handling this equipment, a high level of fitness will help increase endurance levels, improve cardio-vascular health and assist in the faster metabolism of CO2 – an excess of which may trigger stress and lead to possible panic. (A regular medical examination – and, for older divers, a stress test – is highly recommended before contemplating a schedule of more extreme dives.)