You might have the luxury of diving every day, or perhaps your last dive was 2 years ago, but a quick review on dive safety should always be priority. Stay safe underwater with these five tips.
1) Always do your pre-dive buddy check
Things on the boat can get a bit busy right before a dive. Your safety buddy check is the perfect moment to prepare yourself mentally to dive. This is also a good time to plan your dive and agree on any hand signals you might use. The acronym BWRAF (BCD, Weights, Releases, Air, Final) helps you remember the gear to look for on your buddy and yourself.
Fun fact: In the Philippines we remember BWRAF (BCD, Weights, Releases, Air, Final check) using the mnemonic “Breakfast With Rice And Fish” (a traditional PH breakfast, which by the way, is delicious).
2) Be honest about your physical condition
Got to bed late? Feeling ‘off’ from something you ate? Still suffering from a recent injury? Diving is a physical sport and you want to feel good and rested before each dive. If you had a big night and are tired or hungover, sleep out the morning dive and join the afternoon dive instead (do inform the dive shop of the time change as a courtesy to them) If you’ve traveled from abroad, your body may still be adjusting to the time and/or even exposure to surroundings. It’s always fine to sit out a dive if you’re not feeling up to it. In the same vein, be supportive if your dive buddy or co-divers choose to stay on the boat—they know themselves better than you.
3) Get to know your dive equipment
Ideally, you’ll do this before you get in the water. Even better is if you bring your own dive computer. If your gadget conks out during a dive, stay close to your guide or buddy (you can stay above him for a more conservative dive profile.) Never dive with iffy or malfunctioning equipment. If you’re booking with Hello PH!, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that we inspect and choose the top dive shops that make safety a priority.
Tip: Certified service centers for dive computers are located in Metro Manila and Cebu City only and are not accessible in other parts of the Philippines. Get your dive computer serviced and check its batteries before you travel.
4) Stay within comfortable limits
Let’s be honest: There can be a bit of machismo among divers, especially those who’ve been diving a long time. We always recommend staying within your own recreational limits, no matter what others are doing. Another facet of this is being supportive of other divers, their levels of ability and their limits. If someone calls the “UP” sign, there must be a very good reason. Be a team player even when a dive is cut short.
5) Watch your depth
There are two things we want to point out when it comes to depth. One, do not chase after the critters, especially when the critters go deep. This is a common way for divers to find themselves, “out of their league.” Second, double-check your depth even, and especially, in great dive conditions. On many days in the Philippines, we have perfect visibility with good sunlight, which can make 40 meters depth look like 25 meters or 30 meters. Your sighting and estimation may be good, but refer to your dive computer as well.
Enjoyed this article? Find out more about how to prepare for your Philippine dive holiday right here: 6 Essential Tips for Traveling the Philippines Safely. (add link to the article)