Where's my dive buddy?Even though you might like your alone time underwater, always ensure your dive buddy is by your side.
Dive the PlanMake sure you and your dive buddies plan your dive beforehand, and actually stick to the plan!
How to Become a Better Buddy in 8 Easy Steps
Throughout my career, I have seen thousands of divers enjoying the underwater world in a fun, safe and responsible manner. These 8 easy steps will help you and your fellow divers become best scuba buddies:
1 - Buddy Up!
Try to partner with someone of equal experience level; someone trained to a similar standard and depth rating as you are. If your buddy is less experienced, you need to discuss his/her comfort level, and take into consideration that he/she might require extra time and help.
2 - Pre-dive Discussion
Talk to your buddy! Find out your buddy's dive objective, and what he/she wants to gain from the dive. You will both have the best experience when relaxed and fully confident of the dive plan you have agreed to follow. Listen to the briefing, and then make your individual dive plan together, choosing one person as the dive leader.
3 - Safety Protocols
Agree to emergency protocols before entering the water. Based on the general dive briefing, you need to discuss a plan of action in case of an emergency. It is always better to be prepared and be aware of your buddy’s capabilities. Talk about how to get each other’s attention underwater, and communication methods you will use.
4 - Buddy Checks
If you are pairing up with a new buddy, or with your trusty old partner, it is extremely important to spend time completing buddy checks before entering the water. The simplest of checks, can prevent larger problems from escalating later in the dive. A couple of careful minutes spent checking equipment can save stress, add confidence, and ensure more fun!
5 - Underwater Considerations
This may sound like common sense, but stay with your buddy! It is nice to have your own personal space underwater but you need to be close enough to communicate and share your experiences too. Think about how close you would like your buddy to be, if you were in an out-of-air emergency. Note how to easily identify your buddy when encountering another group of divers, to avoid separation.
6 - Underwater Photography
In my experience, photographers need to be extra aware of their buddies and surroundings. The method I use is to take a couple of photos, then look up and check my buddy. If you are a non-photographer, then it can be fun acting as the "spotter" for cool subjects; the photographer will be appreciative too. Pre-dive discussion and dive planning is very important in this situation.
7 - Continue Your Education
My diving attitude and confidence transformed completely as a PADI Rescue Diver. Apart from the course being really good fun, I learnt many techniques and preventive measures to make diving stress-free, and safer, for both of us.
Diving is a continuous learning process; the more you learn, the better a diver you will be, and a better dive buddy in return.
8 - Legal Responsibilities
As a buddy pair, you are expected to form an individual dive plan. The dive operator or guide can provide general dive briefings. The general briefing should include information to assist you in developing your plan, such as emergency procedures, dive site orientation, and local diving protocols. Legally, you are responsible and have a duty of care for each other.
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