Dive safe Things to do during and after a dive
In the previous article, Safe diving: Things you should do before you take the plunge; we covered things you should do before you dive into the water. In this article, we will focus on things that you need to do during and after your dive to make sure your experience is a safe and a happier one. Let’s call them the golden rules.
During the dive:
You’ve learned the basics of diving, completed your pool training and you are about to jump into the water. Here’s what you need to remember once you are underwater:
Never hold your breath:
Scuba is a strange experience because you are breathing underwater- and environment humans are not really used to.
When underwater, breathe normally at all times. Holding your breath can cause an air embolism (blood vessel blockage caused by air bubbles in the bloodstream), due to lung overexpansion injury. An air embolism is a serious condition and can even be fatal.
Equalize frequently as you descend:
Due to its weight, water exerts pressure. As you go deeper into the water, you will feel this pressure will cause your air spaces to compress. You will feel this compression in your ears as the air compression causes your eardrums to stretch inwards into your middle ear spaces. So, you need to need to equalize your ears.
This needs to be done frequently and before feeling any pain to avoid ear injury. While descending, if you feel discomfort at any point, stop! Go up a few meters and attempt to equalize again.
Check your air gauge frequently:
You can stay underwater only as long as there is air in your tank. Therefore, you need to be aware when your tank is half full and quarter full so that you can plan your ascent to the surface accordingly.
Stay close to your dive guide/ buddy:
The world underwater is fascinating, agreed! But that doesn’t mean you swim off on your own when you spot something interesting. Point it out to your dive guide/ buddy and head towards it together.
If you lose each other, look around for a minute (do a 360 at the same spot) and if you still can’t see him/her, slowly ascend to the surface as they would have also done the same.
Dive within your limits:
According to standards, the depth limit for a recreational diver is 40 meters (If you are certified for deep diving that is). You may be an adventure junkie but it is always advisable to not dive beyond your qualification and training levels. Also, do not descend below your guide/buddy’s depth limits, in case your qualifications levels are not the same.
Don’t exert yourself:
Diving is an adrenaline rushing sport but it also is a relaxing activity. Don’t swim too fast. The slower you move underwater, the more you see. Avoid moving at a pace which makes you out of breath. If you feel tired, find a coral-free rock on which you can hang to have some rest. Most importantly remain calm and composed. “Slow is smooth, Smooth is fast”
Don’t touch anything:
The best part of diving- you get to experience the incredible diversity of life that lives underwater.
However, you should avoid touching anything you see. There are two reasons to do so- to protect the coral reef and fish and to protect yourself. Corals may be beautiful and fish may be friendly but remember- you are in their territory.
You may injure yourself on sharp edges of rock/coral/barnacles, or get stung by a poisonous animal. Some marine animals may attack/bite if they feel threatened. Would you like some stranger coming into your house and touching you just because you look interesting?
Always ascend slowly:
Not holding your breath is cardinal, so is ascending slowly. Coming up fast from your dive can cause the decompression sickness (sometimes called “the bends”) due to the nitrogen levels in your bloodstream.
By ascending slowly, nitrogen in your body has a chance to dissipate without forming bubbles and therefore, cause no harm to you.
After the dive:
You’ve completed your dive and are now sitting in your boat feeling ecstatic that you’ve done your dive successfully. However, safety precautions do not end with your dive. Here’s what you need to do once you are in the dive boat:
If you feel strange, let others know:
Many people feel tired after a dive because they are not used to the exertion of physical exercise. But if you feel anything else, let your dive guide/buddy know about it.
Debrief with your dive guide/buddy:
Just as every dive should begin with a discussion about what’s to be done, every dive should end with a discussion talk about how the dive went. A debriefing allows you to discuss openly with your dive guide/buddy what you expected from the dive and whether those expectations were met, what you learned and what will you do differently on your next dive.
Don’t fly at least 12/18/24 hours after your last dive (depending on the number of dives and depths):
Even if you have decompressed, there could be a possibility that there are traces of nitrogen in your bloodstream. Also, the pressure at an altitude is much lesser than the pressure underwater and sudden ascent to those heights may cause bubbling of the nitrogen. Thus, flying can cause decompression sickness if ample time is not allowed beforehand for the nitrogen to dissipate. If you are unsure of how much surface interval is needed before your flight, check with a dive professional at the Dive center before undertaking the dive/s. You can also verify if you are safe to fly by checking your Dive Computer (most computers show you this notification).
The bottom line is -Scuba diving is a safe sport if you have trained well and remember that training. Keep the must-do in the back of your head on recall and enjoy your diving.