Exploring the ocean depths can be exhilarating, but scuba diving safety should always be a serious concern. As most water-enthusiasts are aware, scuba is quite a popular activity. However, like many recreational sports, if participants do not take the proper safety precautions, it can be very dangerous. In many cases, it can even be deadly.
What is Scuba?
The word “Scuba” stands for “Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.” As informative as this description seems, it's also far
too many words to explain such a popular activity, so most people just shorten it to "scuba."
Unlike snorkeling, a scuba diver uses elaborate breathing equipment to dive deep
below the water’s surface. Scuba allows divers to see sights that would be otherwise impossible to witness first-hand. Divers can explore ship wrecks, coral reefs, you name it! Some people even dive to find underwater treasure. It is a lot of fun, but scuba diving safety should always remain top-of-mind.
During a dive, you can reach depths up to 130 feet under water. While that far from the surface, a steadily supply of oxygen is required. That’s where the tanks come in. A diver draws breath from a mouthpiece attached to a tank of compressed air. Unfortunately, when a person travels that far from the surface and assistance, it’s quite possible to be injured or even die
That’s why scuba diving safety is so important. When the following practices are followed, you’ll be able to limit your unnecessary exposure to danger.
Scuba Diving Safety Tips
Don’t Dive without Certification
Before purchasing scuba gear, it is critical to become properly certified. Certification is relatively easy and affordable. Additionally, it is absolutely
worth it. With all the gear, gauges and diver signs required for scuba diving safety, this water activity is much more complicated than most people realize.
Much like CPR certification
, scuba diving safety certification is chock full of helpful life saving lessons. For more information, check out the official website for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors
(PADI). PADI is one of the organizations that can help get you suited up and prepared for adventure!
Here's a brief video from PADI about the process of becoming scuba certified:
Planning is Your Best Friend
First of all, before you take a dive, take the time to carefully plan ahead. First, check the weather conditions. Next, make sure there won’t be unexpected boat traffic. Neglecting either of these issues can put your life in jeopardy. Additionally, let someone know about your plans. If you run into trouble, you’ll want to know someone else is looking out for your scuba diving safety.
Don’t Hold Your Breath!
This is essentially the golden rule of scuba diving safety: don’t hold your breath while diving. For the uninitiated, this tip may seem counterintuitive. However, holding your breath under the water can result in serious injury or even death.
According to Boyle’s law
, the air in our lungs expands during ascent and contracts during descent. If you’re breathing normally during a dive, this won’t be an issue. Unfortunately, if you hold your breath, you can easily run into trouble. The air won’t be able to escape as it expands and can put undue strain on your lungs. In tough situations, this can cause your lungs to rupture. Obviously, that would be bad. So, to keep it simple: don’t hold your breath!
Know Your Limits
Just like skiing or any other potentially hazardous recreational sport, scuba diving safety boils down to personal responsibility. Don’t take more risks than are necessary. Try to be as keenly aware of your limits as possible. Many an overconfident diver has drowned because they bit off more than they could chew.
Respect the Buddy System
Certification training will teach you about gauges and all the technical aspects of scuba diving safety, but all the preparation in the world won’t be able to help you when you’re all alone and in danger. That’s where your buddy comes in. Put simply, never dive alone. The buddy system
works for kids in the pool… but also for anyone strapping on scuba gear. Most training programs adamantly warn against diving alone. By diving with a friend, you’ll be able to ask for help while underwater with proper signals, watch out for each other, or have someone to simply call for assistance if there’s a serious danger. An extra set of hands can save you or your buddy’s life.