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Dive Buddy Pre-Dive Checklists (BWRAF, BAR, SEABAG)
Greg - 1/14/2013 10:48 AM
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Category: Educational
Comments: 3
Dive Buddy Pre-Dive Checklists (BWRAF, BAR, SEABAG)The pre-dive buddy check is a procedure carried out by scuba divers using the buddy system where each diver checks that the other’s diving equipment is configured and functioning correctly just before the start of the dive. By checking each other’s equipment, it is likely that faults will be recognized prior to the start of the dive. This pre-dive check also allows each scuba diver to become familiar with the other’s gear in the event assistance is needed underwater.

Here are three forms of a scuba diver’s pre-dive safety check used by different scuba training agencies:

PADI - BWRAF (memorized by using "Begin With Review And Fried", or "Bruce Willis Ruins All Films").

Check function of BCD. Operate inflator and deflator to ensure that BCD can accept and release air. Test oral inflator. Operate all dumps to check that air can be dumped quickly. Ensure straps (shoulder straps, cummerbund) have no slack, and are lying flat.

W - Weights
If a weight belt is worn, check that the belt is secure, and the strap arranged so that it can be released with the right hand of the diver. Ensure that weights on the belt are not likely to shift during movement, and are suitable for the diver. If a weight harness is worn, or the BCD possesses an integrated-weight system, test system for adequate operation. A secondary aim is to ensure that the buddy is familiar with the weight system of the diver being checked, and is able to operate them in an emergency.

R - Releases
Locate and check that all of your buddy’s releases are properly secured and you know how to undo them in an emergency. This includes their Velcro waist band and at least two shoulder clips. Many BCDs also have a chest and stomach clip. It’s a good idea to touch each clip as you check it and even count each one out loud as you do so. Remember to check the tank strap and clip. You can do this by placing one hand on the bottom of the tank and the other on the first stage regulator and trying to move the tank up and down to see if the strap moves.

A - Air
Open air valve on tank. Most divers then close the tank a quarter turn for an added element of safety. Breathe the air through the regulators to ensure that it is fresh and dry: impure air is extremely dangerous underwater, but can usually be recognized through an unpleasant, often oily, taste or smell. Test operation of primary and secondary regulators. Both should breathe comfortably, and not ’free-flow’ when purged. Make sure you check SPG when test breathing through regulators when breathing the air pressure gauge should not drop. Check hoses for damage. Ensure that the secondary regulator (the ’octopus’) is attached in the triangle between the chin and the base of the ribs, and can be released easily: this ensures easy access for a buddy in the event of an emergency.

F - Final Check
Conduct a final check of the diver. Ensure that hoses are clipped to the diver neatly, and are in the correct configuration. Make sure the diver has fins and a mask, and any other accessories (cameras, reels, knife, compass, torch etc.) needed for the dive. Check that these are secured to the diver, or else placed in a spot where they can be handed down once the diver is in the water. Correct anything else that needs doing.


B - Buoyancy

Test and demonstrate how each buoyancy device, such as a buoyancy compensator or dry suit is inflated or vented. It is important to test common failure modes, for example, that the device remains inflated when required and that the inflation stops when required. Rebreather divers may test the breathing loop to ensure that it does not leak under a positive internal pressure and negative internal pressure.

A - Air
Test that each air source has its pillar valve open, has sufficient gas, is functioning and tastes good. If the indicating needle of the contents gauge vibrates when the diver inhales that may indicate the diving cylinder pillar valve is only partially open and will not provide enough gas at the higher ambient pressures at depth. An oily taste to the gas may indicate a contaminated gas fill. Some rebreather divers breathe from the loop for 2 or 3 minutes before entering the water, to check that the soda lime of the carbon dioxide scrubber is active.

R - Releases
Demonstrate how to operate the releases that can be used in an emergency to separate the diver from the weighting system, buoyancy compensator and SCUBA unit.


S - Site
Is the chosen site diveable under the prevailing weather and tidal conditions? Are currents, riptides, or other hazards present?

E - Emergency
What are the established emergency procedures? Is emergency oxygen available? Where is the closest decompression chamber?

A - Activities
What is the purpose of the dive? Are there any special risks or concerns that must be addressed?

B - Buoyancy
Check negative and positive buoyancy control devices (this includes environmental suits and equipment); know where your buddy’s weights are in case you have to drop them.

A - Air
Both buddies check each other’s first and second stages, confirm the locations of their octopuses, and proof check by breathing from each other’s equipment. Know Surface Air Consumption (SAC) rates and how much air you and your buddy have before you get wet.

G - Gear

Check your gear! Then go.


Greg - 3/06/2013 9:49 AM
DAN recently wrote an article about pre-dive checklists:
diverdown53 - 1/14/2013 3:21 PM
Thanks for posting! Always a good reminder!!!

Kathy Dowsett
SantaFeSandy - 1/14/2013 4:42 PM
Agreed. My first dive apart from my instructor or buddies from my class, we did not check each other’s equipment, or become familiarized with it. BAD!!! Next time though, I"m going to print this data out, and I will adhere to it, thereby forcing any "stranger dive buddies" to adhere to it too, if they don’t initiate protocol from the start. :-)