I started writing this Beginner’s Guide to Diving series to those who are interested in scuba diving, but are not divers yet. It has been some time since I wrote the first and second parts of this ”guide”, but here, at long last, is the third part.
In part one I wrote about how to get started with scuba diving, and in part two, some thougths about what it takes to be a diver, as well as some information about basic equipment needed. In this third part, I’ll try to give some ideas about dealing with possible problems underwater once you actually get to go diving.
There have been some great technical advances in scuba equipment in the last decades, and that has made diving a whole lot safer and easier than it was in the old days. But even so, problems can -and most likely will, sooner or later- arise while diving. This is why it is important to prepare yourself mentally and physically for these events.
Even a small, trivial issue can become a life-threatening emergency when you are underwater. That is why even the smallest of problems should be dealt with as soon as it is noticed and should not be ignored. Anticipating these situations and dealing with them in time, before more small problems mount up, is key to preventing disaster. I wrote about a problem situation I myself experienced in my article, Panic UnderwaterLINKKI. My experience on that dive is an example of how a tiny, insignificant problem can become a life-threatening situation when not addressed immediately.
Being able to deal with problems underwater requires you, the diver, to remain calm and not rush into anything while trying to solve the issue. Stay calm, and keep breathing. When a problem arises, stop whatever you are doing, think about what to do to solve the problem, and act only when you have calmly figured out what needs to be done. And never forget to keep breathing!
Preparing for Problems Underwater
Maintaining good physical health and fitness is one of the basics of diving. Physical fitness helps you to be able to deal with problems or emergencies that you may encounter while diving.This does not mean you have to be an athlete to dive, just that you should be physically well when you dive. That eliminates one possible cause of problems while going underwater.
Preparing for the dive mentally involves being familiar with the equipment you will use, as well as knowing the dive plan and familiarizing yourself with the dive site, so you know what to expect once underwater. This will help you to anticipate any possible problems that could arise, and solve them (in your mind) before the actual dive.
Perhaps most importantly, the best way to prevent problems while diving, is to become good at diving. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? But that is the case. Learning the basic skills of diving really well will allow you to concentrate on solving any problem issues once you run into them, instead of concentrating on the physical act of diving. Some of the (perhaps) most important skills to learn really well include good buoancy control, cramp removal, and knowing how to act if you run out of air. These are skills that you will probably practise in your dive training (or have practised, if you’ve already taken a dive course). Continuous practise at the basic skills of scuba diving will help you maintain and improve your skills at diving, and help you to prevent and solve potentially dangerous problems underwater.
So here it is, the third part of my Beginner’s Guide to Diving. Hope you liked it, and hope you found it useful. Don’t forget to also read part oneand part two of this guide.
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