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Solo diving vs. diving with a buddy.
Greg - 2/17/2009 9:15 AM
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Category: Educational
Comments: 9
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of scuba diving solo vs. diving with a buddy. Your comments are appreciated.

Solo diving:
- You don’t have to watch out for someone else.
- You can go anywhere and do whatever you want underwater.

- Requires special training and redundant equipment, could be dangerous.
- Not as much fun talking to your self about the dive during your surface interval.
- Hard to take good pictures of yourself underwater.
- Individual rates at resorts or diving may be more expensive.

Diving with a buddy:
- Extra pair of eyes and hands to help out in a tough situation, diving with a buddy is usually safer.
- Backup of everything: air, regulator, etc.
- Sometimes comforting to know you’re with another human underwater.
- Fun to talk about dive and look at pictures during surface interval.
- Buddy rates at resorts and diving are usually cheaper.

- Need to stay close together, otherwise you might as well be diving solo.
- Both buddies need to decide what to do and where to go underwater, loose a bit of individual freedom, unless you both always agree and always like each others choices.
- If a problem occurs, one buddy may end up putting themselves in danger trying to help the other buddy.

Overall, I choose to dive with a buddy and give up some of the freedom you have when solo diving. I believe accident reports would prove that diving with a buddy would be the safer choice. I don’t condemn solo diving, but make sure you’re well trained, experienced and equipped. And always remember, regardless of whether you’re diving solo or with a dive buddy...remain vigilant at all times, make safe/educated decisions, don’t be stupid, and look after your gear.


Greg Davis


tiderider - 11/21/2009 7:34 PM

I know I’m late to the party, but I think this should be a tacked blog so that it can be an on-going discussion. I’m relatively new to diving, but I’ve open-water swam in the San Francisco Bay (including cross channel swims) for the last 15 years. I actually prefer occasional solitude and express my experiences underwater through photography and writing.

My experience so far diving with a buddy is the constant searching for my buddy. How does one equip yourself to dive solo? Are there specific classes or resources? I believe solo diving would be very satisfying, but I’m am cautious by nature (and age perhaps). Any pointers from my online buddies?
Seavisions - 3/03/2009 3:45 PM

Like John Flanders, I too am an instructor and found out long ago that when you are diving, especially with new divers or novice divers, for the most part you may as well be solo diving. I am a big proponent of solo diving provided the training and equipment is there. Especially as a photographer, the last thing I need is to feel the pressure of another diver anxiously waiting for me to move along. Many times, the solo diving is my respite from "diving" in the traditional sense, i.e., i do not have to worry about anyone else but myself. I spend 75% or more of my time in the water training divers and i really like that other 25% to myself or with another very well qualified diver.

I had an instructor once tell me, (and I agree with him), there are two types of divers you will dive with, those you will die to save and those you wont...

Thanks for listening to me rattle on...


rustymich - 2/21/2009 9:17 PM
I like both but solo on wrecks that way my budies cant steal the lobster I snag...yum
divemaiden - 2/18/2009 12:46 AM
Diving with a buddy is great - if you have a great buddy. Yesterday I was stuck w/someone, 5 min. into dive I wished it was over. And I’m on vaca. in Maui where vis is 80’ and there’s loads to see. On 2d dive, dive guide cut me loose b/c he knew my skill level and knew me to be a cautious diver. I never had a better dive in my life.
Pixel - 2/17/2009 11:26 PM
So true, I prefer buddy diving and we take turns to lead. It’s safe and a lot more fun to have someone to discuss it with. Also someone to play with underwater.

I’ve only "solo dived" once and that was when I got separated from the group, though after following procedure and not finding anyone, I decided to carry on solo as it was only a max depth of 7m.

Though due to the size of the group getting separated was discussed beforehand and that some of us would carry on solo and if we didn’t re appear within an hour, to come looking.

Was an awesome dive!
scubajcf - 2/17/2009 7:39 PM

Part 2 of 2

That is when I learned that whether you are solo diving or diving with a buddy, you need to be self reliant underwater! The fact is you cannot and do not control your buddy. Even the most trusted dive buddy can fail you in a tense situation, simply by leaving your side. Did I want to risk that? No way. Do I want to put my children’s future in the hands of another person, perhaps a stranger. No way!

It’s not a question of whether or not solo diving or buddy diving is safer. Self reliance is the only choice underwater!

John Flanders
Academy of Scuba
scubajcf - 2/17/2009 7:38 PM

Part 1 of 2

A great and well debated topic. A topic that is truly near and dear to my heart. I remember reading an article by Lee Somers (UoM and NAUI Board) discussing a time he was on a diveboat with someone he had never met before (never mind dove with). He was discussing not only did he not know this person’s dive experience, he did not know his health, his condition (drinking the night prior, etc), or his stamina. Thus, in this case, he was absolutely solo diving, even though he was with a buddy. Furthermore, he was probably baby sitting. In this instance, is it truly more beneficial for someone to be buddy diver? Maybe not.

When I became an instructor, I realized very quickly that I was a solo diver. In an emergency situation, can I truly rely on a student (perhaps an uncertified, first time in the water student) to help me? Chances are that student and I will both be injured or worse.

Saturn5 - 2/17/2009 11:42 AM

I have to agree with Greg. My preference overall has been and is to dive with a buddy. I have done some solo diving, and wound up solo diving when not expecting to (we’ve all had that happen before). When I planned solo diving it was under controlled conditions and usually to work out an equipment issue while waiting for my buddy to go on more explorative dives.

My vote is to stay in the buddy method unless there is some compelling reason not to. Besides, Greg is right... what fun is sharing the dive with yourself during surface interval.
DiveBuddyChgo - 2/17/2009 11:01 AM
I enjoy both types of diving.. You are correct each has its own advantages and disadvantages.. I enjoy my diver friends and also my time alone.. Mike