Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the general busyness of life, many of us haven’t had the chance to get under the water for a while. NZUA wants to ensure the safety of all divers so we’ve put together a checklist to consider before jumping back in.
1. Are you fit and healthy?
If you’re over 45 and belong to a high-risk group e.g. high cholesterol, heart conditions etc it is recommended you get a dive medical before you get back to diving if it’s been a while. Diving does require a certain level of fitness.
2. Have you checked your gear or had it serviced?
Gear should be serviced annual but it’s important to also do self-checks before you get in the water. Look for corrosion or any cracks in rubber. It’s important to look out for tears or rips in the stitching of your wetsuit too to prevent hypothermia.
3. Do you need a refresher?
If you haven’t dived for an extended period of time it’s advised you have a refresher course. Extended period of time may mean different things to different people depending on how experienced you are. All dive shops offer this and they vary in price and type to suit your needs. They aren’t expensive but can be a lifesaver.
4. Know your dive site/ dive to your limits
Don’t do a particularly hard dive for your first one back. Make sure you’ve checked if the dive site has undercurrents or hidden dangers before you jump in.
5. Make sure you have a dive flag
This one’s pretty straightforward. Shore dives or boat dives regardless.
6. Know your bag limit and sizes/ catch bag etiquette
Information for specific species and regions can be found on the MPI website. May sure if you’re collecting kaimoana that you don’t clip your bag onto yourself. It causes a risk of snagging and can’t be dropped easily in an emergency. Avoid overfilling your bag too.
7. Dive with a buddy and keep together throughout the dive
If you lose your busy look for no more than a minute and if can’t find them, surface.
8. Check your weighting/ air
Before descending to a weight check to ensure you float at eye level on the surface while holding a normal breath. That little bit of extra padding around your waist from lockdown may have changed how much weight you need and you don’t want to be overweighted. Also if it’s been a while your air consumption may have changed. Make sure to be extra vigilant of air use, don’t rely on history.
9. Ascend slowly from your dive
There’s no harm in making a safety stop.
1. Are you fit and healthy?
Same as for scuba, don’t forget the level of fitness required for underwater activities.
2. Have you checked your weight?
Again, has easy access to the pantry during lockdowns had its way with your waistline? Make sure to do a weight check before starting the dive.
3. Ensure you have a visual float/buoy/flag
Freedivers and spearos need to tow a float/buoy to avoid getting hit.
4. Dive with a buddy using the 1 up 1 down method
One person should be on the surface whilst the other is down. Don’t both go down together.
5. Don’t point your speargun at anyone.
This one should be self-explanatory…
6. Don’t go deeper than your comfortable
Don’t push yourself, ease yourself back into the underwater lifestyle.
7. Beware of the risks of shallow water blackout
Shallow-water blackout or freediving blackout is when the diver loses consciousness because of a lack of oxygen to the brain. If immediate rescue doesn’t happen, the diver could drown. This emphasises the importance of diving with a buddy using the one up one down method.
NZUA is excited for the upcoming warm weather and remember, you can’t get COVID underwater!