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Scuba Diving Safety Tips for Beginners

Updated on August 11, 2014
Scuba diver signaling she is okay.
Scuba diver signaling she is okay.

Scuba diving can be an awarding experience whether for recreation or professionally. However, it is also considered to be quite dangerous if proper safety procedures are not followed properly. All training courses will go over safety rules and guidelines but here are some safety reminders for those who are just starting out.

Get Proper Training

First and foremost before you attempt diving, you need to take classes to receive proper training. There are several organizations that offer classes. Two of the more popular organizations include Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). Other websites that offer scuba diving courses include and NAUI Worldwide. There are many local training centers that are certified by one of these organizations. If they aren't, it is best to keep shopping for a training facility.

Never Dive Alone

This is one of the biggest safety rules of scuba diving. Having a diving buddy can mean the difference between life and death. Always know where you buddy is and be aware of the surroundings. If there is danger in the water, a buddy can signal you. If you are in distress, you can signal your buddy for help.

Get Routine Physical Exams

Diving creates stress on a person's body. Getting routine physical exams is crucial to determine if you have any health concerns that may cause detrimental effects by diving. Many diving injuries and deaths have been due to problems with the heart and other circulatory issues.

Know Your Equipment

As with any sport or profession, you need to be familiar with the equipment you have to use. Knowing how the equipment works and how to do maintenance on the equipment will help make your dive a safer adventure. Always check your equipment before getting in the water. This includes any equipment you have rented. The last thing you need is for your equipment to malfunction while underwater.

Plan Your Dive

There is a saying in most scuba diving training courses, "Plan your dive and dive your plan." This means you and your buddy should agree on certain things before going underwater. Some of these include how far down to go, how long to stay underwater, how much air will be needed to ascend, and becoming familiar with each other's hand signals, just to name a few. Communication with your buddy is a key safety tip when you go scuba diving.

Scuba diving hand signals
Scuba diving hand signals | Source


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Know the Hand Signals

Knowing the common hand signals to use is critical in underwater communication. Whether diving with a buddy or as a group, make sure everyone is familiar with what each hand signal means. For a list of common scuba diving hand signals, you can visit this website.

Control Your Breathing

Breathing slowly and steadily is crucial to prevent lung damage. Never hold your breath. Don't be tempted to take a short breath and hold it. Steady breathing provides the proper oxygen for your body to function properly.

Monitor Your Air Supply

Monitoring your air supply is also crucial. This is your lifeline underwater because without air, you won't be able to breathe and are at risk of drowning. You will need to know how much air you will need when you have to ascend.

Ascend Slowly

Some divers have suffered from decompression sickness because they have ascended from the water too quickly. When you begin to ascend to the surface, your body is ridding itself of the nitrogen in the bloodstream. If you ascend too quickly, your body is unable to do this properly, thus making you very sick and even leading to death. Ideally, you should not ascend any faster than 30 feet per minute, stopping at about 15 feet to rest for approximately 3 minutes. After your rest, you should continue your ascension slowly.

Know Weather Conditions

Many people take the weather conditions for granted. However, diving during a storm or when a storm is predicted can be quite dangerous. It can create chopping conditions and underwater currents that can put you in deadly situations.

Following all safety tips will make your first scuba diving experience a rewarding one. It will help keep you safe so that you will be able to plan and experience your next scuba diving adventure.

© 2014 Linda Sarhan


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