Statistically, scuba diving is a relatively safe sport. However, if accidents occur, they often have serious consequences for the diver. Therefore, it is essential to observe some basic diving rules that serve for your health and safety.
Basic knowledge for Open Water Diver* (OWD*)
Scuba diving allows you to literally dive into a whole new world. In order to take this step with the greatest possible safety, it is important and sensible that you observe some basic diving rules. Your health and safety should always be first priority. You are only a good and safe diver if you do not endanger yourself or your buddy.
- Only dive if you are absolutely fit and comfortable. If you have a cold and / or have problems in the ear, nose and throat area, it is better to skip a dive than never dive again. Diving with a cold and / or ENT problems can lead to considerable difficulties in equalizing pressure and can cause injuries to your lungs.
- Elevated ambient pressure can have a dangerous effect when you are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, medication or psychological stress. Therefore, never dive after taking alcohol, drugs or you feel extremely stressed. Consult your doctor before diving if you are under medication. Some medicines can have unknown dangerous effect under elevated ambient pressure.
- If you feel uncomfortable during a dive, show your partner the appropriate underwater hand signal, ascend in a controlled manner and end the dive together. Your diving partner, guide or instructor can also feel uncomfortable. Everyone can have a problem that you have to consider. Everyone can come in a situation which makes it necessary to end a dive.
- Plan your dive carefully and pay attention to a proper briefing before the dive. When planning your dive, you should consider your level of training and your experience. Don't forget to take the training level and experience of your buddies into account. Dive time and depth depend on the level of training and experience of the least inexperienced diver in your group. You must not exceed the planned depth or the planned dive time. Of course, you and your diving group can dive less deep or shorter than planned at any time if the circumstances (air supply, temperature, etc.) require it.
- The depth limit for recreational scuba diving is 40 m. Do not exceed this depth.
- It makes sense to you keep your diving group as small as possible. A dive for two is certainly ideal. The larger the diving group, the more confusing and unsafe it becomes especial in poor visibility. In the case of particularly poor visibility, usually only physical contact helps: Simply hold each other by the hand or use buddy lines!
- If you lose your diving partner during a dive, look for them for not longer than one minute in your immediate vicinity. If you have not found the rest of your group, ascend in a controlled manner including mandatory deco stops. Because it can be an emergency situation, you can exceptionally leave out the safety stop. If you cannot find your diving buddy on the surface, you will need to seek help to initiate a search and rescue operation.
- Never dive alone. Best practice is to keep your equipment well maintained, monitor your air consumption, plan your dive and dive your plan. This way you minimize the chance to get into an emergency yourself. Be always prepared to help your buddy.
- At least one participant of the dive must have sufficient diving experience and local knowledge to be able to lead the dive safely.
- Check your air supply, i. e. your SPG frequently. Inform your dive leader or your buddy about your remaining air supply. For your own and the safety of the whole group it is mandatory to communicate half tank (usually 100 bar) or any pressure which is determined as turning point and if you reach the reserve pressure of 50 bar to your dive leader or buddy using the corresponding underwater hand signal.
- At the end of a dive – if there is no emergency situation – make a safety stop of 3 min to 5 min at a depth of 3 m to 5 m for every dive.
- Diving is a exiting sport, which allows us to enjoy wonderful experiences in a completely different world. Recreational diving is not a competition. The time under water is restricted by air supply and physics. Therefore priority should lay in enjoying the underwater world and not in collecting personal records or to measure yourself against others. Do not get involved in a dynamic that involves comparing numbers. This applies to both air consumption, diving time and especially the depth of the dive. Personal competitions in these areas very quickly lead to accidents. Don't even get involved.