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Pre Dive Safety Check

Pre Dive Safety Check

Speaking with dive instructors from the “good old school” (or at least that is the term that some of them use to describe the teaching techniques they used in the past) I got lots of information on how scuba diving used to be taught 20-30 years ago.

One of them told me that he used to ask his students to start descending with their tanks closed and breathing the air contained in the hoses of the regulator. At a given depth, and depending on the diver´s descending rate, he would run out of air. Then he had to reach out to this tank valve and open it to reestablish the air flow.

His rationale was that, maybe some day on a dive boat the divemaster in charge of the dive logistics may forget to open he divers tanks. It may happen to anybody, we must admit, but, is there a safer way to verify the correct functioning of our dive gear prior to enter the water?.

Luckily, today´s divers do not need to “practice” an out of air emergency using the technique described above. Divers now can rely on a very important pre immersion step known as the “Pre Dive Safety Check”.

Before entering the water, your dive buddy shall verify that each part of your scuba gear works and fits properly, and you will do the same for him/her. That includes checking releases, gauges, tanks and weight belt.

The Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI)suggests all their entry level students to use a very efficient method to perform a predive safety check among dive buddies. They use the phrase “Begin With Review and Friend” and the acronym “BWRAF” to help divers to perform an efficient predive check.

B= BCD: Verify proper inflation so the diver is able to float in waters too deep to stand up, low pressure inflator connector, and that the tank is firmly secured to the harness.

W= Weight system: Whether if wore in a belt or a BCD integrated system, it is important that the weight system has a one hand quick release mechanism to ditch it in case of emergency.

R=Releases: Make sure every release works properly, and double check the weight belt´s quick release mechanism.

A=Air. Verify that the tank has enough air for the dive by checking the submersible pressure gauge and (critical step)making sure the tank is open.

F=Final OK: Once a pre dive safety check has been completed, it is time to enter the water.

Performing a pre dive safety check before each dive is perhaps the most efficient way to avoid common problems such as running out of air, tank loss and other equipment related problems