Usually a little white lie won’t hurt you, but these 10 lies scuba divers tell themselves can inflict some serious damage. Be honest and stop the tiny voice in your head from convincing you everything is fine when it’s not. If you’re not well enough for a dive, are in over your head (pun intended), or are facing any other number of factors that might keep you from diving safely, it’s best to just admit it and dive another day. Here are 10 situations you should address honestly.
I don’t need to brush up on my skills.
If you’ve been diving for years, a refresher may seem silly, even if you haven’t been underwater for a while. However, dive skills decay in as little as six months. While the experts advocate taking an official refresher course, at the very least, sharpen your skills during your first dive in shallow water one-on-one with an expert. Worst case, you spent a little money, enjoyed an easy dive and improved your technique in short order.
I’m fit enough to dive.
You don’t have to be thin or young to dive, but it’s critical to remain fit. We all get complacent, but if you’ll be splashing into the water soon, strengthen your cardiovascular health with regular exercise. Improved air consumption and stamina safeguards you and your dive buddies against any issues that arise.
I can have that third beer or cocktail.
We all love relaxing with dive buddies over an icy beverage, but the dangers of post-dive drinking (or drinking in between dives) exist. According to naui.org, “alcohol is associated with increased risk of decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis and hypothermia/hyperthermia. [It also] further increases the risk of dehydration following the dive and may mask the signs and symptoms of decompression illnesses.” Enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two after your dives, but no diving the next day if you imbibe more. And as soon as you consume even one drink, you should cease all diving that day.
I can enter that wreck, cavern or the mouth of that cave.
Even with a big, light-filled space to swim through or the DM egging you on, any of these situations can instantly turn deadly without the proper training. Either avoid these scenarios altogether or obtain wreck/cavern certification to prevent issues and learn how to handle potentially dangerous situations.
I’m not over-weighted.
Most divers carry excess weight. It’s nice to sink down quickly from the surface, but extra weight means you’ll expend more effort while swimming, struggle to maintain neutral buoyancy, and possibly face issues when surfacing. Perform a pre-dive buoyancy check and consistently work to reduce the weight you haul.
Divers commonly trail their gear under them, which represents a hazard for the diver and delicate coral. Improve your streamlining, and then ask a buddy to review you underwater and point out any issues you missed. You’ll decrease your air consumption with less drag in the water and prevent entanglements.
Kneeling on or touching the seafloor/sand/coral is acceptable.
You never know what’s underneath your knees, body or fins underwater. You could be crushing fragile marine life, get hurt or stir up the substrate for your fellow divers. And there’s no reason for it. With a little practice, buoyancy control becomes effortless.
I don’t need to take my gear with me.
Lugging gear around is annoying, but that’s your life-support equipment. Even on a trip where you’ll only be diving a few times, bring your gear. You’ll be unfamiliar with the rental gear during an emergency, and other divers may have treated it poorly. Those extra pounds in your suitcase are worth the weight and many airlines offer a larger weight/case allowance for sports equipment.
It’s okay to touch/harass wildlife or watch an “expert” do it.
You can injure some marine life with a single touch and it can also harm you. Forcing wildlife to interact may seem fun, but it embodies cruelty. For instance, compelling a porcupinefish to puff up or playing with an octopus causes them extreme stress. Keep your distance from marine life and remind anyone you witness touching or interacting with underwater life — even an instructor — of our role as ocean ambassadors.
I don’t need to practice skills learned during Open Water certification.
Hopefully, you’ll never perform an emergency ascent in a life-or-death situation, but could you? If you don’t practice basic skills including mask clearing, regulator recovery, manually inflating your BCD and the emergency ascent at least a few times a year, you may not survive a life-threatening situation. Just let your buddy and the DM know before you practice. Also note that you can practice the emergency ascent by swimming horizontally.