Underwater Navigation Techniques

Underwater navigation techniques are useful in any number of diving situations. By mastering them not only will you become a safer diver, but you’ll also be able to pinpoint the exact spot where you saw that pygmy seahorse.

Underwater navigation is defined as any technique that a diver uses to travel from one point to another. Can you travel from one point to another and then back to your starting point without surfacing? If not, you’re setting yourself up to get lost underwater.

Developing underwater navigation skills

Developing your underwater navigation skills can help prepare you for more advanced diving adventures such as night diving, or limited-visibility scenarios. Night diving is an awe-inspiring experience, completely different from diving during the day. Divers have described it as a reverse reflection of what you normally see underwater. Things not only look different at night, but different marine life also ventures out. Divers can see many animals they would not during the day. But to descend without the presence of natural light can be daunting if you’re not confident of your underwater navigation skills.

Divers usually have plenty of forward preparation for a night dive. You can plan navigational needs accordingly, but may sometimes end up in a situation that requires unexpected and unplanned-for underwater navigation skills. Limited-visibility diving, for example, differs from night diving in that most people do not want to dive in limited-visibility conditions. These conditions, however, may arise before you even realize it. The ocean, or any body of water for that matter, is an ever-changing wild environment. Conditions can change in an instant. In some parts of the world, the water is never clear. So if you want to dive, you have to deal with these conditions. Although you’ll use underwater navigation skills in all types of scuba diving, they are especially important at night and in limited-viz scenarios.

Using underwater navigation skills

Underwater navigation techniques are useful in any number of diving situations. Not only will you become a safer diver, but you’ll also be able to pinpoint the exact spot where you saw that pygmy seahorse. If you don’t have the proper skill set to navigate how you got there then you may never get back to that location again. This is one of a diver’s greatest frustrations.

There are many ways to learn underwater navigation. Many tools and devices can help you along the way, such as the trusty mechanical compass, natural navigation techniques and modern electronic devices. Do your research, take a specialty course and invest in this skill set. You’ll be a safer, more efficient, and more capable scuba diver because of it.

By Scuba Diving International (SDI)