Dive Date Undisclosed

When I woke up, my diving radar told me that I wouldn’t be diving today. Slightly disappointed and a bit skeptical, I put my gear together and drove out to the beach to see for myself. Sure enough, conditions looked sketchy and divers attempting to get past the breakers were coming back in beaten and tired, but glad for their decision. Those that made it past the breakers said that the dive wasn’t even worth the effort as the visibility was sub-par (usually less than 5-7 feet).  IMGP1565

My buddy and I called the dive and I watched in awe as the rest of the morning unfolded.

The locals stayed in shorts and flip-flops as groups of divers not familiar with the area geared up – they had traveled from far and were adamant to get a dive in. One local commented that it wasn’t the experienced divers getting in but rather the inexperienced and that was frightening. Because of the risky conditions a few people decided to don wetsuits and masks in order to provide safety support should help be needed while entering/exiting the water. The divers began their walk to the water’s edge as the locals assisted with fin placement and water entry. You can see what’s coming, right?

I watched many things go wrong this day and unfortunately all of it could have been prevented. Luckily no one was injured but the safety support was definitely needed. As I sat on the wall with the peanut-gallery watching divers get pummeled by waves, I knew I made the right decision to call the dive. By the end of the day I found myself wondering what made the difference between those who stayed dry and those who have gear to rinse with no dive to log. I share with you the following:

1. Never start off 100% sure you are diving on any given day. If you set yourself up that you’re getting in no matter what, you are programming yourself to miss signs of danger. This mindset could be the beginning of the error chain that leads to injury or death.

2. If you’re a new diver or not familiar with the dive site and the local divers have called the dive, don’t dive. The locals won’t think you’re brave for taking the chance anyway.

3. If a local diver is suggesting common entry/exit techniques for the area and you think that those procedures do not apply to you or that you have a better way to do it, go home and dive there.

4. Ensure that your gear is in good shape before you dive. This should be a no brainer but it has validity particular to this day. We take great care of our life support equipment (right!) but what about care and maintenance of our fins, mask and other less-essential equipment. If someone tells you that your fin strap is rotted and may break off at any moment, but you dive anyway, what does that say about you as a diver? Obviously you have not been taking care of your gear and don’t care if your equipment fails you mid-dive. You will not be my dive buddy. Ever.

5. The diving conditions are bad and everyone smart has called the dive. But the water is warm and a bunch of people are playing in the surf. Call the dive and take a walk along the beach or better yet, go play in the water. Isn’t that what you came for anyway? Make the most out of what the ocean dishes up.

Dive safe! Dive responsibly! Know your limits and dive within them.

For more information about diving safe, please see my blog titled Dive Masters Don’t Make Smarter Divers.