Diving is a sport that one must have a certain set of physical capability, self-driven passion and basic human intelligence to engage in. It is not a sport for everyone and it is definitely not easy. Yet season after season, I observe all kinds of newly certified open water divers. I have seen divers that couldn’t swim but managed to get certified. I have seen divers that couldn’t gear up themselves and even has difficulty wearing them. As the recreational diving industry gets more and more consumer-focused, there’s nothing we can do but hopefully improve ourselves and set an example. Diving is not something imposed on you but a sport that you chose to engage in. So you should make a point to enhance on your skills. Every dive is an opportunity for you to learn and improve your diving skills. Here are 5 ways that you can use.
1. Your air consumption
When we say air consumption, I am not asking how much air you have left at the moment of your dive trip. Some of our dive guides love to ask that, have you wondered why? We can read our SPG well. Are they trying to test us whether can we read that or not? (Well, it’s a totally different case if you really don’t know how to read your SPG!)
Air consumption, or why some dive guides asked repeatedly how much air you left throughout your first few dives, is basically how much 10 bar of air can last you at different depths. That’s a whole lot of formulas for you to calculate that, but we are not looking for rocket science calculation here. On your next dive, when you are preparing to ascend, note how much air you have got and the depth that you are at. When you get to the surface, check again on how much air you have left. Do these a few times, give and take, you should be very familiar with your air consumption statistics.
2. Fix your Buoyancy
Buoyancy takes time to react. I think many don’t realize that. It is true that your lungs is your secondary buoyancy aid, but do not expect it to react immediately. Learn to do controlled breathing - breathing at a slow pace in and out, and gradually you will notice your buoyancy also gets better when you focus on our breathing.
Less movement on your hands and body. Let your ankles, feet and fins do the work. Very often, when one start losing control of their buoyancy, they will flap their hands to get down but involuntarily pushing themselves up.
There’s a lot more ways on how you can fix this buoyancy and I can’t share everything on this blog alone.
3. Use Your Intelligence (Yes, your brain.)
A lot of times, I see divers completely trust their dive guides and just follow blindly. Particularly in Indonesia recreational diving industry, we have seen dive guides who gave over-the-top kinda service that you don’t even need to put on your own fins. This results in divers who don’t think.
Every dive, by all means, you can go ahead and engage a dive guide. After all, they will know the dive sites best. We would use their knowledge of the sites to have the best dive. But they are not responsible for your safety and your dive. It is your job to keep yourself safe and plan your dive accordingly.
4. Learn to say no
There’s plenty of opportunities out there to do everything and especially on a holiday. You are not at your best state or you are just not comfortable about certain depths or environment, yet you feel that it’s completely wasted if you don’t go for the next dive. Your friends are pressurizing you, calling you a mood dampen. You gave in and you jumped into the waters. The only thing that you are risking is your own life. Know your limits, know your abilities. And do it according to that.
5. Dive more
Experience is what count. You can be an advanced diver but have 500 dives experience in different parts of the world/environment. I will love to learn from you compared to an instructor who had only 100 dives. I remembered when I took my advanced open water, I had more logged dives than my instructor. And true enough, when there was a situation underwater during our course, he didn’t manage it properly and putting the whole lot of us in danger. I had to interfere before things got out of hand. So dive more in different parts of the world and listen to the stories of your fellow divers. You will learn a lot from each other.
Every dive is an experience.