When you become a certified diver at any level, you learn about safety procedures as well as how to dive with confidence. In addition to performing a Pre-Dive Safety Check and helping your fellow divers make sure that all of their gear is working properly after checking your own, there are also some safety materials that you should have with you on every dive to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
In the event of an emergency, whether on land or in the water, it is vital to have a kit filled with the tools you will need to address a crisis when it happens, without wasting any precious time, which could sometimes mean the difference between life and death. Here are some scuba safety materials that you may want to begin incorporating into your dive routine.
A Dive Knife
A dive knife, also known as a zip knife, z-knife, shears, cutters, EMT shears, or blade, is important to have with you on every dive. It is not meant to be used as a weapon, but rather it is a safety device, carried in case you get entangled and need to free yourself quickly while underwater. Your knife must come with a sheath that you will place it in securely while wearing your dive suit. You should be able to easily reach for the knife and pull it out and put it away with one hand.
Your dive knife should also have both a serrated as well as a smooth edge, so that it acts as an all-in-one tool no matter what type of blade you need in an emergency. Choose one with a hard metal blade and a hard metal handle that can also be used as a hammer. If you dive wrecks and caves often, consider carrying more than one knife for added safety.
Dive flairs are available to assist divers who are on the surface of the water but in distress. They can use it to signal for help from other divers and boats. A flair is a small device that is easy to incorporate into your gear and it can give you the help you need in an emergency, especially if you are far from your dive boat. Other safety devices that can be used to signal for help include a whistle, a signal mirror, a dive light, and dye markers.
Surface Marker Buoy
A Surface Marker Buoy, or SMB for short, is a buoy that is useful in indicating to boats that a diver is underwater and it is important to have one with you on each dive. The buoy is attached to a reel that is then attached to the diver’s body or equipment. In this way, the buoy moves as the diver moves, much like a dive flag or float, and the dive boat can follow. A surface marker buoy is also important to have with you because it can also be used to signal distress from a diver who is underwater.