Whether you are venturing out on your first scuba vacation after finishing your scuba lessons, or you are a seasoned diver, there are still preparations and checklists that need to be followed to ensure that safety is maintained at all times.
No matter where in the world you are diving, the same preparation methods should be followed for each scuba trip.
Preparing for your scuba vacation
Consider what it is that you want to see on your dive trip, are you looking for a wreck to explore? Or maybe some incredible drop offs? Or are you more interested in shore dives?
Research the variety of sites available in preferred destination and select the dive site that offers most of the features you are looking for. Also consider visibility levels and dive depth, to ensure that you are suitably qualified and have the experience necessary for the site.
Think also about the conditions in the water, everything from the water temperature to the strength of the currents, especially if you are looking for a drift dive experience. You do not want to become a real life buoy drifting at sea.
You should also consider the type of marine life that you will encounter underwater, be aware of the species that live in your chosen area and research any possible hazards before jump in and get wet.
See if you can get some local opinion from people who dive in your chosen location regularly. Locals will know the reefs on the back of their hands and they can show you places where you else never would go.
Local professional divers will have the best idea of any hazards you may encounter or difficulties you may experience, so take the time to pop into a local dive shop and get popular opinion first, before compiling your dive plan, detailing how long you will be in the water and where etc.
Prepare Your Gear
If you are planning a scuba vacation you will have to make sure that you have the correct equipment with you. When on a holiday in more remote areas the chances are that there will be no dive shop around to buy some gear you forgot to pack.
When you dive in warm water you will not need a 7mm wetsuit, which is far more suitable for cold water diving, so make sure you have the right wetsuit which offers a good level of flexibility and fit.
Pack the right fins too, if you are intending to carry a lot of equipment on your dive's such as camera equipment, make sure you pack the fins with the wider channels as they will provide you with better maneuverability in the water.
One of your most important pieces of equipment is your buoyancy compensator device (BCD), not only does it allow you to attain neutral buoyancy in the water it also assists in descents and ascents so ensure it is working properly before you dive if you are not renting.
Ensure that your are weighted correctly, in proportion to the amount of equipment you intend to carry that will increase your neutral buoyancy levels.
If the weights are incorporated into your BCD ensure that the one hand release mechanism is working properly and that it can be easily released.
Make sure that the tanks you hire are tailored to match your planned dive in weight and capacity, and ensure that your regulator has been properly serviced.
Make sure that the mask fits your face correctly and has a nose enclosure and is totally watertight, as over time the seals may perish. Remember your knife or shears just encase you become tangled in nets or line whilst underwater.
Final Pre Dive Checks
The only other thing left to decide is how you are going to get into the water. Will you be walking in off the beach for a shore dive? If so you need to have some understanding of the underwater topography.
Or will you be entering the water from a boat? With the boat you have the option of either rolling in backwards off the side, or making a giant stride off the side of the vessel straight into the water.
Be aware of any reefs where you do decide to enter to avoid collisions and damage when the boat drops its anchor.
Once you have all of your scuba travel plans made and your equipment organized you need to make sure you are well hydrated and in good health before you dive, and make sure that you have an equally well prepared dive buddy with you.
You need to be in a good frame of mind to dive so once you finally get into the water make sure you enjoy it, you have certainly spent long enough preparing for it.
As a scuba diver the chances are that you will have to travel to do your dives. Most of us do not have the luxury of living in exotic places. Planning a scuba holiday is like planning a military operation, you do not want to get stuck on a boat or a beach because you forgot your prescription mask or come to the conclusion you forgot your fins.
Feel free to share your tips and tricks for planning a scuba trip in the comments below.
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Blog written by: Rutger Thole who founded bookyourdive early 2012 because he saw that there was no simple and easy to use platform where divers could go to, to read scuba blogs, browse dive centers within locations and where they could read reviews from other scuba divers.