As a scuba diver, one of the tasks that you'll need to accomplish for each dive is planning out the dive. Entry-level divers are taught how to use dive tables, working through numbers and turning slates until they're able to create a plan that not only makes sense, but will also be easy to execute.
But if you're a new diver, or even if you're an experienced diver looking for ways to improve and enjoy every scuba dive to the fullest continue reading for a few important and helpful tips and to learn more about this important topic.
First Off, Remember to Use What You Learn
There are plenty of great tips and tricks that divers of all levels learn in diving school, but many of these lessons are soon forgotten and are never implemented as they should be in the real world.
When it comes to fun diving trips, you usually don't see everyone utilizing all of the skills that they worked hard to learn when they started with scuba lessons. For example, it still happens divers will end up sharing the same dive computer even though they learned in their training that this isn't safe.
Or, worse yet, they may end up leaving all of the responsibility of planning the dive up to the guide or instructor. And they don't often ask whether or not they'll be able to remain within table limits.
The truth is that a dive guide has the very important role of showing divers a dive site and pointing out the diverse marine life, as well as the various features that it has to offer to divers of all levels. The guides are also there to take care of divers during an emergency.
This is why it's so important to listen to briefings from your guide, as these will discuss maximum depth, bottom time, and other information that can be used to make decisions when it comes to planning your individual dive.
Planning a scuba trip? Then you should download the ultimate scuba dive checklist today so you will not forget to bring anything you need.
What Tools Can Be Used to Plan a Dive?
To make the process of planning your dive easier, there's a range of tools you can use. A dive computer usually will provide a depth gauge, as well as a timing device, and you can use these with just about any recreational dive planner in order to calculate your individual depth limits and bottom time.
How Can You Stay Within Personal Limits?
To remain safe throughout a dive, you have to know what your personal limits are, and you have to stay within those limitations. Standard diving equipment that you take with you on every dive should have a timing device and depth gauge. Use this to control your depth and always remain within your no-deco and qualification limits.
Also read: How to Perform the Pre-Dive Safety Check?
Remember that it's up to you to take responsibility for your own safety by controlling your bottom time and depth, even if a great dive guide is there to assist you in planning the dive. Once in the water, you're the one who needs to execute the plan that you set.
After all, a dive guide may take your certification limit into consideration while briefing you on your general dive plan, but it's up to you to know your own personal limits, so be sure to include these limitations when you're planning.
Consider things like the date of your last dive, your level of physical fitness, your experience in the water, and how comfortable you are in the water.
Stick with Your Plan, But Abort Whenever Necessary
It can't be stressed enough that, once you have a solid dive plan in place, you should stay within the limits that you've established in terms of the time you will spend in the water and how deep you will go.
And remember, too, that you don't have to push yourself to your limit each time either in order to fully appreciate and enjoy the dive.
Also, it may be tempting to deviate from your plan, especially when you see something interesting at a greater depth than your limit, so having a contingency plan is a good idea. Plan the depth a few meters shallower than your maximum depth according to your certification level.
And, no matter what, if you find yourself in dangerous, strenuous, and unsafe conditions, return to your boat or the shore by cutting the dive short.
How do you plan your dive? Let us know in the comments below
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Article written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam, he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.