It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new dive site. Novices are easily fascinated by marine life and mesmerized by the astounding beauty of the underwater world, which could probably lead beginning divers to make rookie missteps. Here are the nine newbie diving mistakes to avoid as you hone your underwater skills.
Low dive frequency
You obtain the open water certification, and not until a couple of months later, comes the next dive. For beginners, certification is not an 100% guarantee for being capable of scuba diving. No practice, no proficiency. Try to dive on your holidays, honing the skills, planning a dive as soon as possible in the wake of your certification.
Shy to ask
Every diver has a beginning when learning diving. Don’t be embarrassed to make sure that you’re clear on what’s happening. There is no shame in requesting clarification or looking for guidance. Diving is potentially life-threatening, double-check any time you have the slightest doubt about anything.
Neglecting gear maintenance
Scuba gear supports you staying underwater, thus every single strap, buckle, hose, gauge, seam, and zipper matters. Make sure you know how to assemble a scuba unit which is in excellent condition. Once you finish the dive, care for your equipment right away to make your investment in scuba gear last longer. If you bought freshly serviced equipment, such as a dive computer, test it in the local pool before your trip.
Skipping your buddy check
Don’t forget the basics or think you don’t need a buddy check. As the most basic safety procedure, a pre-dive safety check is a concise and methodical way to ensure that you’re prepared for the dive and nothing has been missed. Individual divers ought to check if the other's diving equipment is configured and functioning correctly just before the start of the dive.
It’s not uncommon that people are so excited and eager to take underwater photos to capture the spectacular marine scenery, but newbies already have a lot to deal with: buoyancy, air, relative position and other divers around. Try not to do too many tasks at once when you’re still learning new skills, because adding extra activities could possibly make your brain overloaded.
Forgetting to check air consumption
Air is the most important thing to a diver. As a beginner, it’s vital to keep a close watch on your air-pressure gauge every few minutes and learn how much you have. This also helps to ensure your depth and time are appropriate.
Lack of situational awareness
Newbies tend to focus on specific objects, such as their equipment or the marine creatures, and thus miss the bigger picture. Wall dives are particularly a problematic common issue because divers along the wall fail to notice that they’re descending below limits. Being unaware of the depth can get you caught in a current or pull you away from the boat or the rest of the group. Also pay attention to your surroundings; be careful not to kick near another diver’s face.
Totally relying on your guide
Dive briefings might sound boring to you before you splash into the water, but ignoring them is an unwise choice, especially when you are rookie or new to the dive spot. Customers tend to assume the guide can ensure their safety from the beginning to the end. However, every diver must be ultimately responsible for themselves, even if there’s a guide around to check for currents, monitor bottom times, and check depth limits.
Not logging dives
Some may regard diving as a light-hearted pleasure rather than a serious hobby, so they skip keeping their dive logs up-to-date, but logging has several benefits: it records the amount of weight you need with various combinations of gear to improve your buoyancy, it provides proof that you have completed certain types of dives because you may need it later for diving at some challenging sites or advanced dive courses. Instead of a paper logbook, now you can log your dives digitally.
A good diver is a relaxed diver. Be an active participant in your own dive adventure and responsible for your own safety. Go steady and stay controlled; know your training limits and never dive beyond them. Thus, set yourself on the path to be a better diver.
- Elena Wu, Senior Editor