Plan Your Dive
And Dive Your Plan
"Plan your dive and dive your plan" is an expression we have been promoting on this day site from day 1 of creating this website.
But what does it really mean, especially to new, inexperienced divers?
We recently came across a great Divematrix forum on this topic, created by a NAUI Dive Instructor and viewer of this site, Bob (The Grateful Diver) Bailey, that we feel every diver should read and understand.
In our opinion, Plan Your Dive entails everything from:
- ensuring you have proper training, experience and equipment for the dives you plan to make
- preparing your own Plan Your Dive Checklists
- having your equipment properly inspected and serviced at an authorized local dive shop prior to your dives
- preparing your own Save-a-dive-kit
- learning about the Dive site that you plan on diving, the local weather conditions and the tides and currents
- advising friends or families where you are going, what British Columbia hotel you are going to stay at, who you are going with and what time you plan on returning
- planning how long you will dive, how deep you will go, your required decompression/safety stops, all based on the proper dive tables and your air consumption rate
- who your dive buddy is, who else is in your dive group and what their skill levels are
- how you are getting to the dive site, how you are entering the water, and how and where are you exiting the water
- exactly when (remaining gas level) you will begin your ascent, even if you haven't seen what you wanted to see
- what to do in case of emergency
Once you have considered all of the above points and have planned your dive - Stick to it!
Unfortunately, diving accidents can and do happen. Whether they are a result of other non-related health issues, equipment malfunction, insufficient training for the conditions, or other reasons, the better prepared you are, the better the chances of having a fun, safe, memorable dive.
I am a self confessed 'Airhog' and I definitely need to learn more about gas management, so again I refer to the experience of The Grateful Diver.
When I took my Open Water Course, I was taught to always have at least 500 PSI of air left in my tank.
Partly for safety, and partly for the ability to blow the water off the regulator dust cap prior to putting away my gear!?
But other than watching my pressure gauge or dive computer often, I wasn't really taught how to do this.
On my last dive to the Chaudiere on the Sunshine Coast, for a variety of reasons, I exited the water with 0 psi - not good!
I need to review Bob's Gas management plan!
The 30 second summary of his excellent document is that all divers must review their logs, calculate their air consumption rates, and consider that with your planned depth and bottom time.
Again, we recommend that everyone reads the full article.
Unless you are a properly trained technical diver, don't be so worried about how deep you can go. What's the old saying - "it's not the destination that matters it's the journey" or something like that anyway.
That is especially true for diving and exploring the amazing undersea world.
Remember, the deeper you go, the more air you consume and the shorter your journey will be!
One general rule of thumb that he suggests is to not dive deeper than the cubic feet of air in your tank. So if you are diving with an aluminum 80 cubit foot tank, limit your dive to 80'.
If you want to dive deeper, ensure you have the proper training and equipment.
So from start to finish, fully plan your dive and organize your whole dive trip.
And once you've spent the time planning your dive(s), communicate the plan to your buddy, and ensure you stick to it!
If you see something you really wanted to stay longer for, follow the plan anyway, enjoy your surface interval time, and then plan to see it on your return dive.
If gas consumption is an issue for you too, return to your LDS and/or arrange for some additional training about ways to improve your gas consumption - a little wisdom from an experienced diver, a little more training and practice goes a long way.
Remember, plan your dives and dive your plan! Dive safe everyone.