Judging by the number of incident reports we receive the majority of divers hang up their fins for the winter (and very sensible too!). However, as the days lengthen and divers return to the water they should be aware that they will need to work on their skills and fitness to get them back to where they were at the end of the previous season. The incident data show that divers often don't take care to conduct work up dives and to re-hone their skills and this results in a bulge of incidents at the beginning of the season each year.
See the Diving Incidents information contained elsewhere on this site.
Divers who adopt a policy of careful preparation of themselves and their kit are far less likely to encounter problems.
Brian Cumming, BSAC Incidents Advisor
Easter, subject to the vagaries of weather, traffic jams and family commitments, is seen by many divers as the point marking the start of the new diving season. Spring tides, the combined effects of a winter layoff and excesses of Christmas, new or recently serviced (or not) and perhaps unfamiliar kit and generally rusty skills are offset to a certain extent by an enthusiasm for the challenges and opportunities for a new season and the longer daylight hours reducing the SAD effect. The discernable effect of all this is a predictable spike in the Incidents that occur in the early part of the season each year. The spike moves dependent on the weather so that poor weather over Easter often moves the spike to the May bank holiday weekend.
"There are lies, damned lies and statistics" and I'm sure none of us wishes to become a statistic and want to avoid any unpleasant trips to the Chamber or worse.
Now is the time to be starting, if you haven't already, to prepare for the challenges of the new season. Those of you who have braved the cold of the winter and continued to dive can be smug in the knowledge that this is one of the best ways to prepare but please read on.
The BSAC Safety First programme provides a wealth of guidance and advice in preparing for the challenges of a new season and includes suggestions for refresher training and some of the points to consider before returning to the type of diving you were doing at the end of the previous season. Even if you have maintained dive fitness over the winter by diving regularly you still need to consider the tidal implications of moving out of the quarry and back to the sea or increasing depths. That winter warm water break diving may help keep skills fresh but consider the differences between buoyancy control with a wetsuit and with a drysuit? And what about the extra insulation restricting movement and the loss of dexterity with those nice thick gloves?
Safety First can be found at Safety First Section
It is aimed at both Branches and BSAC Centres to offer dedicated programmes to all members and divers and for individuals to develop and refresh their own skills.
Think SAFE - Dive SAFE