With the weather brightening, diving season is well on the way and now is a great time to make sure you're prepared.
Although it is a common part of diving in the UK to promote the need to get ready for an approaching diving season, not everyone starts the season at an early stage. The added complication over recent years with the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that many have had a significant layoff and are more reluctant to make an early start to the diving season.
Even those who dive throughout the year may have been limited by a recent infection and the requirement to delay a return to diving as required by current medical advice. BSAC guidance for a safe return to diving can be found online at preparation for a return to diving.
Been out of the water for a while?
Detailed guidance, including return to diving safety webinars, can be found online covering relevant subjects including:
Personal fitness and preparation
Take steps to prepare yourself physically and mentally for a time when you are able to resume diving. Start slowly with a level of exercise that suits you and build on it slowly. You don’t need a gym or specialist equipment but sharing with a buddy can make it more enjoyable.
Make arrangements to have your equipment serviced in plenty of time. Not every service centre may be open at this time and travel restrictions may impact on your ability to visit any centre that is open. If you are able to book a slot it will help to ensure there are no unnecessary delays.
Plan your initial dives to allow yourself time to build up to an appropriate level of depth and level of challenge for a dive, avoiding strong tidal effects.
Plan to refresh and practice skills in a controlled environment before undertaking more adventurous dives. Buoyancy control and DSMB deployment are frequently key skills implicated as factors contributing to incidents.
Already actively diving?
Those who are already actively diving post-pandemic can still benefit from the guidance in a couple of ways.
Firstly, a review of the guidance will help confirm that you have already implemented the core content of the guidance, thereby assuring you of the appropriateness of your own preparation. It is also worth checking as a reminder of the odd small point that may have been omitted.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, you act as both a role model and potentially an instructor/coach for others less prepared. Accessing and utilising the instructor resources created for this can help consolidate your teaching in support of members.
Learning from early-season incidents
BSAC, the rescue services, and other diving organisations frequently highlight the increased risks and the importance of preparing for the start of a new diving season. The BSAC Incident Report 2019 provides some helpful data in support of this.
Additionally, in presenting the 2019 ‘Incident Report 2019 and lessons to be learned’, Clare Peddie highlighted some important aspects shown by the 2019 data. An extract from this presentation on early-season incidents can be seen online. The full incident report can be found online along with the 2020 incident report and presentation can also be found.
Safety & Development Manager