Improve Your Buddy Skills: How To Become a Better Dive Buddy
Dive buddies can either make your diving experience so special, or they can completely ruin the experience for you. Having a dive buddy is meant to make your diving experience easier, smoother and safer, not the complete opposite.
Becoming a good buddy doesn’t just happen to us naturally, it’s a learning curve that takes learning and practice. It can be especially difficult when you’re solo travelling and need to be paired up with a new buddy on a diving trip. That’s where we’re here to help, so you can be the best buddy you can possibly be!
Read on to discover more about the ways in which you can become a better buddy, as well as become a better diver!
Make Sure You Take Proper Safety Equipment On All Dives
Before you plan and pack for your dive, make sure that you have a checklist with you of all the diving equipment and accessories you’ll need for those dives. There are a few select pieces of safety equipment, beyond your basic kit, that can improve your safety a lot. Some of the extra equipment that you may need to consider are the following:
- Dive knife or scissors: In case you or your buddy get into trouble if you become entangled.
- SMB/DSMB: So others on the surface can find your location underwater
- Dive torch: To signal your buddy when needed
- First aid kit: In case you or your buddy need medical attention after your dive
Do a Proper Buddy Check
You need to make sure that it’s safe for you and your buddy to enter the water before you go diving. So it’s important to complete a full buddy check before you enter the water.
- (B - BCD) Check your BCD
- (W - Weights) Check your weights.
- (R - Releases) Check your buddy’s releases.
- (A - Air) Check your air.
- (F - Final) Check again.
We suggest that you create a mnemonic and make it a fun way to remember the important gear check system! When I first started diving, my Dive Instructor helped me to remember BWARF using: Breakfast With Rice And Fish. Not something I’d choose for breakfast, but the saying stuck!
So once you know that you and your buddy are ready, equipped and everything is in great working order, there will be less chance of equipment failure happening or running into trouble when you’re in the water.
Always Maintain Proper Buddy Communication
Ensure that you talk through communication pointers and hand signals before you go diving so it makes communication easier when you’re in the water. Go through all the basic, safety and sea creature hand signals before you jump in the water so that both you and your buddy know the signals.
While you're diving, keep checking in and communicating with your buddy to check if they’re okay, how much air they have left, etc. so you know that all is well when diving. And make sure that you always keep your buddy close and always within eyesight so that if you need their assistance or you need to communicate with them, it won’t be difficult to do so.
Take The Rescue Course
By continuing your education by taking the Rescue Course or the EFR course, you are learning new skills that can potentially save you or your buddy’s life during emergency situations. We believe that one of the most important courses that every diver needs to take is the Rescue Diver Course.
To be able to be ready and react to diving emergencies will ensure a safer dive for you and your buddy. By becoming a rescue diver, it will teach you new ways to expand your water skills, techniques and how to apply them in a crisis. Not only will you learn new skills, but you'll also be improving and expanding your existing water skills!Find out more about the Rescue Course by visiting your local dive centre.
Practice makes perfect
As they say, practice really makes perfect! Keep learning, practising your skills and you’ll become a pro diver! The more you dive, the better you become!
Try new places, dive in new conditions and explore new adventures. By diving in different places, you’ll become more confident and learn how to handle different conditions. By doing this, it'll allow you to develop your skills and broaden your diving knowledge, therefore increasing your and your buddy’s dive safety.
Always Listen To Their Concerns
If your buddy is nervous before their dive, try communicating and listening to their concerns. Addressing their concerns can make them feel more relaxed and feel at ease before they go diving. The last thing that you want to happen is for your buddy to panic underwater because they’re nervous or concerned about a situation. These situations can easily be avoided if you communicate and resolve them before diving.
Plan Your Dive
Plan your dive so both you and your buddy know the plan of action. Before your dive, check that you and your buddy are on the same page when it comes to the dive pace and what you both want to achieve. Some people like to take longer to look at certain things because they’re a photographer or love looking at little nudibranchs. Others love to cover more ground and discover more about what the dive site has to offer. Plan your dive so you know your max depth, your goals and pace.
Respect the ocean
A good dive buddy respects the ocean and will protect it from harm. This is especially the case if the harm comes from a fellow scuba diver. As scuba divers, we have a responsibility to protect the ocean, and that starts with influencing your dive buddy to do the same.
If you see that your buddy is not respecting the ocean, marine life or coral, politely ask them to stop. Move away from the corals or marine life if needed.
We’re Here to Help
If you have any questions about becoming a better buddy or any of the topics mentioned, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org where we have a team of scuba diving professionals, here to assist you with any questions that you may have.