You learned it during your open water class. You practiced it in the pool and did it for real before each of your checkout dives, but has the pre-dive safety check left your diving routine now that you are certified? The simple steps of the predive safety check plus a predive planning session can make all the difference between a good dive and a great dive.
The predive safety check is an important ritual that should be performed with your buddy before leaving the boat. For you PADI certified divers, the mnemonic device you learned was, “Begin With Review And Friend”, but I prefer the one I heard the other day, “White Bunnies Are Really Fluffy”. Whatever memory device you use, just make sure you DO a safety check before each dive!
You probably remember from class, “W” is for Weights. If you have integrated weights and you are on a boat, you have likely loaded the weight pockets and stowed them under the bench. Be sure to load them into the BC as you are donning your gear. If you are using a weight belt, it is particularly important to have it on before you don your BC. You learned in open water class how to put a weight belt on while in the water with all your other gear on, but I’m sure this is not a skill you’ve practiced enough to make you eager to perform it in front of a boat full of spectators.
“B” is for BCD. Check for proper adjustment and that the clips are not twisted. Make sure the inflator hose or Octo did not get stuck behind the diver. Look you’re your buddy’s inflator mechanism. There are many new innovations in inflation and you want to be prepared to help your buddy if needed. Check that the tank band is fastened as tightly as possible. Put a little air in the BC and deflate to check that dump valves are working properly. Put air in your BC as appropriate for your entry.
“A” is for air. It is always best to check your air yourself. We all can make mistakes when turning the valve, so the one with the most to lose should do the checking. At Manta Divers, we teach our divers to take a hit of air while looking at the pressure gauge. If the needle moves, you have a problem, but it is more easily addressed prior to entry into the water. This is also a good time to check out your buddy’s alternate air source. Where is it clipped? Does your buddy have a “Safe Second” or “Air Source” system? Know where to look and how to operate the alternate air source before you are in an emergency situation.
“R”, for releases, is an especially important step if you are diving with someone new or with new or unfamiliar gear. Not all clips operate the same. Will you be able to quickly help your buddy ditch gear if needed? Do you know how the clips on your BC work?
Once all your gear is checked verify your planned max depth, time and return air pressure, then give your Final OK and have a safe and fun dive!
In Other News………………
Just think how desperate you will be for a little sunshine and relaxation come January! Get away for a grand dive adventure with Team Manta. There is less than a month left to sign up for the Little Cayman trip. $2627 gets you round trip air, with transfer from airport, 5 days, three boat dives per day in the famed Bloody Bay marine park, accommodations and all meals at Little Cayman Beach resort. 2 dive per day and non diver rates available. 3% discount for those paying in cash or check.
It may be the last hurrah for the season. Join us at Lake Wazee Sept. 27 and 28 for some fun diving and lots of laughs!
Dream job alert! Rainforest Café is looking for a diver to clean their fish tank and care for the fish. The hours are M-F 8am to noon. Call Heather Carnevale at 847-855-7800 ext. 108 for more info!