Remember to plan
Many incidents occur simply because divers forget the basic principles of dive planning, dive leadership and dive marshalling. Whether this has anything to do with being 'on holiday' or not I do not know but, if divers want to ensure that they have a safe holiday, these basic safe diving principles should be adhered to on every dive.
It is the dive marshal's responsibility to ensure that all those diving are fit enough, properly equipped, and experienced enough to do the dive in question.
I use the word experienced rather than qualified deliberately. While qualification level may be a good indicator of a diver's ability at the lower levels, it most certainly cannot be guaranteed higher up the qualification scale.
It is doubly important, therefore, that the dive marshal ensures that he knows the experience level of all those divers on the boat. While each diver has to be responsible for his own safety below the surface, ultimately the responsibility for the safety of those divers rests with the dive marshal. It is a vitally important role and cannot be allowed to lapse because you are 'on holiday'.
Each dive plan must be agreed by both the divers and the dive marshal, and should contain the following details as a minimum:
- Maximum dive time
- Maximum planned depth
- Time to leave the bottom
- Air capacity and maximum air duration
- Maximum length of any decompression stops
- Latest time on the surface
- Plan of the dive itself, where will you go, what will you do?
- Who will lead the dive?
- Separation procedures
- Are you using a bottom line?
- Are you deploying a delayed SMB?
- Are you carry any surface location aids?
Without these details, a dive marshal will have difficulty in knowing when to put a rescue plan into operation, perhaps wasting vital time.
We go diving for fun but it can cease to be fun very quickly when one of our friends is involved in a serious incident which, had we been more careful, could have easily been avoided.