DIve Safety By: Dustin Molina

Dive Safety is the most important factor in a successful dive. Without it, there can be some serious consequences to you or even others. Today im going to go over two things.

  1. Pre-dive equipment check
  2. Diving dangers

Pre-Dive Safety check is an important safety check that should be performed by every diver no matter what level of diving you may be. This check is performed by a Diver and their buddy before descending on a dive as a final inspection of the dive equipment before diving. The Pre-Dive safety check ensures that your equipment is working, and also familiarizes yourself with your buddies equipment should you need to assist or receive assistance from him. Most diving accidents and incidents are said to be preventable by the diver simply having properly conducted a pre-dive safety check. Despite the warnings, most divers seldom perform this crucial gear check before a dive, and rush to descend. Especially with your equipment being set-up by someone else, a diver should always inspect his own gear and perform a buddy check before descent.

Check your buddies BC, check if the inflator hose is connected correctly and do a quick puff to ensure the inflator button doesn’t stick. Also deflate the BCD to make it deflates correctly. If you are performing the check in the water, also check your own buoyancy to ensure you are weighted correctly.

Weights/Weight Belt : Check that your buddies weight belt is on properly with the loose end tied correctly and tucked in a manner that will allow for quick release. Make sure you are familiar with the type of weight belt or integrated weights being used by your dive buddy and you know how to release them should you need to.

Make sure your buddy’s air is turned all the way on and half a turn back. Make them take a couple of breaths while you watch the pressure gauge for fluctuations in the needle, or simply purge the regulator while watching the needle. Check that the tank is full and check all air connectors for leaks. You should check your buddies alternate air source by taking a couple of breaths from it and ensuring that it is clipped on the BCD and visible.

Final check is a visual inspection, of fins, mask, snorkel and testing dive flashlights if necessary, take a compass bearing, check your dive computer, and make sure the two of you are on the same page. Nothings worse than a miscommunication underwater and either someone gets lost or hurt.

There are several different dangers that can occur during a dive.

Barotrauma is caused by the damage done by increased underwater pressure on the air pocket in the middle ear. Divers usually "equalize" during a dive by pinching their nose shut and blowing, by chewing or by swallowing to push more air into the middle air. But a descent that is too rapid can overcome a diver's ability to equalize and result in severe pain and even injury to the middle ear. Thats why we are taught to equalize ___ and ____!

Decompression Sickness often called "the bends," is caused by increased underwater pressure causing the body's tissues to absorb more nitrogen. If that pressure is suddenly reduced, this extra nitrogen forms potentially harmful bubbles. Deep divers return to the surface in carefully monitored stages so as to control the rate at which the absorbed nitrogen is released. Depending on the amount of nitrogen absorbed and the rate at which it was released, a case of the bends can range from aching joints or a skin rash to paralysis and death. Thats why its important to plan your dive accordingly, make sure you have enough air for your safety stops.

Nitrogen Narcosis- another nitrogen-related danger is the narcotic effect of all that extra nitrogen in the body. Anyone who has had nitrous-oxide gas at the dentist is already familiar with this effect. Nitrogen narcosis is a danger because it impairs judgement and sensory perception. As with the bends, the degree of nitrogen narcosis is related to how deep a diver goes and how much nitrogen they absorb

Oxygen toxicity is usually a problem only encountered by deep divers who go below 135 feet. Like nitrogen, the body absorbs extra oxygen under increased underwater pressure as well. For most divers this is not a problem, but at extreme depths so much extra oxygen is absorbed that this life-giving gas becomes toxic. The effects range from tunnel vision and/or nausea to twitching to loss of consciousness and/or seizures.

Another risk facing a diver who rapidly ascends to the surface is pulmonary embolism. The increased pressure of the undersea environment results in the gas a diver breathes becoming denser, as more gas is crammed into the same space under pressure. The gas held in the lungs will expand at the same rate that the pressure on the body is reduced, so a rapid ascent can cause the lungs to swell and even pop like a balloon. Divers guard against pulmonary embolism by making slow, controlled ascents to the surface and by never _____ their breath.

Divers should never forget that each dive is the equivalent of entering an untamed wilderness. While most sea creatures are not aggressive towards divers and attacks are extremely rare, incidents do happen and a diver cannot afford to forget that they are surrounded by wild animals. The TV wildlife host "Crocodile Hunter" was killed in 2006 when he was stung through the chest by a stingray, a frequently encountered and usually harmless sea creature. Divers should always treat sea life with great care and respect. Unlike Memphis, John, and me poking the gator at the spring.

Many casual scuba divers do not own their own equipment, and are therefore reliant on renting equipment from the scuba diving operator who is conducting their dive trip. A broken depth gauge could lead to a mild case of decompression sickness, while a bad regulator might result in drowning. A diver should always thoroughly check rented scuba diving equipment, and never be shy about asking for a new piece of gear if they suspect something is wrong with what they have.

To sum this presentation up, we learned that we need to check our gear and also our buddies gear before entering the water. We can avoid so much by just taking a little extra time to make sure everything is working properly. We also went over some possibilities that can happen to our bodies if we become negligent. Please take in to consideration what we went over today so your dives can stay safe and enjoyable.

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