Underwater Pumpkin Carving - Halloween Tradition for Scuba Divers
Halloween is almost here, and while most people are preparing costumes, putting out spooky decorations and stocking up on candy, scuba divers head to the sea equipped with pumpkins and carving knives.
Underwater pumpkin carving contests have been growing in popularity over the years. One example is the annual contest organized in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary near Key Largo.
The theme for this year's competition was marine life, and underwater artists of various ages could be seen carving sharks, turtles, seahorses, eels, and schools of fish into their pumpkins.
The winners were 16-year-old Sebastian Gimeno and his 14-year-old brother, Gabriel, both from Weston, Florida. They claimed the top prize after impressing the judge with their dolphin and half-moon cutout.
If you too are planning to take this Halloween tradition underwater, keep in mind a few safety tips.
- Wear appropriate exposure protection. Depending on where you dive, water and air temperatures may start to cool off in the early autumn months, so be sure to prepare a thicker suit, gloves, and a hood to enjoy a more comfortable dive.
- Leave the costumes for the topside party. You may have seen pictures of people diving in their Halloween costumes on the internet, but we strongly recommend that you stick to the good old wetsuit. Costumes can be cumbersome, affect your buoyancy, cause entanglement and pose other safety risks.
- Account for the buoyancy of your pumpkin. A hollowed pumpkin tends to be positively buoyant. Place a weight inside your pumpkin to keep it from floating away while you’re carving. Be sure to incorporate this added weight in your dive plan.
- Be careful with your carving knife. Cuts and damaged gear are dangerous and no fun. Carve your pumpkin with care and be cautious. Safely stow your knife before descending and ascending.
- Don’t forget to monitor your air supply and depth. Although underwater pumpkin carving contests are normally hosted at shallow depths, you still need to be aware of your surroundings, dive time and air left in the tank.
- Don’t leave any waste behind. If permitted, scoop out your pumpkin guts prior to the dive. This will make your underwater carving endeavor cleaner and more efficient. Bring a mesh bag to carry out any pumpkin cuts that you make during the competition.
Have a fiendishly fun Halloween and dive safely!
Featured photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, divers participating in an Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest staged Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo, Fla., display their creations. The competition was held 30 feet below the ocean's surface and was organized by the Amoray Dive Resort. (Frazier Nivens/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)