The buddy system has been at the heart of recreational scuba diving since its very beginning. Nearly all new open water divers are taught to make pre-dive safety checks, practice descents and ascents, as well as perform air-sharing skills in buddy pairs. This, however, is not the only way to dive. Solo diving has become a preferred option for many scuba divers worldwide, with some of the major training agencies now offering solo and self-reliant diver training courses. Still, the topic of solo diving remains one of the most controversial in the scuba community.
Having someone at your side grants you a sense of safety and gives you confidence. Nevertheless, it may happen that you lose sight of each other during the dive. Getting separated from your buddy can be an unpleasant experience evoking anxiety and disorientation. So you should know how to prevent and deal with buddy separation if it does happen to you.
Scuba diving goes hand in hand with a buddy system and we won’t be the first to tell you about its importance; however, with such a crucial topic as this one, repetition is more than necessary. For beginners, having a buddy on a dive is a must. That being said, even if you are a professional diver, a good buddy can literally be a life-saver in some situations. So, let’s look at why the buddy system is so important, how to find a good buddy, and how to become a better buddy yourself.
Every diver has been taught the importance of buddy system and its role in resolving underwater emergencies. Indeed, having somebody at your side can be invaluable in case things go wrong. However, relying too much on your fellow divers defeats the purpose of the approach, as the diver who can’t help himself is likely to be of little assistance to his buddy. Therefore, you should strive to be a self-sufficient diver. Developing self-reliance skills does not only make for a stronger buddy pair, but also helps, if you get separated from your buddy or for some reason need to perform a dive alone.
Whether you are diving shallow or deep, from a boat or shore, and following any type of the profile, most of your dives will end with a vertical ascent to the surface. Therefore, safe ascent control is one of the most crucial scuba skills every diver should master. Unless performed correctly, ascent is often the part of the dive that carries the greatest risk of injury.