Many non-divers mistakenly think that scuba cylinders are filled with pure oxygen. In reality, most divers use natural air (filtered and dehumidified) to breathe underwater. There are also a few other gas mixtures and gasses than can be used for scuba. So, let’s take a look at what those are and why one might need to use them.
Good communication between dive buddies is essential to a safe and enjoyable dive. Signaling can help you to communicate intentions, give direction, ask your dive buddy if they’re okay, how much air they have, or inform them about a problem. The most common method of underwater communication is through hand signals. However, such factors as darkness, silt, or plankton can affect the visibility underwater in a negative way and hamper your ability to communicate effectively. So what do you do, if there is a risk you may not be able to use hand signals? Let’s look at a few alternative methods of communication that you can use depending on dive conditions.
As we all know, human eyes are poorly adapted to seeing in water. Therefore, a mask is among the essential parts of a scuba gear set. That being said, almost every diver at one point or another during their time underwater has experienced mask leaks. And while for experienced divers, having to remove a scuba mask underwater is a nuisance, many new divers struggle with mask clearing techniques. A suddenly flooded or removed mask is one of the most common sources of panic. Learning how to prevent it and deal with the situation calmly is a crucial skill, which, though sometimes scary, can be mastered with the correct technique and a lot of repetitive practice.
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.
Shore diving is one of the most underrated diving forms. Contrary to the common misconception, many fantastic dive sites can be found just off the shores. It is also not, as some people think, an activity that only novice divers would enjoy. In fact, shore diving can sometimes be more challenging and require more planning and preparation than a simple backward roll off of a boat. Despite the extra work, shore diving is very rewarding, and if you have never tried it you may be missing out big time.
The spring is finally rolling around, and for many, it marks the beginning of a new dive season. Unless you live in a tropical climate or enjoy cold water diving, it has probably been a few months since your last dive, which means that both your gear and skills may have gotten rusty over the winter. So, here are some useful tips to help you prepare for the upcoming scuba season and make sure that everything is ready for you to get into the water.
Scuba vacation is a great way to relax, unwind, meet new people and, of course, enjoy some lovely diving. Beware though, as you can often come across “that guy” - a discourteous diver, who completely ruins the experience for everybody around. Now the tricky part is that if you take a good look around your dive boat and can’t spot that annoying guy (or gal), you are either very lucky, or it might be you! So, here are a few tips on how to avoid the most common scuba faux pas and ensure that you will fit right in on board of every dive boat.
Wreck diving is among the favorite activities for many scuba divers of different skill and experience levels. It presents a great opportunity to explore a piece of history, engage in archeology and observe the creatures living in the wreck. Certain wrecks, however, are positioned in places that require additional training, for instance, deeper than recreational depth limits or in locations with strong currents. Moreover, even relatively shallow wrecks can still contain some hazards that inexperienced divers may not be aware of.
For many people, altitude diving means plunging into the crystal clear waters of a picturesque lake, surrounded by the snow-capped mountains. In reality, however, you don’t always have to climb the Alps in order to experience diving at an altitude and even feel the impact of the reduced surface pressure. In fact, if you go to Montana, Wyoming or Idaho, essentially all of your dives in those states will be considered altitude dives!
For many divers scuba is an activity associated with warm waters and exotic destinations. They dive during the summer or on a tropical vacation, but when the winter hits they mothball their equipment and wait for the warmer weather. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are one of those divers, who happen to live where the water gets colder this time of the year, you can take full advantage of the “off season” by giving cold water diving a try. Here are a few things you should know before taking a plunge into those chilly waters.
Night diving is one of those things that are fascinating and frightening at the same time. Many divers, afraid of what might be lurking beyond the beam of their dive light, are hesitant to go down into dark waters. However, just a bit of mental adjustment, training, and proper dive equipment can make night driving an incredibly rewarding activity. In fact, some divers enjoy the tranquility of diving in darkness and the slower pace of a night dive so much that it becomes their favorite type of diving.
Wall diving is an activity that often evokes mixed feelings and even a cautious attitude. However, this seemingly intimidating type of scuba adventure is not difficult or dangerous if you are properly prepared. In fact, many divers fall in love with wall diving once they experience that thrill of looking down at the deep blue void combined with an overwhelming beauty of vibrant marine fife.
Ear clearing is an essential skill for both scuba and freediving, yet it is also one of the most common issues divers have. An estimated 25% of all divers consistently find themselves struggling to equalize. Contrary to the popular belief, in most cases, it is the technique that causes trouble, not the anatomy or illness. In a very few individuals allergies, chronic infection or nasal polyps may play a role.
When you are about to dive underwater, your scuba gear is your life support, and having it properly setup is key to a safe and comfortable dive. Therefore, your pre-dive preparation and especially the equipment check shouldn’t be taken lightly. In case there are any equipment issues, it is important that you discover them before getting into the water.