Scuba diving is a thrilling pastime, but it has an inherent danger; however, this often stems from equipment, and not from divers. An influential 2018 study published by Frontiers in Psychology highlighted this; divers, confident in their own abilities, are likely to neglect their own awareness and treatment of crucial equipment. This means that the chance for equipment to cause a diving accident is heightened in most cases. As a scuba diver, it’s crucial that you ensure that your equipment is completely safe – starting right at the start, at the jetty.
Your safety as a diver starts before you’ve even taken your trip. The boat you head out into deep water on needs to be fit for purpose, or there can be potentially deadly consequences. This was seen last year in the Eastern Cape incident, in which, according to News24.com, two tourists sadly lost their lives after their vessel capsized. Safety errors were highlighted on this case, and one important area is the suitability of the boat. You must ensure that any vessel that you purchase or rent is not only fit for the sea and has the necessary documentation to signal this, but that it has safety equipment for the worst case, too. This means life jackets, flares, warning lights and a way to communicate with the shore. You can’t rely on your ability in the water and your scuba gear to ensure your safety entirely. Indeed, drowning accounts for 7% of all injury-related fatalities, and ensuring your boat is properly equipped is one of the most important measures you can take, no matter how experienced a diver you are.
The five fundamental pieces of kit
When you’re in the water, and in your kit, that are five fundamental pieces that you must have ready and in a good state of repair. According to Scuba Diver Life, these are your dive computer; cutting tool; light; SMB or DSMB and reel; and marine rescue GPD. Crucially, these items require training to use properly. This is especially important with the DSMB, which can cause injury if you rise from the water too rapidly – as every diver knows. Make sure all of this equipment is both in a good state of repair and that you are fully trained in its use. Your computer can influence your DSMB use, for example.
Your diving partners
Scuba diving is, for all but the most experienced, a group activity. Solo diving is extremely dangerous, and solo divers can be at great risk of injury or death, as the tragic case of Bethany Farrell showed. According to a report by the BBC, a lack of expertise was what led to her death; that lack of expertise is why you must work in a group, and why you and your diving buddies should look out for each other and your equipment. Make sure you flag up anything worrying you see on yours or your friend’s equipment to ensure that you are safe – and call off the trip if you’re not satisfied.
Rely on your expertise, but rely on your equipment, too. Don’t think that you can do just as well without it, as your equipment is crucial to your development and safety as a diver. Doing this will help ensure your own health and safety and that of your friends.