Pre-dive Safety Check

patti on boardDue to a very good comment on Facebook, I have decided to add another paragraph to this article.  Huge thanks to James Lapenta for his input

Conducting a standard pre-dive safety check before every dive is a great habit to get into. Every agency teaches students to check over their own and their buddies’ equipment.  The purpose in this is to make sure that everything is working properly, but also to familiarize yourself with your dive buddies’ equipment in the event of an emergency.  Common practice in many areas today is to get on the boat where someone else has assembled the equipment, be assigned a dive buddy, don your equipment and shuffle to the back of the boat where a “dive master” turns on your tank and “helps” you into the water.

While quirky little sayings such as “begin with review and friend” may eventually be all that is needed to conduct a quality pre-dive safety check, it is not a bad idea to begin a diving career with a written checklist.  This list can even be handed off to buddies who are unfamiliar with your diving style so that they can complete the check also. 

By the end of this article, you should see the importance of taking responsibility for your safety by taking the time to conduct a pre-dive safety check.

  • Buoyancy

    • This step consists of checking BCDs (buoyancy compensation devices), making sure that they are buckled and working (will inflate and deflate)
  • Weights

    • Regardless of the type of weight system you are using (integrated or weight belt), they should be quick release and easy to get to. Make sure you are familiar with the type of weight system your buddy is using, and that they are familiar with yours.
  • Releases

    • There are many types of releases to check here, important ones include the tank cam band, BCD buckles, and weight releases (there is a bit of redundancy built in to this step).
  • Air

    • Check your and your buddies air supplies, make sure that the tank is fully turned on (No ¼ turn!). Listen for any leaks, and test the regulators by taking at least three full breaths while looking at your gauge console for any movement on the pressure gauge.
  • Final OK

    • This is a cursory glance over the general state of your buddies equipment and readiness. Make sure everything is ready to go before jumping in.

By insisting on a simple check before diving, you can prevent many of the accidents that occur in our sport. Too often, people begin their dives with a weight belt tucked so that it is not easily releasable, or with their tank not turned on fully, and these simple mistakes can have disastrous outcomes. Save a life, get into the practice of conducting a thorough and standardized pre-dive safety check before every dive.

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