Scuba diving is an activity usually done in groups, and is fun and exciting for all participants. The exception is when someone in the group fails to follow proper scuba diving etiquette.
As with all group activities, etiquette should be one of the first considerations. Etiquette is the formal set of rules devised to help a group perform at its peak, and with as little social friction as possible. Eliminate etiquette, and you eliminate the group.
In group activities with some level of danger, etiquette is even more important than ever. With activities such as scuba diving, etiquette is not just a matter of manners, but a matter of safety.
Here are a few rules of scuba diving etiquette that should be at the top of your list:
Don’t Go for a Dive Above Your Experience
There is nothing wrong with wanting to push yourself a bit. After all, it is difficult to know what we are capable of if we don’t push past what we have done before.
But there is a fine line between self-improvement and foolishness. One leaves you a little better than you were before. The other leaves everyone else wishing you had stayed home.
Getting in over your head can lead you to underwater panic: a situation that can cost you your life if you cannot get it under control.
There are a number of things you can do for yourself if you happen to be in that situation. But the absolute best thing you can do is avoid it altogether by not signing up for dives you know you are not ready for.
Diving isn’t for everyone. And there are some dives that will always be beyond you. Know your limits before causing a group to have to deal with your lack of preparation.
Show up with the Right Gear
It is not anyone else’s responsibility to supply necessary safety gear. Don’t get on the boat asking to borrow gear that you should have bought yourself. As a matter of course, you should always have the following:
- Wetsuit and fins
- Dive knife
- Signal torch
- Dive computer
If you find that you left something behind, you need to pick it up at the dive store if there is time, or sit this one out. There is always the next time.
Using an unfamiliar dive computer could be a matter of life and death in a crisis. Always come prepared for safety.
The Best Scuba Diving Etiquette Is to Take Care of Yourself
Do you get cranky when you don’t eat a Snickers? Then bring one.
Better yet, bring three. Bring whatever it takes to keep you level-headed.
Dive boat etiquette is largely about making sure you have what you need for a successful dive.
That includes things like packing dry clothes and towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, sea-sickness medicine, and of course, snacks.
This is not about selfishness. If you don’t take care of yourself on a dive, that means someone else will have to. And that becomes a bad dive for everyone.
Bad dives happen even to the best divers. Sometimes the best scuba diving etiquette you can practice is to know when the dive is bad, and get out early.
Stay within your skill level. Come prepared for safety. And take care of your own personal needs. Underwater, you can’t help anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself.