While rare, underwater emergencies can — and do — happen. Here’s how quick-witted divers prepare for crises.
1. Learn Self-Reliance You can’t help others if you can’t help your- self first. Knowing that you can take care of yourself is the first step in pre- paring for underwater emergencies; a rescue-diver course is a great way to build skills and confidence.
2. Maintain Your Gear Equipment problems are the easiest underwater emergencies to avoid. Have your reg and BC serviced regularly, check your mask and fin straps for cracks, and do a predive check before you enter the water.
3. Follow A Plan “Plan your dive and dive your plan” is about more than just sticking to your dive profile. It means understanding the challenges you might face on each dive, and en- suring everyone who is going into the water has the proper skills and equipment to deal with those challenges.
4. Be Proactive The best way to deal with an emergency is to stop it before it starts. Keep an eye on your dive buddy or group, watching for telltale signs of trouble, such as a diver with wide, unseeing eyes who might be on the verge of a panic attack.
5. Know Your Escape Route In a crisis, your top priority is getting yourself and the victim out of the water quickly and safely. On shore dives, this means knowing how to reach your exit point from the surface. On boat dives, it means learning the crew members’ emergency protocols.