Prior to entering the water for a dive, it’s essential to go through a predive safety check with your buddy. A number of things could happen to your scuba equipment from the moment you assembled your gear to the moment you giant stride into the water. A rocking boat ride could damage your equipment, crack your computer screen or break your mask. A helpful crewmate might think they are turning your cylinder on but really roll the valve off. A large amount of equipment failures can be noticed during a predive safety check with your buddy and let’s be realistic… we want to catch those things before the dive, not during!
So let’s get started with the five simple steps of the SDI Pre-dive Safety Check.
- Air on – Simply looking at your pressure gauge is not proper validation your cylinder is full, even if its reading would indicate that to be true. During the first step of the predive safety check, you must look at the pressure gauge while breathing off your regulator. If the needle drops with each inhaled breath you take, the cylinder is turned off. Kindly ask your buddy to open the valve all the way. In the event the needle on your pressure gauge bounces back and forth while you are breathing, it is most likely due to the fact that your cylinder valve is slightly cracked open. Again, kindly ask your buddy to open the valve all the way. Validate your alternate air source is functioning properly by breathing off it. This is a good time to locate your buddy’s alternate air source as well because after all, in the event of an out-of-gas emergency, it will be helpful to know exactly where that alternate air source is located!
- BCD (buoyancy compensator device) inflated – Inflate your BCD and verify it holds gas in it. Have your buddy look over your BCD and point out any noticeable differences between your scuba diving configuration and theirs. Maybe you have a crotch strap and he/she does not. Are your inflators located at the same location? It’s important to get to know your buddy’s dive configuration above water so if you need to lend any assistance in the water you are familiar with the layout of your buddy’s gear. Keep the BCD inflated until you are in the water, ready to descend.
- Computer on – Confirm your dive computer is on and functioning. Verify you have sufficient battery time remaining for the dive, make sure the straps are secure, and lastly, verify the correct gas is selected to insure that accurate No Decompression times are displayed during the dive.
- Dive equipment complete (personal equipment and scuba equipment) – This is a good time to ensure you have your necessary personal dive equipment: mask, fins, snorkel, weights, and whatever else you have added to your personal list of necessities for diving.
- Enter the water – Enter the water appropriate to the environment whether it’s a back roll, giant stride, or simply walking into the water from the shore line.
The Predive Safety Check is an essential start to every dive. It allows you to double-check that your equipment is on correctly, functioning, and ready to dive. These steps can catch potential problems before entering the water and also give you the opportunity to gain familiarity with your buddy’s configuration. Reviewing dive equipment prior to the dive only takes a matter of seconds! Don’t skip the Predive Safety Check and always remember to have fun!