In my last post I talked about safety as the key to an enjoyable dive for you and your dive buddy. Part of this safety is Diver Etiquette.
Working on Dive Liveaboards as a Dive Instructor, I have seen many different types of diver, each with various levels of experience. Unfortunately, I can’t say that only the new, less inexperienced divers are not considerate or courteous to other divers.
There are several things which I will highlight.
As a Diver, you don’t have to state how good a diver you are and how deep you’ve been. Sure everyone has a fish story but exaggerating your diving ability doesn’t bring you anything, apart from a possible situation further down the track where your lack of experience will be clear to see under water.
On the Boat: The preparation of gear on the deck before and after a dive. Each diver is basically allocated a “bin” for their gear and a tank. Keeping everything inside this “area” will mean no one trips over a camera or fins, no one sits on a mask cracking it, everything should be tucked in and tank turned off. No diver has the right to start playing with another diver’s equipment without the permission and supervision of that diver who owns the equipment. I have seen divers gear up for the dive to find that their computer is set differently and a tank half full as they had a slow leak in their regulator. Each would have caused a major problem if it had gone unnoticed.
In the water: Moving out of the way from the “step in” area so other divers can easier enter without worrying about stepping on anyone’s head. Once under the water Divers should be conscious of their buoyancy. If a diver in a group is above the other divers, then below them, that diver is using too much air and exerting themselves. One point that makes me very sad is divers hitting the reef with their dive fins. I have seen large amounts of Staghorn Coral being broken off – all level of diver, including instructors… When in a swim through and the diver in front kicks up the sand or sediment, the following diver, then has no visibility, which depending on the diver, could lead to panic, and a very serious situation.
So to cap, as long as each diver understands there is no benefits for exaggerating their abilities, be aware of the environment that they are in, be courteous to fellow divers ( some divers do need more time and attention) and have good buoyancy, then each diver and the others in the group, should enjoy their dive.
This is a great article on buoyancy by DAN Executive Director John Lippman