Scuba Diving Safety Practices
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Scuba Diving Safety Practices

Safety Tips for Scuba Diving






Scuba Diving Safety Diving is a safe sport as long as divers practice scuba diving safety and learn how to anticipate and solve problems. This is all part of becoming an accomplished and safe diver.


Scuba diving is an unpredictable and inherently risky sport. Divers need a positive attitude, a good level of physical fitness and avoid taking unnecessary risks. These items are essential to lessen the chance of having a diving accident.


Though diving accidents are rare, they do happen and sometimes for no apparent reason. They are often caused by unsafe behavior and conditions.


Safe Diving Practices

To reduce the likelihood of problems occurring divers should never dive without proper preparation. Part of this preparation is to understand safe diving practices. PADI sums these scuba diving safety tips up in their Safe Diving Practices Statement of Understanding.


  1. Maintain good mental and physical health for diving.

  2. Be familiar with dive sites or dive with a dive guide.

  3. Use complete, well maintained, reliable equipment that is familiar.

  4. Listen carefully to dive briefings and directions by the dive staff.

  5. Always follow the buddy system. Plan dives and dive with a buddy.

  6. Know how to use dive tables. Make all dives no-decompression dives. Be a safe diver. Slowly Ascend From Every Dive.

  7. Maintain proper buoyancy. Neutral buoyancy underwater, positive buoyancy at the surface.

  8. Never breath-hold or skip-breath while breathing compressed air.

  9. Use a boat, float or other surface support device whenever possible.

  10. Know and obey local dive laws and regulations.



In addition to these ten points of diving safety there is one more that is stressed in basic open water classes. New divers learn the importance of knowing their personal diving limits. They dive in conditions they have been trained for and are comfortable with. Divers can expand their limitations by taking advanced or specialty dive courses.


Divers Alert Network (DAN) has a similar scuba diving safety list. They call their list S.A.F.E.D.I.V.E.


  • Self-reliance
  • Attitude
  • Fitness
  • Experience
  • Diving skills
  • Involvement
  • Variety
  • Equipment



To find out how DAN defines each of these points, you can visit their website. DAN is a great resource for scuba diving safety.


DAN also list recommendations by American Association of Underwater Sciences (AAUS). Some of their general recommendations are:


  • Ascent rates shall not exceed 60 feet / 18 meters per minute.

  • A stop at 10 to30 ft / 3to9 m for three to five minutes is recommended on every dive.

  • Repetitive and multilevel diving should start with the deepest dive or depth first.

  • Multiple deep dives should be avoided.



The AAUS also has safety recommendations on the use of diving computers. You can find out more about the AAUS and their recommendations for scuba diving safety on their website.


Problem Solving


Though most dives go smoothly and without incident, minor problems while scuba diving sometimes occur. Skills for solving problems while diving are taught at all levels of certification. Anticipating a problem is the first step in solving it.


The best method of solving problems is to stop, think, breath and then act. When a diver learns this basic principle they can usually solve minor problems underwater without having to come to the surface or abort the dive. If they remain focused and refuse to give up, they have a chance of solving more serious problems.


Another great method of problem solving is to use the "what if" method. Divers will think of different situations like equipment failure, out of air/low on air problems or losing their dive buddy. They picture the situation in their mind and picture how they would respond. If they do this enough problem solving becomes a reaction that they do not have to think about.


Good problem solving skills will help divers keep minor problems from turning into big ones. These skills will also help divers not to panic underwater. They are able to stay calm and deal with the problem.


Safety for scuba diving is a combination of safe diving practices, good problem solving skills and common sense. These three things are necessary to minimize the chance of a problem or incident happening during a dive.


Diving Emergencies



Dive operators are responsible for reporting diving accidents. But if a diver or their buddy has an accident while diving, they should call The Divers Alert Network hotline.


The medical staff is on hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They can handle any diving emergency. They provide help for diving incidents like decompression sickness, decompression sickness, embolisms and barotrauma. They also provide information on local recompression and medical facilities. For more information on the services DAN offers, visit their website.


Dan's emergency hotline: 1-919-684-4DAN(4326)

Non-emergency medical questions: 1-919-684-2948

DAN Travel Assist: 1-800-326-3822


Your safety while diving depends on the decisions you make. These decisions are based on your training level, your personal diving experience, your circumstances while diving and current safe diving practices. There is no such thing as a safe dive, only safe divers.


Be a smart diver by being a safe diver. Safe divers make scuba diving safe.




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