However, there’s also plenty of things you should avoid doing if you want your shared scuba experiences to stay safe and enjoyable. Here’s our top five:
#1 – Adding to peer pressure
You might find yourself diving with someone who has less experience than you do, or perhaps they’ve not been in the water as recently. Maybe they are just a little less confident as a diver. Whatever the reason, if your dive buddy doesn’t feel happy with a particular dive plan, then don’t push them into doing it. Even if you feel pressure yourself from the rest of the dive group, remember that diving is not a competitive sport – take everything at a relaxed, comfortable pace and you’ll both have a much more enjoyable dive as a result.
#2 – Not paying attention to the pre-dive activities
If you’re chatting away to other divers during the dive brief, or too busy messing around with your dive computer when your buddy is running through their BWRAF, then chances are you’ll be missing out on important information which you’ll need later on the dive. It might be something as simple as confusing your buddy’s hand signal or going in the wrong direction, but not listening to buddy checks can lead to more troublesome issues, like not knowing how to assist your buddy in an emergency situation. Pay attention on the surface and you’ll be safer under the water.
#3 – Not paying attention during the dive
Of course, descending below the surface doesn’t mean it’s time to switch off completely; you also need to stay attentive to your buddy throughout the dive. That means staying close enough to provide help should they need it – not wandering away into the depths without looking back. Make sure you keep an eye out for signs of narcosis or nervousness, and check regularly to make sure they have enough gas. Being close and attentive also makes it easy for your buddy to show you marine creatures they’ve managed to spot!
#4 – Pulling risky underwater pranks
If you regularly dive with someone that you’re good buddies with on the surface, then the chances are you both enjoy a good joke together. But while you are both preparing equipment and being a dive buddy underwater, put the pranks on hold. Swapping around equipment, playing hide-and-seek and trying to jump on top of them are not-so-funny ideas that are at best, irksome, and at worst, incident-inducing, so save the funnies for a later date and focus on enjoying the experience.
#5 – Being selfish
Closely linked to #1, this one is particularly relevant to divers who often make their own plans together. It’s important to remember that as a dive buddy pair, there are two of you. That means that there are two sets of interests, goals and experience levels, and it may be the case that they don’t always match up. You might enjoy wreck diving, your buddy might prefer reefs. You might love spending hours in one spot taking photographs, your buddy might get a thrill from buzzing around on a diver propulsion vehicle. Whatever your differences as a buddy pair, make sure that when you plan your trips, you consider each other’s preferences and come to fair compromises so that you can both enjoy the sort of diving you want to experience. If you really can’t agree on what you both want to do, then why not sign up for a group trip and mix-and-match buddies?
Make sure you’re not doing any of the above and you’ll be a much better dive buddy as a result. If you find yourself regularly diving with someone who falls into these five categories, make sure to drop the hint by sharing this article!
Want to put your excellent buddy skills to practice? Get in touch with your local PADI Dive Shop today and book your next course or trip.