One of the biggest mistakes new divers make is not connecting with their local diving community. It doesn’t matter if you got certified somewhere else, local divers love to share their favorite diving hotspots. It’s like when a friend visits from out of town and you get to show them all the most fun and interesting things to do in your city. The same goes for local diving.
There’s never been a better time to explore your “backyard” dive sites. With fewer people around, marine life is abundant and thriving.
Local Diving Tips:
Most of the tips below can be summarized in two words: plan ahead. Don’t let a broken mask strap or high surf spoil your scuba adventure.
#1 Pack a save-a-dive kit – it’s not if, but WHEN you or your buddy will need one of these essential items. Before you get your tanks filled, check the contents of your save-a-dive kit and purchase any missing items.
#2 Check the surf/tide forecast – heed these words, “make sure you can get out before you get in.” If you’re not sure how to read a tide chart, or when to dive a certain site, consult a local diving expert.
#3 Take seasickness medication the night before – if you’re prone to seasickness and use an over-the-counter remedy, take it the night before to ensure it’s in your system. Read more seasickness prevention tips.
#4 Scout the dive site – use Google Earth and other online tools to evaluate parking options, locate the nearest restroom, plan post-dive refreshment, etc.
Shore Diving Tips:
If you don’t like long boat rides or prefer to dive on your own schedule, shore diving offers unparalleled flexibility. That said, it’s important to consult a local expert before you dive a site for the first time. Wind conditions can turn a calm cove into (what feels like) the inside of your washing machine. Consult a PADI Professional who can tell you when to dive a particular site, show you the best entry/exit points and provide other helpful info.
Below are some general tips to ensure your shore dives go smoothly:
#5 Work together when gearing up – get in sync with your buddy so you’re ready to enter the water at the same time. Standing around in dive gear can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re diving in cold water on a hot day.
#6 Don’t let the tide steal your things – avoid unpleasant après dive surprises. Keep your towels, cooler, etc. far away from the water’s edge.
#7 Identify reference points as you swim out – at the end of the dive, you may surface a long way from where you started. Before you descend, choose two fixed objects to serve as a visual reference for where you started. The first object should be close to shore (a distinctive tree or a lightpost) and the second should be farther away and roughly in line with the first object.
For example, let’s say there’s a lamppost in the parking lot and behind there’s a red house on a hill. After surfacing from the dive, if the red house and lamppost are not aligned, you know which direction to swim to get “home.”
Looking for more ideas and recommendations?
- Check out our Top 5 Shore Diving Tips
- Review these beach diving tips from Scuba Diving magazine
- Explore the best local dive sites around the world
Book a ReActivate™Scuba Refresher with your local dive center