Imagine that there are two scuba divers on the same dive boat. One of them is relaxed, drinking her coffee, making final checks of her equipment. Smiling with self-confidence and talking with the Divemaster she is going to dive with. However, the other diver is a little bit quiet, can’t figure out what to do next while putting together his scuba gear. He cannot find his mask in his dive backpack and grumbles while searching for it. Which one would you choose as your buddy? If it’s the former, learn how to relax while diving with these tips from a pro.

Being relaxed during a scuba dive is very important for divers. Because a relaxed dive will give you more pleasure, safety and self-confidence. In addition to these important points, relaxed scuba divers save more air which results in more bottom time and more energy remaining for the next dive.

If you are not feeling “that relaxed” during your dives and think that you’d be glad if you could improve this, prepare yourself a tasty cup of coffee and sit back.

Read this article carefully and try each step during your next dive experience.

Please note that these tips are applicable to certified divers. If you aren’t certified yet, you’ll need to enroll in a PADI Open Water Diver course first.

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Before Your Dive Day

You booked your dive and have been waiting for the dive day to come. However, before you are ready to get on the dive boat, you have some homework to do.

  • Find the contact information of the closest medical center and Emergency Medical Service and note it somewhere.
  • Prepare your dive bag the night before. Don’t do it on the morning of the dive. Use a check list to be sure that you packed everything.
  • Meet with the dive boat and dive team if the dive center is close to you, and it is going to be your first experience with them. If you are going to make a long road trip, don’t forget to take the dive center’s/dive boat’s contact information with you.
  • If you have a question in mind, call your instructor or read the related portion your dive training manual.
  • Don’t over eat at dinner just before your dive day. Don’t consume alcohol.
  • Sleep 8 hours.

a diver talks to her scuba instructor while standing in a pool

On the Dive Day

  • Have a light breakfast. Never dive hungry.
  • If it is winter/cool outside, don’t wear in layers. Not 2 pullovers and 3 t-shirts. You should wear something that will only keep you warm. Or it will be difficult (cold) while changing into your dry suit and jumping onto the sea.
  • Don’t drink fizzy drinks. They can cause havoc on your tummy!
  • Meet with the dive group/dive leader and tell them about you and your dive background.

Prior to Your Dive

  • Check your equipment thoroughly.
  • Do a buddy check. Check your buddy’s equipment by letting him/her know that it is for both of your safety.
  • Agree your dive plan as well as a dive emergency plan (including what to do if you get separated).
  • Locate first aid and oxygen kits in case of an emergency.
  • If you’ve only just met your dive buddy on the boat and he/she didn’t reassure you, simply ask your dive leader to match you with another buddy.
  • Don’t hesitate to consult/ask the dive leader if you have something in troubling you.  There should be nothing that creates a question mark in your head.
  • Don’t exceed your certification and condition limits.  For example, if you’re not trained in deep diving, don’t do it.  If there is a strong current on the dive site and you don’t think that you can challenge it, don’t hit the water.  Share this with the dive leader, he/she will find an alternate dive spot.
  • After all these steps are done, take your time and find yourself a quiet place. Get yourself a cup of coffee, listen to some relaxing music and watch the water.

During the Dive

  • Descend feet first instead of head-first.
  • Watch your buoyancy. Attend a buoyancy-related specialty program if you haven’t already. On the other hand, don’t forget that buoyancy can only be perfect with experience. Don’t be unfair with yourself.
  • Watch your SPG (Submersible Pressure Gauge) frequently.
  • Stay close to your buddy and ask him/her for an okay sometimes. Also ask for his/her air pressure.
  • Take deep, slow breaths.
  • Stay horizontal (hydrodynamic).
  • Trust your training. You know what you are doing and completed the required tests as well as the diving skills.
  • If you start to feel uncomfortable for any reason, stop for a few seconds to examine yourself and your surroundings. Remember that you have a mask to be able to see just like you do on land. You also have an air source which is even healthier than what you breathe on the land. So there is no need to surface. Trust your regulator. You’ll see that it works. However, if you continue to feel uncomfortable after a few breaths, consider ending your dive.
  • When you have 100 bar (1500 psi) of air, notify your dive leader.  Do the same when you have 50 bar (700 psi) of air.

When you apply each step, starting from the day you booked your dive, you’ll feel more relaxed. As a result, you’ll enjoy your dives more, have more bottom time by consuming less air and improve your self-confidence in diving.


This is a guest contribution by Murat “Seaman” Demirag, a freelance Scuba Diving Instructor. It was originally published on the Diviac Magazine.

About the Author: My name is Murat Demirag and I have been a freelance scuba instructor since 2005. I launched my blog, Dive with Seaman and write helpful articles about diving. If you enjoyed this article, you can follow me on Twitter to get my latest diving advice.

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