Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Scuba 101 : Pre-Dive Safety Check

Hi guys, it's been a while since our last Scuba 101 posting, so now I give you One of the most important parts of every dive is the pre-dive safety check, which is also known as a buddy check. You should always carry out this check with your buddy before beginning the dive.
The pre-dive safety check has two functions: you ensure that all of your buddy's equipment is working as it should; and you familiarize yourself with your buddy's equipment so that you are aware of how to release their weights and releases, use their deflator, and use their alternate air source, all of which may be necessary in the event of any difficulties during the dive.
You should do the check once you've donned all of your equipment, with the exception of your mask and fins. It's a good idea to do the check while you're still on the boat or shore, but if you happen to forget you can still do it in the water before descending.
The safety check is broken down into five components which are abbreviated with the acronym BWRAF. There are many mnemonics that can help you remember the steps in the safety check. You should use whatever you'll remember best. Here are some of the most common mnemonics.
Begin With Review And Friend
Beans With Rice And Fish
Because We Really Are Friends
Blonde Women Really Are Funny
Burgers With Relish And Fries
Bunnies Will Run Away Fast
Bangkok Women Really Are Fellas
You want to check that your buddy's BCD is working properly. Begin by inflating their BCD, although not completely as you don't want to make your buddy uncomfortable. Also deflate the BCD to ensure that the deflator is working properly.
Check your buddy's weight system. How you do this will depend upon what weight system your buddy is using.
Weight Belt: Check that your buddy's weight belt is on properly and that the quick release is free of obstructions and easily accessible. Any excess length of belt should not be tied or tucked into the BCD in such a way that it's difficult to release.
Integrated Weights: Check that your buddy has their weight pockets in their BCD (with weights in them!), that they are properly secured, and that you know how to release them.
Check that all of your buddy's releases are properly secured. This includes their Velcro waist band and at least two shoulder clips. Many BCDs also have a chest and stomach clip. It's a good idea to touch each clip as you check it and even count each one out loud as you do so. Remember to check the tank strap and clip. You can do this by placing one hand on the bottom of the tank and the other on the first stage regulator and trying to move the tank up and down to see if the strap will move.
Check that your buddy's air is turned all the way on and half a turn back. Have your buddy take one or more breaths from their regulator while you watch their SPG. While you look at the SPG, ensure that the tank is full (approximately 200 bar or 3000 psi) and that the needle doesn't dip as they breathe. If the needle dips this is a sign that the air isn't turned all the way on or there is a problem with the regulator. You should also test your buddy's alternate air source by taking two breaths from it.
Final OK
Check that your buddy has all other necessary equipment such as mask and fins. Ask your buddy if they're ready to go and if all is ok you're ready to dive.

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