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TopTips for Becoming a Better Diver

Diving training scuba
Improving your skills improves your diving pleasure

In diving, like most things in life, practice is key. Very few people are good divers when they start, but the more dives you log, the better you will become. I always tell my students: 'Look at other divers, observe them in the water and ask yourself two questions:- “Do I think they are good divers?” and then, “Why do I think that?” What is it about them that makes me think they are good or bad? Having answered this, adapt your diving accordingly'.

Here are our top tips for becoming a better diver;

Becoming a better diver tip 1 : USE CORRECT WEIGHTING

This seems obvious, but it is commonly something divers get wrong. It is impossible to have perfect weighting for your whole dive. An aluminum cylinder will change buoyancy as it empties and change in depth/pressure will change our buoyancy. My general rule is if on your safety stop before surfacing, you have an empty BCD and are neutrally buoyant – you are perfectly weighted.

Becoming a better diver tip 2 : BE STREAMLINED

As divers, we need to carry with us many different devices and tools. SMBs, knives, reef hooks, slates, cameras, torches, spares; the list can be endless. We may feel somewhat like a Christmas tree, but ensuring that all parts are neat and not dangling (including SPG and alternates) is key. Not only do we not want anything dragging on the corals, but it will also help with being streamlined in the water.

diving scuba training
Whether a techy or a fun diver, positioning is key

Becoming a better diver tip 3 : ADJUST YOUR POSITION

Along with being streamlined, our body position is important too. This is easier to adjust if we are correctly weighted. Aim to be horizontal, in a skydiving position. This means we don’t need to kick to remain buoyant, and we just glide in the water. Many divers find themselves in more of a 45-degree angle, but this is because they are over weighted and have to kick to stay off the bottom. Therefore to have a good position relies on being correctly weighted.

Becoming a better diver tip 4 : RELAX

Diving should be a time of tranquillity and calm. The more relaxed we are, the better our air consumption and our neutral positioning. We should have core stability, but relaxed movements. I see a lot of divers trying to fight the water, instead, move with the water and adjust to it, not the other way around.

Becoming a better diver tip 5 : BREATHE!

This goes with relaxing; Our breathing should be steady and calm. As a general rule, I tend to breathe longer on the exhale than the inhale, however, there will be exceptions as we breathe to control our buoyancy as well.

Becoming a better diver tip 6 : USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM

'Safety first' is always a good motto. A proper pre-dive safety check should always be done. It doesn’t have to take a long time, but ensure that you and your buddy have done the proper BWRAF check before entering the water. It's very easy to become complacent, especially when you have lots of dives under your belt. I myself have entered without a mask on, or almost forgotten to put my dive computer on! But a good buddy role doesn’t end there; Spatial awareness is key. You should always remain near your buddy – the distance will depend on visibility – but don’t get too close. You don’t want to be knocking into your buddy either!

happy diver scuba buddy system
Relax, breathe and stay with your buddy : happy diver

Becoming a better diver tip 7: PLAN YOUR DIVE

Plan the dive and dive the plan! There is no place for machismo in diving. We set depth and time limitations for a reason. It is very easy once you’ve had a beer to carry on and have several more, before you know it you’ve had one too many! But if we make a plan and set limitations, it's easier to stick to. Nitrogen narcosis has the same effect. It's very easy to go just another meter or so deeper or stay down just a little longer. We should always have a plan and importantly, stick to it! And, of course, always follow your computer. Along with this, know your limitations and stay within your own and your buddy's limitations. There's no shame in foregoing a dive because it doesn’t feel right or the conditions are beyond your training.

Becoming a better diver tip 8 : RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT

We should respect the sea and those that call it home. We are visitors to this magical land. Don’t be tempted to touch anything, and leave only bubbles. Touching marine life and corals can not only harm us but we harm them. Life in the ocean has a protective layer of bacteria and the transmission of our bacteria to them will do harm to them. We should not chase, harass or touch marine life – much like you would not like it if a stranger started chasing you and touching you! The sea is an unyielding environment. Human nature is to explore and learn but there are ways to explore without interrupting it. If we want to carry on enjoying the wonders of the underwater, we must respect and protect it.

With all this in mind... Go, explore and enjoy the amazing world that diving can offer. Don't be put off that you're not perfect when you start...nobody is. But with every dive, we improve. So all you need to do is relax...

Keep Calm and carry on Diving!

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