Getting back in the water. Sometimes, life, the universe, and everything conspire to keep you out of the water. It happens. The trick is making sure you get back in the water safely. Some may have noticed that I’ve been pretty light on posts here for the last year or so; that’s because I’m one of those divers right now. So how am I going to get back in the water? I’ve got a 3 Step Plan to get myself back in the game!
Step 1: Gear Check
My gear has been in the garage for the better part of a year. I stored it correctly, but that doesn’t mean that I can just toss it all on and hit the water. First I have to go through it and make sure everything is serviceable before my life is depending it. The key things here are:
- Exposure Protection: how are the seals and valves on my drysuit? Does the zipper need wax? Are there any holes or abraded areas that need attention? Luckily, my drysuit is all neoprene, including the seals, which makes this an easier situation.
- The Octopus: how are my stage one and twos? Are my lines in good shape? How is everything breathing? The later test will be done in the dive shop, to ensure nothing is sticky and nothing is free-flowing. I’ll also do a depth gauge and air pressure check; because I like being alive. If anything is wrong, it’s off to the shop for maintenance.
- BCD Check: are all my clips in serviceable condition? Is anything torn or nibbled on (I’m pretty sure there are no mice, but I check anyways). Does the bladder inflate and deflate properly? Again, if I run into issues here, it’s off for repairs.
- Ancillary Gear: this is where I’m going to check my mask for fit and make sure the strap is good to go. This is also where I’ll be looking at my hood, gloves, fins, knife, and all that good stuff. Things that can be replaced get replaced, and what needs repair gets repaired.
- Computer: I have two computers. One I can change the battery in, and one that it’s better for me to have done at the dive shop. I’ll be doing both to ensure that I have the redundancy that makes dives safe.
Step 2: Review of Concepts
If there’s anything that has been drilled into me by military service, it’s the importance of reviewing ideas and concepts that you haven’t used in a while. Diving is no different. I’ve kept all the course material from all my diving qualifications, and I’ll be going over things again in them. I’m confident that I remember what to do as a matter of course on a regular dive, and that I know what to do in the event of an emergency. That said, a review of these things is never a bad idea. At the same time, I’ll be reviewing how to plan a dive, how to give a dive brief, and dive management. I know that I won’t be leading the first pack of dives I do on, but I still want to be ready for more than just getting back in the water.
Now, if you’re in a situation where you don’t have your books, contact your local dive shop and see what they have that can help you out. Any decent shop isn’t going to take issue with helping a diver get back in the water.
Step 3: Take it Easy
When you haven’t been in the water for a while, you don’t want to dive in and try to do a dive that hits the maximum edge of your training and experience. Take it easy. My plan is to do a few basic to moderate level dives to get my hand in again. Nothing wild, just getting wet and getting back in the groove. As I dive more frequently again, and redevelop the skills I have back to where I was, then it’s time to step it up a notch and start challenging myself with harder dives. But the key to getting back up to snuff will also be with choosing my dive buddy for this. When you’re getting back into the water, do so with someone who has Rescue Diver or higher if possible. That way if something does go sideways, they have a solid grasp on what to do. It’s an extra level of
So, there it is, an easy, three step plan to get back in the water. Now, of course, I’m not saying this a one size fits all plan, nothing ever is. But if this helps you get back in the water, or can act as a blueprint for your own plan to develop from, perfect!