Be a Better Buddy
As divers we are always taught to dive with “buddies” but what exactly is a buddy? and what qualities and attributes make you a good or a bad one? Being married to a non-diver I often find myself being pared up with other divers in a similar situation when on holiday. Most of my buddies have been great, carrying out thorough buddy checks, staying close by and sticking to the dive plan. I have also had buddies who appear to have no interest in buddy checks and if questioned back on the boat would have had no idea where I was positioned or what I had been doing for the last hour!
Want to be a better buddy?
Here are some essential tips you should always remember: The buddy system is for everyone: The buddy system is not just for beginners, it is important for the safety of all divers in a group. Ensure that you have established who is buddying up with who before the dive and discuss the plan. Ensure that you are both in agreement and comfortable with the dive plan.
Always remember your buddy check
Just because your equipment worked fine the day before or on the previous dive doesn’t mean that you haven’t missed something this time. Many of the issues that arise underwater could and should have been identified through carrying out a buddy check. You know your own kit but does your new buddy? Going through key features like how to inflate, where the weights are, ect. will enable your new buddy to help you out if needed. Use the BWRAF acronym to help remember the buddy check steps. Use PADIs "Begin With Review And Friend" to help you remember this (or one of the many others that I wont mention here!)
Always stay close to your buddy and communicate often
This doesn’t mean that you need to swim hand in hand like our love birds in the feature image above but as a general rule, try to be no more than 2 seconds apart. Not only does this make it easier for the Divemaster to monitor the group but will also allow you to deal with any emergencies as quickly as possible. Ask your buddy if they are ‘ok’ periodically throughout the dive and be aware of your buddies air usage as well as your own. This will ensure that any potential issues are communicated early and can often stop the escalation of what may seem like a relatively small issue to resolve. Diving is for fun and is not a competition. Remember that you are a buddy “team”: Encourage your buddy but never force them into a dive that they don’t want to make. If you or your buddy are unsure about anything, seek advice from a responsible source. Remember that no dive is more important than all of your future dives and you should never carry out a dive that you are uncomfortable with or is outwith your training limits. An additional rule that started with tech divers but should be used for ALL diving activities is “Any diver can call the dive at any time, for any reason, without fear of repercussion.” Don't make anyone feel bad for calling a dive that they were uncomfortable with.
Plan the dive and dive the plan
Make sure that the dive plan is in place and agreed before starting the dive. Evaluate the conditions and ensure that the dive is within the training and experience of all divers. Dive, dive, dive and dive again!: Something that many of us are guilty of in the UK is not diving enough. The more you dive the better you get… it really is that simple! Diving in a wide range of conditions and environments will broaden your skillset and knowledge, increasing the safety of both you and your buddy.
Improve your Knowledge and Experience!
If you have just completed your PADI Open Water Diver Course speak with Ben or Alex at the shop about booking on to the Advanced Open Water course. You’ll learn a lot of new skills and try different types of diving (which may shape what kind of diver you develop into over the coming years). Once you have completed your Advanced Open Water certification, you’ll be ready for the PADI Rescue Diver Course which equips you with the skills and knowledge to really step up your game as a great buddy. On completion of the PADI Rescue Diver Course you will be equipped with the knowledge and practical skills to perform self-rescues, rescue other divers and recognise potential problems before they develop. You will hear divers of all levels say that the PADI Rescue Diver course was one of the best that they have ever taken, and I am no exception. For me, the PADI Rescue Diver course and “Be a Better Buddy” go hand in hand. Are you ready to take the next step? Improve the safety of yourself and others that you dive with as well as build on your existing diving knowledge? Follow the link below or speak with the guys at Scuba Leeds about how you can “Be a Better Buddy”. PADI Rescue Diver Course