Div­ing with an In­sta-buddy

You’ve just been paired with a new buddy. Here’s what — and how — to ask them to make sure the dive goes off with­out a hitch.

Sport Diver - - Training -

1 How many dives have you made?

Un­der­stand­ing your buddy’s level of skill and com­fort is crit­i­cal. A diver in­ter­ested in safety will un­der­stand where you’re com­ing from with this ques­tion. But if you’re wor­ried it may in­sult your re­cently in­tro­duced buddy, try phras­ing it this way: “I’ve done 300 dives, but I’ve never dived this site be­fore. How about you?”

2 When was the last time you dived?

Even though a diver with 100 logged dives may sound like an ex­pe­ri­enced buddy, if those dives were made more than 10 years ago, he or she is es­sen­tially a begin­ner. Try a more con­ver­sa­tional ap­proach with this ques­tion: “I dive in my home­town lake nearly every week­end, but I don’t get to take many dive va­ca­tions. Do you?”

3 What type of div­ing do you do?

There’s a big dif­fer­ence be­tween log­ging all your dives on shal­low reefs and do­ing deep dives on wrecks in the same place. Try to re­late the ques­tion to the dive you’re about to do. If it’s a deep wreck dive, for ex­am­ple, men­tion your fa­vorite wreck, and then ask: “How about you? Do you have a fa­vorite one?”

4 Can we make a dive plan?

This is a good time to find out what your buddy hopes to ac­com­plish on the dive (stay shal­low or drop down on the wall, for ex­am­ple). You should also es­tab­lish com­mu­ni­ca­tion sig­nals, swim­ming speed, who will lead, etc. Try phras­ing it this way: “How would you like to do the dive?” That way, you’re not telling him or her how to be­have.

5 What do I need to know about your gear — or any­thing else?

This is a good time to run through your pre­dive buddy check (see The Ul­ti­mate Pre­dive Buddy Safety Check, left). But it’s also a good time to com­mu­ni­cate is­sues or pref­er­ences — ei­ther yours or your buddy’s — such as need­ing to make a slow de­scent to clear your ears.

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