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.
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.