by Jordan Greene:
A good diver thoroughly prepares for any and all potential scuba diving ventures. Starting from reserving a spot on a dive boat, to running over the pre-dive check with a fellow diver just before entering the water. An objective should be determined, logistics mapped out, and a plan structured to successfully execute a fun and safe dive. Naturally, safety being the main priority of any dive; gas needs should be determined along with mixtures and all equipment maintenance should be up to date. So many aspects go into the planning of your next dive, and the simplest mistake could hinder your upcoming adventure. Getting into the habit of going through a PRE pre-dive checklist well before the dive should be common practice for all divers, regardless of their training or experience level.
Prior to the day of the dive, every diver should lay out all required dive gear and verify everything is intact and in proper working order. Get yourself into a routine of checking the following:
- Appropriate thermal considerations – Ask yourself: is my wetsuit suitable thermal protection for the dive? Do I need to wear a drysuit? If so, are my seals in good condition? Remind yourself to bring an appropriate hood, gloves, boots, undergarments, etc. as determined by the dive conditions.
- Well maintained and working gas delivery and monitoring systems – We’re talking pressure gauges, 1st and 2nd stage regulators, o-rings and hoses all checked and repaired if need be by trained or qualified individuals long before the dive.
- Cylinder(s) – Ready to dive, ensure the visual inspections are up to date, and hydrostatic test are within the time frames dictated by local laws and regulations. Verify you have appropriate gas mixtures by personally analyzing the cylinders and label as appropriate.
- Verify your Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD) is in working condition by inflating the BCD to make sure it will hold gas. Check over your inflator hose, and verify you have both weight pockets and a weight belt.
- Weight – Make sure to bring the adequate weight needed or verify if the dive operation will have weight available for use.
- Fins – Verify you have both fins, and if you are wearing boots or have new boots, make sure they fit in the fin pocket. Ensure the fins and fin straps are in working order and do not show signs of cracking.
- Mask(s) – Make sure you have your mask and snorkel ready to go, check over the mask skirt and straps to ensure they do not show signs of cracking. Don’t forget to pack your defog and having a back up mask is never a bad idea.
- Signaling and safety devices – Make sure to bring a dive flag if local regulations require. Along with a visual or audible alarm. Pack your knife, sheers, or cutting device.
- Dive computer(s) – Make sure your computers are fully charged and appropriately programmed; once again, a back up computer is never a bad idea.
- Compass – It’s better to have one and not need it, rather than need it and not have one!
- Last, but certainly not least, your dive certification card! Whether it’s SDI Open Water, Advanced, Nitrox, etc., certifications should correspond to the upcoming dive profile. To be prepared to such an extent – only to realize you had lost proof of certification can truly ruin a dive trip. If this happens and the location has internet access, you can verify your SDI Certification online without missing the dive and order a replacement card here.
This checklist will help you get to the dive boat prepared, but you also will need to listen the Divemaster or supervisor’s instructions in your pre-dive briefing, and always preform a pre-dive check before entering the water.