Scuba Fails


We asked for your Scuba Fails, and this is what we got!

Upside Down BCD
Recently, I borrowed a BCD from one of my friends for a two-tank day trip as mine was getting serviced. His BCD had a back plate and the wing was an almost perfect rectangle around it. After completing the first dive, I set the BCD on the second tank without putting the regulator on the tank valve. 15 minutes later – the diver stationed across from me motioned for me to come over and whispered in my ear, “I think your BCD is on upside down”. Indeed it was…

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Forgetting to take off your booties before trying to take off your wet suit
After getting done with a dive and taking off your wetsuit, you forget to take off your booties first and as a result – your feet get stuck in the bottom of your wetsuit and you can’t take it off.

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Always looking down and missing that whale shark that swims by above you
Surely, I am not the only one this has happened to. Whether it’s a shark, goliath grouper, or a whale shark in this instance… I seem to look up just in time to see everyone else high-fiving and giving the thumbs-up. Once again, I have missed an opportunity. How frustrating!

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Forgetting swimsuit for pool session
There is nothing quite worse than showing up for a pool session without your swimsuit, and having to go commando in your wet suit.

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Not strapping your tank to the boat
Nothing is worse than smashed toes and spliced hoses. Every dive boat has some method of securing tanks before, during and after dives. Don’t be that guy that forgets to secure their tanks and mid way through the ride out… BOOM! Your tanks crash to the boat floor landing first stage down on your foot and now you can’t dive because the fall spliced a regulator hose and broke some of your toes.

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Playing fetch with a sea lion
I love dogs. I love dogs that will bring you sticks, toys and whatever it is they have in their mouths only to not let go of the offering once they have presented it to you. On a dive a few years back in the Galapagos Islands, we had a fantastic dive with sea lions. As we were getting ready to board the inflatable, one lady’s flash-light clipped off her BCD and went back into the water. I figured I would go after it with my “spare-air”. The depth was only between 25-30ft below us and I thought it would just be a matter of going down, spotting it and bringing it back to the surface. I was wrong. It was gone! I ventured down to 40ft and felt the last breath of air available to me. It was time to surface – empty handed. I decided to do an additional safety stop based on my rapid ascent as a safety precaution. The crew threw me my tank with my BCD and as I chilled there with my thoughts at 15ft for 5 minutes, a sea lion came up to me to tease me with her new found toy; a bright yellow flash light. And no, this underwater golden retriever did not give it back.

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Something holding me back
So there you are, strapped into your gear, ready to be the first in the water, looking like a Pro! You assembled your equipment…check, confirm dive plan with buddy…check, call-out buddy check…check. The Divemaster yells POOLS OPEN! You go to stand up and…BOING – back down you go, all eyes on you. Check all your equipment make sure nothing is hung up on the bench, all is clear, try again…BOING – back down you go for the second time. Beads of sweaty embarrassment start to form, your buddies glare of “man you look like a rookie” falls upon you, the Divemaster walks over and says “looks like the tank budgie is under your first stag, I’m going to have to undo your first stage to get you out of this one.” You sit back down, head hung low as your buddy watches everyone else jump in.

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4 replies
  1. Tim
    Tim says:

    My partner and I were practicing drills for our Divemaster course soon after she had her regs serviced. Exchanging gear underwater and buddy breathing drills meant a lot of use of her occy. I couldn’t figure out why she (an experienced diver) was always passing me her spare reg upside down. After much consternation over several pool sessions, we figured out that the servicing technician had put the reg on upside down. Another pool session later and after some ‘wet’ breathing, we figured out that the same dive shop (while sorting out the upside-down issue) had replaced the diaphragm wrong way around. Not inspiring.

  2. Michael
    Michael says:

    First of all, there is no such thing as attaching a second stage upside down. It’s impossible as there is only one way of attaching it. Secondly, the first stage only attaches one way as well, and the orientation is user preference. Finally, the assembly of a regulator set is user level maintenance, as for the diaphragm, it’s highly unlikely that any technician, even an inexperienced one, would install it backwords because modern diaphragm are not flat but have almost a conical shape with a lever pad in the inside. It would not cause it to “breath wet” it would most likely get stuck free flowing due to that conical shape. As an experienced technician, all to often I here divers blam their “fail” on a technician, and in nearly all cases it’s an incorrect assumption, as with the above comments some of the things said are impossible. This appears to be a simple example of an inexperienced diver placing their regulator on the valve backwards in respect to the orientation the set was assembled. This would have the second stages routed to the wrong side, and is the only way a second stage could be perceived as being upside down, and as with most things is diver era.

  3. Windsor
    Windsor says:

    I was one of the youngest divers trained, about 20 years younger than everyone else in my group, and was determined not to make a fool of myself at the tome. unfortunately, at our check out dive, shivering in the cold depths of the dark water, my mask fogged up. I knew perfectly well how to do it, but as the freezing water hit my face, I totally freaked out and tried to kick to the surface. My dive instructor had to hold me down for about 30 secods while i squirmed so I wouldnt rocket to the top. It was so embarrasing!!


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