What makes a good dive buddy?

There’s no room for egos in diving. It’s about working to the most conservative situations. And this is true with buddy diving. A dive can be ruined by a poor buddy but equally many of my best dives have been because of super buddies!

I’m alright! 

Yep. You may be. But my air is low or I’m nearing the end of my bottom time. So tough. It’s important to have a good communication system. With regular buddies this is easier so make sure the signs are covered in the briefing and planning. Hitting deco time unplanned is not great. But with proper communication (and this means both buddies) this can be avoided. I’m lucky to be fairly good on air but I’d never think of pushing my buddy to the end of their air to get the most of a tank. When it’s time, we ascend. The same works for bottom time.

Oooh. Look at this!

There are amazing things to see on a dive but just because you spot something over there doesn’t mean you have to dash off and leave me trailing in your wake. If we’re sticking together then we’re sticking together. And that means following our plan. Sure. Let’s head over and have a look but it’s “we” not “you” and me trying to fin like mad to keep up! If you’re going to take photos then talk about it before. Some people are happy to hang around, others less so. It’s about planning together. And if someone stops to take a photo you have to wait – don’t just carry on and leave them there! You can talk about it for the next dive! I don’t need you to hold my hand but I’d like to stick fairly close!

She’ll be OK

If your buddy group is more than two then it’s vital you talk procedures about that first. I was leading a dive once but was ripped away by a current. The others saw what had happened and didn’t head into the channel. This was the right choice. What wasn’t was to leave me and not surface after a minute. Afterwards someone said that they knew I’d be fine. I was but I might not have been. The other person said they chose to stay in a pair as she felt it was right to stick with the least experienced person. I agreed and we talked through what to do if it happened again.

But I want to…

If you are diving with someone then it’s important to talk about your experience and training first. I’ve had people tell me they’re experienced divers but they’ve logged less than 15 dives post certification. I don’t mind that they’re new divers – it’s fantastic to start the journey into diving with people, but just be honest about what you’ve done and what training you’ve had. There’s also the thorny issue of speciality training. If you’re not trained for something then don’t do it. A seemingly easy penetration can become a nightmare and the training can develop skills and confidence that allow you to deal with it with reduced stress – important for underwater! Another issue is depth. A simple issue at 15m can become a serious one at 40m.

I didn’t understand what you meant

This comes down to the communication again. If one of you indicates to finish the dive, then it’s finished. No attempt to discuss underwater. No trying to fin off and get another 10 minutes in. There will always be another opportunity so finish the dive and discuss it on the surface.

Happy Buddies!

My best buddies have made my dives, pointing out things I’ve missed, helping with a trailing octopus, helping with a living octopus, sharing photos… I’ve sat on a tank before while someone shoves an extra kilo in a pocket to compensate for low air, and I’ve secured a slipped cylinder. My buddies have definitely made my dives and I hope I’ve reciprocated. Best of all we’ve had belly laughs in between dives and shared a few beers when the weather has worked against us. But it takes a bit of planning, a lack of ego and a lot of communication.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s