There’s often times (sometimes annually in winter!) when it’s been a while since we last dived. I’ve often seen someone step off a plane, into a hotel, onto the boat and expect to simply slip into the water and be exactly as they were before. I get it. The need to be in and under the water. But if it’s been a while then a refresher is important.
Buoyancy is key to successful diving and taking that time to get it back is essential. A weight check is often missed out in the keenness to get on with the dive but being overweighted may not be a big issue at the surface but start heading into depth and it begins to have an impact.
Some skills are dismissed in the Open Water course but if you consider them carefully there are reasons why they are on there. A break from diving may lead to a bit more fumbling with putting on a mask, or adjustments may be needed to allow for that Christmas gorging since you were last in the water. Having time to go back over the basics is never a bad thing and if you’re going to fumble then better to do it in confined water than in open water where a small issue can snowball.
The refresher dives aren’t free but I’d suggest that an investment prior to getting back into open water will allow you to get the most out your dives. When you’re away don’t be afraid to say that you’d like a check dive before you head off into the blue. Taking some time at the beginning could potentially save issues later on. If a check dive is a requirement don’t try to argue to get out of it. It isn’t a strategy for dive schools to get more money but rather a sensible decision to ensure everyone’s safety.
Finally, the easiest way to avoid a refresher is to keep diving in the first place! Many dive clubs offer pool sessions. Our club includes it as part of the membership of £40 a year and we keep diving through the winter so there are opportunities to have a dip periodically. It’s all about having a great time diving, but having a safe time too.