Whether divers are on a course or fun diving, as dive professionals we spend a lot of time teaching and reminding divers about the buddy check. Each training agency offers a different view on how the steps are structured and there are so many mnemonics to help you remember it that it verges on the ridiculous.
This post is not about that debate but rather reviewing the importance of a pre-dive safety check. In the end, it doesn’t matter how you remember it, as long as you have a structured process and you use it.
So lets look at a scenario shall we? Suppose we have a couple kitting up on a small boat. You can walk around but it’s simply kit and divers. The couple have been seated opposite each other and they gear up separately. The dive is a drift dive which requires a negative entry and they backward roll off opposite sides of the boat and plan to meet each other underwater.
Without a buddy check they can not confirm that each diver’s air is on or that they have remembered their weight belts. If one diver has no air but went straight down and the other diver has no weight then they can’t help their buddy either. A simple run through each others air, buoyancy and weight systems would have circumvented this scary situation.
I find all too often that after being certified, divers no longer think a safety check is required or can be too shy to do it in front of other divers who are not checking their buddy before getting in.
Ask yourself this, how many times do you forget where your keys, phone, wallet, etc. are? So then it’s conceivable that you can make a mistake – we are all human after all.
The check doesn’t take long and no matter what your experience level, it is every divers responsibility to do it. The more it’s seen being done, the more it will be done and eliminate the panic,stress or emergency situation caused by a problem that can easily be avoided.