Visiting the fascinating underwater world is an amazing experience, and also very safe provided that you follow some simple rules.
Diving is relatively easy to learn, but do make sure you are trained by a reputable school with experienced staff. Proper training will also make you aware of the most common problems that you could encounter underwater.
Make sure that you are medically and physically fit to dive as certain medical conditions are not compatible with diving. Aside from physiological factors, it also helps to be physically fit. You should be able to walk at least 1.6km in under 12 minutes as a minimum, and as part of your open water course you will be asked to swim 200m and float for 10 minutes. So if you’ve been a couch potato get some exercise before your next dive trip – the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your dives!
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
If you have your own dive equipment, then check it all thoroughly and get anything serviced if necessary.
Have any necessary immunisation jabs required to travel.
Make sure you are fit to dive and have had a medical if required. Students are required to self-certify their fitness to dive using the form below. If any of the answers to the questions listed is a ‘Yes’, it’s important to get a medical sign off prior to departure:
Make sure you have adequate travel and dive insurance. At Master Divers we offer our customers dive insurance for just 100THB for the duration of your stay with us, but we also have weekly, monthly and yearly policies for more active divers, as well as some recommendations for general travel insurance:
BEFORE YOU DIVE
Check all your equipment to ensure nothing was damaged in transit.
Make sure you are properly rehydrated after your journey. If you’re not feeling 100% then don’t dive, and in particular don’t dive if you have a cold or hangover! Leave the party night until the end of your diving trip…
If you haven’t dived for a while just sign up for a couple of easy, shallow dives to begin with in order to get back in the swing of things. Remember if you haven’t dived for six months or longer then you may need to do a scuba review first just to recap on all your skills…
ON THE BOAT
Remember to drink plenty of water, and bring your sunscreen and seasickness tablets (if required, although the water here is generally very calm). If you suffer from seasickness make sure you have something light to eat and always take your tablets before the boat journey – don’t wait until you actually feel sick!
Set up your equipment in the allocated area making sure it’s all together in the one place. Attaching your mask to your BCD and putting your fins inside it are good tips for keeping all of your gear together. Take your time double checking everything is in working order, and if you’re not sure of anything then ask just your Dive Master or Instructor. Never be embarrassed to ask for help – safety is always more important than speed!
Store your bag and weight belt under the bench to keep the walkways free, and try to make sure you return to the same place after the dive. A tidy boat is a safe boat!!!
Be careful walking around on the boat when it is choppy, especially going to the back of the boat and upstairs – make sure you have three points of contact at all times. Do not jump off the top deck and/or over the side after the ladders have been pulled up, as this means the engine is about to start!
Listen carefully to your dive briefing – no matter how experienced a diver you are! The Instructor/Dive Master know the dive sites intricately and will tell you what to look for along with any potential hazards you should be aware of. They will tell you the dive plan including the maximum depth and time, making sure that you are familiar with all the relevant hand signals.
Once kitted up make sure you do a proper buddy check with your allocated dive buddy and do not enter the water until you are told it is safe to do so.
Make sure you are properly weighted and adjust your buoyancy accordingly so that you are streamlined throughout the dive. Proper buoyancy control not only reduces fatigue and makes your dive more enjoyable but it also improves your safety and prevents you from damaging the coral.
Regularly check your air, your buddy and the environment around you. Make sure you follow your dive guide and don’t go off in the opposite direction…
Listen to your inner voice – if you do not feel right while underwater, or you feel that you have exceeded your comfort level, let your dive guide know that you want to abort the dive. If you become low on air let your guide know immediately and follow his/her instructions.
Don’t touch anything – the golden rule is “You take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but bubbles!”
At the end of your dive make sure you ascend slowly never exceeding an ascent rate of 18m/minute and make a safety stop for 3 minutes at 5 metres.
AFTER THE DIVE
If you are doing a second or third dive make sure you have an adequate surface interval. Be sure to drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. Avoid any strenuous exercise straight after a dive as it could increase the risk of decompression sickness.
DO NOT free-dive, do any cardiovascular exercise, have a Thai massage, or take an excessively hot shower after scuba diving. After a dive you will have increased levels of nitrogen in your body, and any of these activities can effect how efficiently your body off gases it, and in some instances it can be harmful to you.
Properly rinse all your equipment, hang it out to dry and remember to log your dives. A record of your diving history is not only nice to look back on, but is also required should you ever need to prove your experience for higher levels of training.
FLYING AFTER DIVING
PADI recommended that you wait a minimum of 12 hours before flying after a single dive, and 18 hours after 2 or more dives.