The last thing you want to read in the paper is about a “missing diver.” Immediately a sense of panic sinks in. It’s the unspoken thoughts. Your mind races. “I wonder what happened.” “How must their dive buddy feel?” As I google those key words and many different sources pull up, I read through them and its pretty clear…. he didn’t make it. They haven’t even found him yet.
I immediately go through a number of things in my mind. “What were they doing?” “Was it safe?” “Were they being smart?” “How could this have been prevented?” In this case, it appears they were experienced divers and they were penetrating a wreck at 130 feet. That is a pretty deep dive without the penetration. Had they penetrated a wreck before? Had they been at these depths before? Why weren’t they using a guide? Were they adequately prepared for this type of dive? It sounds like they were confident in their abilities. But…
It usually comes back to continuing education. Did they have experience? Did they have safety skills? Did they have rescue skills? Did they have enough dives in to react properly? That is the bottom line. You can’t know how you will react until you are actually in that moment. We were discussing this recently at a local dive site and a guy said “diving isn’t dangerous, but skydiving is.”
Sure. Skydiving. If you do something wrong… splat. But scuba diving is equally dangerous, especially if you actually think that it isn’t. You shouldn’t think for one second that going underwater and breathing from a tank with so many fail points is ever not dangerous.
We get lacsidasical in our actions and then what? One blip and we panic and… maybe not splat, but pretty dang close. Scuba diving is dangerous. There are so many things that you can do wrong each second, beginning the moment you start assembling your gear until the moment you exit the water. Never, ever assume you are involved in a safe sport.
Preparation is the only answer. Training, training, training. Pay attention to your prep of the gear. Check your buddy. There is a reason we are taught to do this. Continually monitor everything. Or die. It really is that simple. My intent is not to keep people from learning to scuba dive. My intent is to be informative and never hear yourself saying “scuba diving isn’t dangerous.”
If you’re getting open water certified, that is AWESOME! Don’t stop there. Keep learning, keep practicing, keep diving. Get advanced training. Get rescue training. Practice with your buddies. Schedule a skills refresher dive every couple of months where you go out and practice your training so that your reactions and your actions are strong.
In the meantime, pray for those lost doing what they love. And for their friends and families. It’s never easy to lose a loved one. And do yourself a good service by learning from their loss. Learn, practice and remember – Scuba diving is dangerous.
Contact your local dive shop and see what classes are available and make sure you’re prepared.