March 25, 2007
Being a good dive buddy ...
There's more to being a good dive buddy that simply agreeing to dive with someone.
First, to be a good dive buddy you must have adequate training and experience for the dive you intend to make. It's always nice to go diving with a buddy who has more experience than you do, but that's not always the case. Be confident in your own abilities.
Second, you must have adequate equipment, and a complete understanding of how it all works. Scuba equipment is life support equipment and must be treated as such. It is essential to make sure your equipment is always properly maintained and is stored properly.
Third, you must communicate with your potential dive buddy and agree on a dive plan. Before you ever hit the water with a new dive buddy, it is important to find out about their training history, diving experience, and diving frequency. Discuss things you learned in your training. It's not always part of a beginning scuba diving course to perform a rescue or to learn all about all the barotraumas in great detail. Ask questions. Volunteer information. Agree to practice a few basic skills together in shallow water to refamiliarize yourself on skills. Go over hand signals. Always remember good communication skills can make it or break it in any relatioship, not just underwater. Be the kind of dive budddy you'd like to have!
Fourth, you and your buddy must check each other's gear to make sure it is functioning, and also make sure you completely understand how it all works. There can be subtle differences in how different brands and styles function.
And, always remember ... Plan your dive and dive your plan. :-)