10 rules of scuba diving every diver should know

Take pictures. Leave only bubbles. Keep the memories.

These are the 10 most important rules of scuba diving you should follow.

Scuba diving is a fun activity, however, we always need to follow the rules of safe diving.

Here are the 10 rules of scuba diving every diver should know and adhere to. If you do, you will be safe throughout all your dives and reduce the risk of accidents and emergencies.

1 Always keep breathing

This is arguably the most important rule in scuba diving and the first one most people learn. It’s also one thing your instructor will repeat over and over and over…and over..and over…again throughout your beginner course.

In our Discover Scuba Diving courses, we like to say: “If you remember just one thing about scuba diving, then let it be: Diving is fun, and never hold your breath!

Diving is fun, and never hold your breath!

By breathing continuously, you prevent overexpansion of your lungs during ascending which could lead to barotrauma, injuries, and worse.

Normal, rhythmic breathing also improves your buoyancy and reduces air consumption.

2 Never dive alone

In recreational scuba diving, we always dive in a buddy team. Always. No exceptions.

The buddy system greatly reduces the risk of accidents and fatalities in scuba diving and it is also more fun than diving alone.

I simply let the numbers speak for themselves:

86% of all divers were alone when they died

“Why divers die” report 2016

Yes, certain agencies and dive schools offer courses on “solo diving”, however, I strongly advise against diving solo ever!

Certain countries like the Maldives even ban solo or solitary diving by law altogether.

3 Stay within the limits of your training

It is important to stick to the limits of your certification level, as well as the generally accepted limits of recreational scuba diving.

Here is a little refresher on the depth limits imposed by most training agencies:

CertificationMetersFeet
Non-Certified (with an instructor)6m18ft
Junior Open Water Divers ( max depth = age)14m45ft
Open Water Diver / CMAS*20m65ft
Advanced Open Water Diver30m100ft
Advanced Open Water Diver + Deep Diver / CMAS**40m130ft
Technical divers40m+130ft+

The generally imposed depth limits in recreational diving

Note: These limits apply to recreational diving only, and differ in technical and freediving)

4 Take pictures, leave only bubbles, keep the memories

This is as much a rule, as it is good diving etiquette. We do not touch or take anything from underwater unless it obviously doesn’t belong there.

This refers to both animals and items, rocks, or other non-living things.

The only exception here is plastic and other harmful trash that you should definitely take with you and throw away after the dive.

Take pictures. Leave only bubbles. Keep the memories.

Don’t enrage the turtle! Get your feet and hands off the reef!

5 Dive only when you’re healthy

This should be common sense but is especially important when scuba diving:

Only dive when you feel healthy to do so and never when you have a cold.

Being sick not only makes diving in (cold) water very unpleasant, it can also block your sinuses which prevents you from equalizing properly underwater.

Scuba diving trip packing list

6 Don’t ascend too fast

Stick to the ascent rates taught in your Open Water Diver course to reduce the risk of getting Decompression Sickness (DCS).

If we ascend slowly, and the pressure around us gets lower, the Nitrogen can be released from our body in a controlled manner.

Take a 3-5 minute safety stop at 5 meters depth on every dive to make your ascent even safer.

In case you are confused as to why the pressure changes, here is a refresher on the most important scuba diving gas laws.

Here is a little refresher on the ascent rates:

Depth RangeAscent rate (m)Ascent rate (ft)
Below 10 meters / 30ft10m / min30ft / min
10m – 6 m (30-18ft)5m / min15ft / min
5m – surface1-5m / min3-15ft / min

The recommended maximum ascent rates.

7 Plan the dive – dive the plan

The foundation of every fun and safe dive is thorough dive planning.

Plan ahead and when you’re underwater, stick to it. This way, you and your dive buddy know exactly where to go, how long to stay, and how to react if there is an emergency.

Plan your dive. Dive your plan.

It’s a simple rule.

8 Check your gear

Check your dive equipment before every dive and make sure it is safe to use and set up correctly.

Do the same for your buddy during the buddy check and familiarize yourself with how it works.

Two divers doing buddy check at Social Diving

A buddy check is a must before every dive.

9 Constantly monitor your instruments

Throughout your dive, you should always know your depth, dive time, and tank pressure. You would not want to be out of air on your safety stop, right?

Therefore, it is super important that you constantly monitor your gauges and instruments like SPG (submersible pressure gauge) and dive computer.

Dive Guide hovering underwater

Checking your instruments while waiting is always good practice.

10 Always have fun

I know this one seems out of place after all the technical and safety rules from above.

But the truth is, having fun is the reason why we go diving in the first place. Plus, it increases your safety during a dive:

Having fun will make you more relaxed, consume less air, communicate more with your buddies, have better buoyancy, and pay more attention to your surrounding.

We see this all the time with first-time divers. If they are excited to go diving and really want it, they are always much better than those, who don’t really want to be underwater.

So enjoy your time underwater and appreciate every minute of it.

Conclusion

That’s it. These are 10 rules of scuba diving every diver should know, in my opinion.

Of course, there are many more rules and regulations we need to follow as scuba divers. However, if you stick to these 10, you will be a safer diver and a better buddy.

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If you feel like you want to refresh your diving skills, go and check out our Scuba Review course which you can do in person or online!

Was there anything I missed or do you think I should add? Let me know in the comments!

Join the email list to get regular diving tips, tricks, insights, and news straight to your inbox!

Always dive with friends and happy bubbles.

Julius

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The 8 Most Important Rules When Scuba Diving

Scuba diving requires extensive training and practice, but anyone willing to follow the basic rules can try it. In this article, I’ll go over the most important rules for a safe and fun dive.

What are the most important rules when scuba diving?

Because modern scuba diving has thorough safety standards, all of the most important rules are covered in a beginner class.

In this article, I’ll discuss the most important rules for before, during, and after the dive.

The most important rules for scuba diving are:

1 – Never hold your breath

diver blowing bubbles

When you take your first scuba class, your instructor will tell you that the most important rule of scuba is to keep breathing and never hold your breath.

Divers frequently ask me, “Why would I hold my breath?” The answer is that you might do it accidentally.

If a careless diver kicks your regulator out of your mouth, you might panic, hold your breath and start to ascend (if you don’t remember your training to carefully replace your regulator).

The danger is that the compressed air in your lungs will expand if you ascend, and could damage your lungs or throw an air bubble into your blood.

It sounds scary, but it’s easily avoided as long as you breathe out while you replace your regulator or find your buddy’s.

2 – Ascend slowly

diver ascending next to his dive buddy

As we breathe compressed air on our dive, the gases dissolve into our blood.

It’s crucial to ascend slowly at the end of the dive to give that pressurized gas time to come out of our tissues, where we breathe it out harmlessly.

If we ascend too quickly, the gases can form bubbles in our tissues and blood, which can damage your organs as decompression sickness (“the bends”).

A five-minute or longer safety stop around three meters depth at the end of every dive gives us an extra layer of safety for those gases to come out before we surface.

3 – Stay close to your buddy

two scuba divers next to each other

Think about being underwater as being an astronaut on a space walk. You’re in an environment where humans can’t survive without specialized gear.

It’s important to always have a dive buddy or an instructor within a few seconds swimming time so they can help you in case anything goes wrong.

They can offer you their spare regulator, calm you down if you get anxious, and help you both navigate back to the boat if you get lost.

Plus, they might need your help at some point, too.

4 – Do a pre-dive safety check

checking tank pressure before a dive

Once divers become experienced, they can start to feel overconfident and skip basic safety standards, like the pre-dive buddy check.

Before the dive, you check your buddy’s BCD, weight, releases, air, and make sure they have everything they need for the dive.

Then your buddy checks everything for you. Many dive accidents happen because a diver skipped the basic pre-dive check.

It’s a quick procedure that will prevent problems on your dive and assure that you feel safer and more secure.

5 – Keep a reserve of air

80 bars pressure gauge

80 bars left on the tank after a dive

Divers can get wrapped up in the experience of the dive and stay under after their air reserve gets low.

Some divers even lie about how much air they have to their buddy or divemaster to get more dive time.

As an instructor, not only does this affect my planning about when the group needs to surface, it puts the diver in a dangerous position.

If they suddenly run out of air, they could surface too quickly and risk decompression sickness.

The diver could also force their buddy to come to their rescue and share air with their spare regulator, making the buddy babysit the diver as they both surface together.

Instead of pushing the limits, learn breathing techniques that will maximize your dive time and reduce your air consumption.

6 – Equalize often

divers hooloding a line while descending

One of the most difficult skills for new divers to learn is equalization, where they counter the water pressure from outside their ears by adding air to the inner ear.

Divers can get distracted by the descent and forget to equalize frequently. The pressure can inflame or damage the middle ear if it’s intense enough.

It’s best to equalize early and often – before you feel pressure. There should not be any pain.

The Valsalva maneuver, holding your nose and blowing, is the most common method, but sometimes swallowing or moving the jaw can do the trick.

On the dive, if you descend to different depths, you will have to keep equalizing.

7 – Stick to your limits

diver passing through a cave

Divers are always tempted to go deeper and explore further.

On a wall dive, perhaps you’re Open Water certified and supposed to stick to an 18-meter maximum depth, but the group of advanced divers at 30 meters looks like they’re having so much more fun!

If you pass your planned depth limits, it will affect your entire dive.

You will consume more air, you will absorb more gases, and you will reduce the amount of time you can stay underwater.

If you’re wearing a computer, it will tell you if you’ve passed the no-stop limit.

If this happens, you can no longer safely surface without doing a mandatory decompression stop.

You’ve absorbed too much gas and risk decompression sickness.

Your dive buddy and divemaster will not be happy having to end the dive early and wait for you to do a 15-minute stop at 15 meters.

8 – Respect the dive site

diver passing through a school of fish

We dive to become a part of the underwater world.

The truth is, our presence can damage these fragile ecosystems and contribute to their decline.

As ambassadors of the ocean, it’s our job to respect marine life by keeping our distance from the creatures we see, not touching the reef (watch your fins!), and removing trash if it’s safe.

Chemicals from sunscreen can kill corals and wildlife, so before we jump in, we can be sure to use only reef-safe sunscreen containing zinc or non-nano titanium.

We can mind our belongings and trash on the boat and on shore to make sure none gets swept into the ocean.

It’s vitally important that we preserve dive sites for the creatures who live there and for future divers.

Conclusion

The more scuba training you take, the more complex rules you’ll learn. But it’s important to never forget the basics and keep these key rules in mind on your dive.

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Do you think these are the most important rules? If you have a question or something you would add, leave a comment below!

You might also like:

scuba diver equalizing

cave diver with a danger warning sign

cave diving instructor and student

La plongée sous marine est une activité qui nécessite un entrainement et une formation sérieuse, mais certaines règles sont plus importantes que d’autres.

Quelles sont les règles les plus importantes en plongée sous marine?

Il y a de nombreuses règles a suivre en plongée, les plus importantes sont enseignées dès le premier niveau de plongée (open water).

Dans cet article, je vais décrire les 8 règles les plus importantes a suivre, avant, pendant et après une plongée.

Les règles les plus importantes en plongée sont:

1 – Ne Jamais Retenir Sa Respiration

plongeurs qui souffle des bulles

Une des premières choses que vous apprendrez dans une formation classique de plongée est de respirer et ne jamais retenir complètement votre respiration.

Les plongeurs que j’encadre me demandent souvent: “Pourquoi je retiendrais ma respiration?” La réponse est que vous pouvez le faire sans le faire exprès.

Si un plongeur par accident met un coup de palme dans votre flexible de détendeur, et vous le décroche, il est possible que votre réaction soit de paniquer et de commencer a remonter a la surface (Si vous ne vous souvenez pas comment récupérer votre détendeur, une technique qu’on apprend pendant le open water ou niveau 1).

Le danger dans ce cas, est que l’air comprimé a l’intérieur de vos poumons se dilate au fur et a mesure de la remontée, jusqu’a causer un accident de surpression pulmonaire (accident grave).

Ca fait peur a lire, mais c’est en réalité rare et facile a éviter, a partir du moment ou vous n’oubliez pas de continuer a respirer, et a souffler de l’air pendant que vous récupérez votre détendeur ou le détendeur de secours de votre binôme.

2 – Remonter Lentement

deux plongeurs qui remontent a la surface

En plongée, on respire de l’air a une pression plus importante en profondeur, et les gaz présents dans cet air se retrouvent dans notre système sanguin.

Il est très important de remonter de manière controlée, et lentement, afin de donner du temps a ces micro bulles d’air de s’évacuer progressivement de nos tissus sanguin, par la respiration.

Si on remonte trop vite, les micro bulles d’air peuvent se dilater trop rapidement pour être évacuées, et former de plus grosses bulles qui alors bloquent nos capillaires sanguins, et peuvent blesser nos organes, causant un accident de décompression.

Un ‘safety stop’ de 3 minutes ou plus a environ 3 mètres a la fin de chaque plongée permet, en plus d’une remontée lente, de créer un mini palier de sécurité donnant plus de temps a l’élimination de ces micro bulles.

3 – Rester a proximité de son binôme

un plongeur a côté de son binôme

Dites vous qu’en plongée sous marine, vous êtes un peu comme un astronaute qui fait une sortie en dehors de sa station spatiale. Vous êtes dans un environnement ou un être humain ne peut pas survivre normalement, sans un équipement spécial.

C’est important de toujours avoir votre binôme ou un moniteur a quelques coups de palmes de vous pour pouvoir vous aider (et vice-versa) en cas de problème.

Votre binôme peut vous passer son détendeur de secours en cas de problème avec le votre, vous rassurer, ou vous aider pour tous type de problèmes.

4 – Vérifier bien son équipement avant la plongée

vérifications de sécurité sur du materiel de plongée sous marine

Quand on commence a avoir de l’experience, il arrive parfois qu’on se sente un peu trop a l’aise et qu’on oublie de faire les vérifications de base de sécurité.

Avant la plongée, n’oubliez pas de vérifier votre gilet stabilisateur, plombs, détendeurs.. assurez vous que votre équipement fonctionne correctement.

Faites de même pour votre binôme, de nombreux accidents de plongée arrivent car les vérifications de sécurité n’ont pas été faites correctement.

C’est une procédure rapide et qui doit devenir un automatisme, elle vous évitera les problèmes potentiels et vous aidera a vous sentir plus en sécurité.

5 – Toujours conserver sa réserve d’air

manomètre de plongée avec 80 bars affichés

Il reste 80 bars a la fin de la plongée, satisfaisant.

Les plongeurs sont parfois tentés de rester un peu plus longtemps sous l’eau, et de compter sur leur réserve (en dessous de 50 bars).

Il arrive que des plongeurs mentent au moniteur ou a leur binôme quand on leur demande combien d’air il leur reste, pour pouvoir rester un peu plus longtemps sous l’eau.

En tant que monitrice, non seulement ca affecte mon plan de plongée et la remontée du groupe en surface au bon endroit, mais cela met aussi le plongeur dans une situation de danger.

Si ils venaient a ne plus avoir d’air, il se peut qu’ils remontent en surface trop rapidement, risquent un accident de décompression ou les pales d’un moteur hors bord…

Au lieu de repousser les limites de votre bouteille, il est préférable d’apprendre a être le plus efficace sous l’eau au niveau du palmage pour consommer moins d’air, et le plus calme possible.

6 – Compenser souvent

deux plongeurs qui se tiennent a une corde a la remontée

La compensation est une des choses les plus compliquées au départ pour les nouveau plongeur.

Il est obligatoire de contrer la pression qui s’exerce dans l’oreille a la descente en ajoutant plus d’air via les sinus, et de le faire régulièrement.

Les plongeurs sont parfois distraits pendant la descente et oublient de compenser fréquemment. La pression sur les tympans peut alors créer des douleurs intenses et une blessure.

Il est important de compenser tôt pendant la dépense, et régulièrement. Vous ne devez ressentir aucune douleur a la descente.

La manoeuvre de Valsalva, pincer votre nez et souffler dedans, est la méthode la plus courante, mais pour certaines personnes avaler sa salive ou bouger la mâchoire peut suffire.

Pendant la plongée si vous changez de profondeur, vous devrez a nouveau compenser a chaque descente.

7 – Ne pas chercher a repousser les limites

un plongeur qui passe dans une cave sous marine

Les plongeurs sont souvent tenté par des plongées plus profondes, des explorations plus complexes.

Sur un tombant, un plongeur niveau open water supposé rester dans la zone des 18 mètres peut être tenté de descendre plus profond.

En allant plus loin, vous consommerez votre air plus rapidement, absorberez plus de gaz et le temps passé sous l’eau sans palier de décompression se réduira.

Si vous avez un ordinateur de plongée avec vous, vous verrez la NDL (no decompression limit) réduire.

A un certain point vous ne pourrez plus remonter sans effectuer de stop de décompression, créant alors un plafond.

Il est important de se former avant de dépasser les limites prévues pour son niveau de formation.

8 – Respecter la vie sous marine

plongeur au milieu d

On plonge pour découvrir un monde nouveau, et faire partie d’un environnement sous marin.

Notre présente peut parfois abîmer ces écosystèmes fragiles et contribuer a leur déclin.

En tant que plongeurs nous sommes des ambassadeurs des océans, c’est notre responsabilité de respecter la vie sous marine en gardant nos distances avec les animaux et en évitant de toucher le corail (attention aux palmes!).

Les produits chimiques présents dans la plus part des crèmes solaires par exemple peuvent tuer le corail et certaines espèces. Avant de plonger, on peut choisir une crème solaire sans zinc ou nano titanes.

Faites attentions a vos objets personnels, et a la poubelle sur le bateau et en dehors de l’eau, de manière a ce que rien de finisse dans la mer.

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Préserver les dites de plongées pour les animaux qui y vivent et pour les futurs plongeurs doit être notre responsabilité collective.

Conclusion

Plus vous vous formez, plus vous apprendre des règles complexes pour vos plongées. Mais les règles de bases ci-dessus sous les plus importantes a garder a l’esprit.

Pensez vous que ce sont les règles les plus importantes? Si vous avez une question ou quelque chose a ajouter, n’hésitez pas a me laisser un commentaire ci-dessous!

10 rules of scuba diving every diver should know

Take pictures. Leave only bubbles. Keep the memories.

These are the 10 most important rules of scuba diving you should follow.

Scuba diving is a fun activity, however, we always need to follow the rules of safe diving.

Here are the 10 rules of scuba diving every diver should know and adhere to. If you do, you will be safe throughout all your dives and reduce the risk of accidents and emergencies.

1 Always keep breathing

This is arguably the most important rule in scuba diving and the first one most people learn. It’s also one thing your instructor will repeat over and over and over…and over..and over…again throughout your beginner course.

In our Discover Scuba Diving courses, we like to say: “If you remember just one thing about scuba diving, then let it be: Diving is fun, and never hold your breath!

Diving is fun, and never hold your breath!

By breathing continuously, you prevent overexpansion of your lungs during ascending which could lead to barotrauma, injuries, and worse.

Normal, rhythmic breathing also improves your buoyancy and reduces air consumption.

2 Never dive alone

In recreational scuba diving, we always dive in a buddy team. Always. No exceptions.

The buddy system greatly reduces the risk of accidents and fatalities in scuba diving and it is also more fun than diving alone.

I simply let the numbers speak for themselves:

86% of all divers were alone when they died

“Why divers die” report 2016

Yes, certain agencies and dive schools offer courses on “solo diving”, however, I strongly advise against diving solo ever!

Certain countries like the Maldives even ban solo or solitary diving by law altogether.

3 Stay within the limits of your training

It is important to stick to the limits of your certification level, as well as the generally accepted limits of recreational scuba diving.

Here is a little refresher on the depth limits imposed by most training agencies:

CertificationMetersFeet
Non-Certified (with an instructor)6m18ft
Junior Open Water Divers ( max depth = age)14m45ft
Open Water Diver / CMAS*20m65ft
Advanced Open Water Diver30m100ft
Advanced Open Water Diver + Deep Diver / CMAS**40m130ft
Technical divers40m+130ft+

The generally imposed depth limits in recreational diving

Note: These limits apply to recreational diving only, and differ in technical and freediving)

4 Take pictures, leave only bubbles, keep the memories

This is as much a rule, as it is good diving etiquette. We do not touch or take anything from underwater unless it obviously doesn’t belong there.

This refers to both animals and items, rocks, or other non-living things.

The only exception here is plastic and other harmful trash that you should definitely take with you and throw away after the dive.

Take pictures. Leave only bubbles. Keep the memories.

Don’t enrage the turtle! Get your feet and hands off the reef!

5 Dive only when you’re healthy

This should be common sense but is especially important when scuba diving:

Only dive when you feel healthy to do so and never when you have a cold.

Being sick not only makes diving in (cold) water very unpleasant, it can also block your sinuses which prevents you from equalizing properly underwater.

Scuba diving trip packing list

6 Don’t ascend too fast

Stick to the ascent rates taught in your Open Water Diver course to reduce the risk of getting Decompression Sickness (DCS).

If we ascend slowly, and the pressure around us gets lower, the Nitrogen can be released from our body in a controlled manner.

Take a 3-5 minute safety stop at 5 meters depth on every dive to make your ascent even safer.

In case you are confused as to why the pressure changes, here is a refresher on the most important scuba diving gas laws.

Here is a little refresher on the ascent rates:

Depth RangeAscent rate (m)Ascent rate (ft)
Below 10 meters / 30ft10m / min30ft / min
10m – 6 m (30-18ft)5m / min15ft / min
5m – surface1-5m / min3-15ft / min

The recommended maximum ascent rates.

7 Plan the dive – dive the plan

The foundation of every fun and safe dive is thorough dive planning.

Plan ahead and when you’re underwater, stick to it. This way, you and your dive buddy know exactly where to go, how long to stay, and how to react if there is an emergency.

Plan your dive. Dive your plan.

It’s a simple rule.

8 Check your gear

Check your dive equipment before every dive and make sure it is safe to use and set up correctly.

Do the same for your buddy during the buddy check and familiarize yourself with how it works.

Two divers doing buddy check at Social Diving

A buddy check is a must before every dive.

9 Constantly monitor your instruments

Throughout your dive, you should always know your depth, dive time, and tank pressure. You would not want to be out of air on your safety stop, right?

Therefore, it is super important that you constantly monitor your gauges and instruments like SPG (submersible pressure gauge) and dive computer.

Dive Guide hovering underwater

Checking your instruments while waiting is always good practice.

10 Always have fun

I know this one seems out of place after all the technical and safety rules from above.

But the truth is, having fun is the reason why we go diving in the first place. Plus, it increases your safety during a dive:

Having fun will make you more relaxed, consume less air, communicate more with your buddies, have better buoyancy, and pay more attention to your surrounding.

We see this all the time with first-time divers. If they are excited to go diving and really want it, they are always much better than those, who don’t really want to be underwater.

So enjoy your time underwater and appreciate every minute of it.

Conclusion

That’s it. These are 10 rules of scuba diving every diver should know, in my opinion.

Of course, there are many more rules and regulations we need to follow as scuba divers. However, if you stick to these 10, you will be a safer diver and a better buddy.

If you feel like you want to refresh your diving skills, go and check out our Scuba Review course which you can do in person or online!

Was there anything I missed or do you think I should add? Let me know in the comments!

Join the email list to get regular diving tips, tricks, insights, and news straight to your inbox!

Always dive with friends and happy bubbles.

Julius

Related Posts

Join our list!

Join hundreds of divers and get exclusive scuba, travel and equipments tips and tricks!

Source https://www.social-diving.com/rules-of-scuba-diving/

Source https://divingcorner.com/most-important-rules-scuba-diving/

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