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## How to Properly Ascend When Scuba Diving

Ascending when scuba diving is a critical skill that all divers must master. If done improperly, it can lead to decompression sickness (DCS), a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.

### The Importance of a Controlled Ascent

When you ascend, the pressure on your body decreases. This causes the nitrogen that has been absorbed into your tissues during the dive to come out of solution and form bubbles. If these bubbles are too large or too numerous, they can block blood vessels and cause DCS.

To prevent DCS, it is important to ascend slowly and in a controlled manner. This allows the nitrogen to be gradually released from your tissues and to be eliminated through your lungs.

### The Proper Technique

The following steps outline the proper technique for ascending when scuba diving:

1. Check your depth and air supply. Before you begin your ascent, check your depth and air supply to make sure that you have enough time and air to reach the surface safely.
2. Ascend slowly. Ascend at a rate of no more than 30 feet per minute (9 meters per minute). This will give your body time to adjust to the decreasing pressure and to release the nitrogen from your tissues.
3. Make safety stops. Every 30 feet (9 meters) or so, make a safety stop for 3-5 minutes. This will help to eliminate any nitrogen bubbles that may have formed during your ascent.
4. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your dive to help your body eliminate nitrogen.
5. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can dehydrate you and increase your risk of DCS.

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### Signs and Symptoms of DCS

The signs and symptoms of DCS can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases of DCS may cause joint pain, muscle cramps, and fatigue. More severe cases can cause paralysis, seizures, and even death.

If you experience any of the signs or symptoms of DCS, seek medical attention immediately.

### Conclusion

Ascending when scuba diving is a critical skill that all divers must master. By following the proper technique and being aware of the signs and symptoms of DCS, you can help to minimize your risk of this serious condition.

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