Scuba Day Live 2023
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Scuba Day Live 2023

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“Dive like a Pro : the secrets of fun underwater”

On August 6th the very first International Scuba Day was celebrated worldwide. We, the team behind the global event, got incredible support and love from both brands and individual divers.

Scuba Day Live is a great example of the support we got and the willingness to celebrate this day by the global diving community. As we were joined by representatives from DAN Europe, The Reef-World Foundation, and World Adventure Divers thousands of listeners tuned in.

You can listen to the live event here and read the transcript below.

Scuba Day Live 2023 Transcript

Christos  00:00

Hello, everyone. Welcome to international scuba day, the first international scuba day. Today, we celebrate scuba diving and all the beautiful experiences it brings to our lives. Whether you’re a seasoned divemaster, an experienced instructor, or even a pure beginner who just wants to get their feet wet, this day holds significance for all divers. My name is Christos Nicolaou. I’m a divemaster and editor at DiveIn. And I’m joined today by Florine from World Adventure Divers, Teresa from the Reef World Foundation, and Christian from DAN Europe. Today we’re going to talk about how to make our scuba diving experiences better and how to become more proficient divers. But before we do that, before we start the discussion, Florine will tell us a little bit about the history of diving. And the reason behind us choosing the 6th of August as the day to celebrate International Scuba Day.

Florine  01:01

Hello, everyone. Yeah, so my name is Florine. I’m a diving blogger at World Adventure Divers. I’m French, and this whole story has a deep deep meaning for me. I’m French, but I write in English as well. So we chose the 6th of August because on the 6th of August 1926 is when a French Navy officer decided to do a public demonstration of the first autonomous scuba diving regulator. If you remember, scuba means self contained underwater breathing apparatus. And before it wasn’t autonomous. The air was brought to the diver by a pump. The biggest surprise I got was that scuba diving was basically born in Paris in 1926. And it was in the swimming pool that was built two years before for the Olympic Games of 1924. And as we are about to have the Olympic Games in Paris again, in 2024, it has really a big historical value as this is where basically scuba diving was born. This swimming pool is still here in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, so you can still see it but at the moment it’s going through refurbishment work, as it’s getting ready for the 2024 Olympic Games. It’s going to be all shiny and new. I’m really excited because I did a lot of additional research and I can’t wait to summarize all in a future article. But now we are able to enjoy scuba diving in a way, way less complicated fashion than in 1926, when Yves Le Prieur had to set up manually, each of its valves, the one from the tank, the one from what we call today a second stage. Now we can really enjoy our time underwater, this is the first question I want to ask everyone: How do you define diving as being enjoyable? How do you define having fun underwater and making it pleasurable? Theresa, do you want to start? What are your two cents about having fun and making diving enjoyable?

Teresa  03:31

For me personally, what makes it fun to be underwater? First of all, it’s peaceful. It’s quiet; all I hear is my bubbles. And I can’t believe for those who are diving on rebreathers, you don’t even hear them, which is just being peaceful. It’s almost like being in space but not having to pay a lot of money to be there. Besides that, I really enjoyed the dive as well. It took me a long time and a lot of practice as well to be a good diver: I don’t have to worry about my air consumption; I don’t have to worry about my buoyancy, I don’t have to worry about losing my dive guide, accidentally getting lost underwater or being too close to something that I want to see. There were a lot of dives, lots of practice and always asking for feedback about how to be better. I like being underwater without having to worry about all this. I think that’s how I know I really enjoy diving now”. I’ve always enjoyed it, but now it’s very peaceful. No worries. I just enjoy the underwater world and being one with the fish.

Cristian  04:47

Recently, our team at DAN launched a worldwide campaign called “Dive safe, Explore more”. The concept is if you become a safer diver, skilled, experienced, and open to new adventures, you’re likely to dive more frequently for an extended time and longer in your life too. So, you will have more fun! Having fun is connected with all the rest. If you’re safe, if you’re experienced, if you’re skilled to take care of all these aspects, you’re going to have more fun, and for longer.

Florine  05:31

Christos any take on it?

Christos  05:47

For me, it’s just the thing that makes it the most enjoyable is being able to see marine animals in their natural environment. Having that experience with other people as well and being able to be in a different environment from the day-to-day walking around breathing air. It’s just lovely to be in somebody else’s environment, like an alien in an unknown environment, if that makes sense. But perhaps it now makes sense for us to introduce a little bit more about who we are and a little bit about what our organizations are about. So for example, I’m a divemaster and an editor. At DiveIn.com we do scuba diving product reviews, as well as support some initiatives, such as Scuba Day. Maybe Teresa, do you want to elaborate on what the Reef World Foundation is? What is your position? What do you do?

Teresa  06:54

Sure! Hello, everybody, I’m Teresa. I’m a scuba diving instructor and also the communications officer at the Reef World Foundation. For some of you, as divers, you might know Green Fins. We are actually the international coordinator of Green Fins. We also implement the Green Fins initiative globally in partnership with the UN environmental program. So, our aim is to protect and conserve coral reefs by promoting environmentally friendly guidelines to help the sustainable marine tourism industry. That’s what we do at the Reef World Foundation.

Christos  07:35

Awesome. Thanks so much for sharing. And Cristian?

Cristian  07:38

Hi, everyone. This is Christian. And as you can see, I have a guest here, my cat is walking around, I’m sorry, if something bad happens, it’s his fault. I’m the digital marketing and communication specialist at DAN, Divers Alert Network, Europe. I’m also the editor of Alert Diver magazine, the European edition. It’s an international online diving magazine promoting DAN’s mission and dealing with everything that is health and safety in diving. I’m also a scuba diving instructor and a full cave diver. I try any kind of different diving environments. I started diving in 2009, quite a long time ago, but I feel like I’m just starting, so there’s a lot to discover.

Florine  08:49

In my case, besides the fact that I write on my blog, I write articles for other publishers, I’m a photographer, and I’m finishing at the moment a book! That’s going to be like my massive news for September but more information soon. I was trained as a divemaster 10 years ago. So it’s been a while. I heard everyone’s saying about feeling like they were out in space, the silence and everything. And I think there’s something I recently realised how much I love showing people all the tiny creatures. I’m a nudibranch geek, and I love showing them, especially in colder water, because people don’t expect nudibranchs in places like Brittany, where I’m from, and where you can see colourful purple and yellow nudibranchs, and it’s quite amazing. And I love showing that and seeing people having sparkles in their eyes. And that’s part of my fun, personally.

Christos  10:02

Amazing. Thanks so much for introducing yourselves guys and explaining a little bit about your organisations. So, back to the question Florine introduced, how can we enjoy scuba diving? Cristian, maybe you could take this one to start with: how can improving how we dive and our dive profiles perhaps help us enjoy our dives more, and how can that basically elevate the experience of diving?

Cristian  10:30

If you take care of progressing in your diving career, taking more courses, but not just taking courses, also getting experience after you do the course, not just jump from one course to the other, to find the right buddy, especially of your own level, so you can progress together, being open to new adventures, not being afraid, exit your comfort zone and try something new, then you’re more likely to enjoy the experience, you push yourself a little bit, but you get that reward. Most of the time, the sea and the water reward you with incredible discoveries; that’s my experience, at least. And the more you dive, the more you enjoy the process. It’s not just getting there; it’s enjoying the process, just like in a journey.

Christos  11:36

Of course. And, Teresa, do you have anything you want to add here?

Teresa  11:40

The more you are comfortable underwater, the more confident you are, and that way, you enjoy your dive more, not having to worry about accidentally breaking the corals or, like Florine, you like to show the macro diving stuff, like a lot of divers out there, if you like muck diving, you don’t want to be kicking the sediments and not being able to see anything, that’s not enjoyable, right? So we want to make sure our buoyancy is proper. (Florine: “OMG, frog-kick, everyone!”) Exactly!  That way, you make your dive more enjoyable. Whether it is muck diving or a deep ocean dive, the more confident you are as a diver, keeping improving your skills, the more you’ll enjoy your dives.

Christos  12:39

Awesome, thank you. And Florine, what do you think?

Florine  12:44

At the end of the day, you come to a point where everything is a reflex; you don’t need to think about it. So you can focus more on what’s around you. I remember when everything was still overwhelming for me at the beginning: I needed to watch my buoyancy, I needed to watch where I was. And I couldn’t see any of those nudibranchs everyone was talking about. I was in Koh Tao in Thailand. It was like, “Where did you see that?” And I hear that a lot from beginner divers now “Where did you see that?”. And it’s because there is a moment where you don’t need to worry too much about everything. And it comes with practice. It comes with time; you need to be patient with yourself. It’s okay; it takes time. I’m sure if we compare it with driving a car, it was overwhelming at the beginning. And then, after a while, it becomes easier because you know where everything is. I think the most important is “trusting the process”, as many people are saying these days. It will come; just keep practising. And then, the more you practice, the more you’ll see around you.

Christos  12:45

Oh, that’s a good point. Practice makes perfect, for sure. Now that we actually have someone from DAN, this is the perfect opportunity. I’m sure a lot of people want to ask this question. What kind of misconceptions happens with divers? In terms of their safety? And then, on the other hand, Teresa, what sort of responsible diving practices do divers not take into account? Maybe we should start with a Cristian? What kind of diving misconceptions do people have? And what kind of common mistakes do they make almost every time? Something we just overlook now?

Cristian  14:48

Well, there’s a long list. I don’t know if this talk is enough. At DAN, I do marketing and communication, so I do a lot of popular science, spreading the news about diving safety, new research, best practices, etc. And my personal opinion as a diving instructor and longtime diver is that the most common misconceptions in diving in general, or mistakes, that I see personally around in many accidents can be avoided by just applying the rules. When you do your first diving course, you learn about pre-dive checks, safety checks, and buddy checks; we call them in different ways. The British Sub Aqua Club has something called the B A R, and PADI has another acronym, BWRAF (BCD-Weights-Releases-Air-Fins&Mask). It’s a bit complicated, but it comes to the same thing. GUE has the DIR (Do It Right); it’s the GUE edge. All these procedures and checklists have been created to check the status of any kind of diving conditions before the dive. So you, your equipment, your buddy, cross-check. What we see around is that these pre-dive checks are not done or are very rare. Back to basics, I would say, let’s get back to pre-dive checks. It would enormously help to not take it for granted, even for experienced divers. And this could go a long way. Another big misconception is about weight, about being overweighted. Many people, especially at the beginning of their diving career and experiences, think or are taught or told that you have to be a little bit more weighted, you have to use more weights because if something goes wrong, you jump up to the surface. This is completely wrong. You need to make a proper assessment; you need to make a weight check. And the way check has to be done is before the dive, and especially after the dive when you surface, you do the weight check to see if you’re ending the dive with the proper weight. These are two misconceptions or mistakes that I see a lot around. And I think we must pay attention to this. That’s a good point. That’s a really good point about overweighting. Because I saw it a lot because sometimes people think it’s easier because they struggle to descend at the beginning because they never learned properly how to really empty their lungs at the surface, and then they think they need more weight. But this can make the dive really tiring, uncomfortable, and dangerous at the end.

Christos  18:34

From a responsible diving perspective as well. Having more weight can affect how you interact with the marine environment. Teresa, do you have anything to say about this?

Teresa  18:47

Absolutely. Personally, from my own personal dive professional career, I have seen these. And also, there have been studies that say 88% of divers contact a reef while diving and 36% of them are actually unaware that they were doing so. A lot of people, when they are diving, may think, “Oh, people might do it on purpose”. So many times, people are just not aware. And it could be because they are overweighted underwater, or they are not aware of that, and it might be a little bit of shame to say, it took me a long time in my dive career to realise it, coral reefs are actually animals as well, not just rocks. And even if they are plants, you shouldn’t kick them, but then many people resist that “Oh, but they are hard. It could just be rocks”. It’s ten million divers who go diving every year. So imagine all this cumulative effect that you could have underwater. Imagine if we all just follow the environmental best practices while diving. We could have so much more positive impact underwater; we could enjoy the underwater world and also keep it that way for many more generations to come. I got a misconception on my part as a diver “People are just not aware of when they’re making contact with the reef and with their marine life”. Clearly, what Cristian said, being properly weighted is so important. As a dive instructor, keep banging on about the right messaging to the students. Please make sure you know to do a proper weight check before you get underwater and especially if you haven’t dived for a long time as well. Do it. Do a refresher. You know, there’s no shame in that. Once you do a refresher dive, a lot of things come back. It’s sort of like cycling, you can’t forget how to dive, but sometimes if you haven’t done it for a long time, you just need a bit of a quick refresher. And you’ll be, “Ah, that’s how it is; that’s how it’s like to breathe underwater again”. And it all comes back, and you get much more confident.

Florine  20:55

Teresa, maybe you can just quickly remind everyone how you do a weight check easily?

Teresa  21:55

Always do a weight check before you go underwater. Because at the beginning, your tank will be full. So it’s not the most accurate, but then at least you know what it’s like. As you keep diving, it gets less heavy. Then, at the end of the dive, do a weight check again. You should finish your dive with not less than 50 bar of air. You do the weight check at the surface, take a deep breath and then deflate your BCD to see if you float at your mask level. Then, you should be properly weighted. If you’re not sinking at all, maybe you’re underweighted, but if you have 50 bars of air and when you deflate, you still sink like an anchor, you’re definitely overweighted.

Florine  22:39

The waterline on your eyes is like a good reference, right? (Teresa: Yes).

Cristian  22:46

I  have a friend instructor who said the ability to be weightless in the water is a privilege. As you said before, it’s just like floating in space, but we don’t have to be astronauts to experience this. It’s a privilege, but you have to earn it and earn it again. I mean, you have to respect some procedures to gain experience. Being properly weighted is one of the ways you earn it.

Christos  23:28

Fair enough. It sounds like I’m seeing a little bit of a trend here. It seems like divers need to be well-educated on the pre-dive checks, specifically how to do the weighting and also buddy checks. In my experience, divers get slightly overconfident, especially if you’re diving consistently. I know I’ve also been guilty of doing the quick buddy check. Is there any way that would be good advice for people to follow when doing buddy checks? Especially sometimes, for example, if you’re on holiday, and your buddy isn’t very interested in this, they just want to go diving, right?

Florine  24:20

How do you suggest to people it would be a good idea? Because sometimes you can feel like there’s like a different opinion on the subject.

Cristian  24:36

I don’t know if I can say something about this. But that as I said before, there are different checks and lists proposed by training agencies, but they all come to check your equipment, that you have the proper equipment, and all the elements of scuba diving equipment are functioning properly both on you and on your dive buddy. And it normally starts from the head down. Do you have a diving hood? Then mask, regulator and then everything else? From head to toe. That’s at least what the DIR is proposing. But there are many, many ways to do the checks. The important thing is that you do it, and then you share the same thoughts with your buddy and that you’re okay that you will do that check. And every element will be covered.

Florine  26:00

What about you, Teresa? Do you have any tips to kindly suggest “we should do a buddy check”?

Teresa  26:07

Well, I was trained by PADI. So BWRAF is definitely a thing. But I like your question. Maybe some people who are just too excited want to get into the water? And then how we convince them to do all this sequence is very important.  As a buddy, you can always tell your buddies, “Oh, let’s do a quick check, you know, that will help me to be more comfortable”. And then your buddy should say, “Yeah, of course, I’ll help you be more comfortable underwater”. So, in a way, they might feel obligated, but at the same time, it’s a win-win situation.

Florine  26:49

It’s a really good point. “It’s nothing about you, it just makes me feel more comfortable!”

Teresa  26:53

“Yeah, if you can help me feel more comfortable underwater, then that’d be great”. Then “We can all do it together and do a quick buddy check”. It doesn’t take a long time, really. And if you keep in mind, like Cristian said, going from head to toe, you won’t forget anything. It takes less than 30 seconds, and then you can back-roll or jump in the water; you don’t even realise that you’ve done it.

Florine  27:27

Everyone has one of these catchy memo phrases to remember BWRAF. I asked people on my site’s Facebook groups how you remember the pre-dive check? I heard many over the years. My favourite one is “Big White Rabbits Are Fluffy”. I love this one. It’s super cute. I ask people which one is yours? Sometimes, it just serves as an icebreaker or a conversation starter, and then you do the check.

Cristian  27:59

An important thing is to convey to our friends watching here, we’ve all been there, and something can be learned with experience and also with bad experiences. It’s okay to say that we all may make mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes. And we also learn from mistakes. Hopefully, we learn from other people’s mistakes, not just ours, but let’s be honest, any of us makes mistakes, and it’s okay. For example, when talking about pre-dive checks, I remember a bad experience I had while diving in the Maldives. I remember that I had prepared my gear and opened the dive cylinder, everything was in place, but we didn’t have a buddy check that time. I went underwater, and suddenly I realised that my gauge was going crazy. And that’s because the cylinder was just a little bit open. It was almost completely closed. And I realised it was closed because the people on the boat normally opened the cylinders. But that time, probably, something went wrong. This was a near miss. Things could have gone really wrong that time for me. But I would have realised this with the proper buddy check before getting in the water. Everybody makes mistakes. That’s the message. It’s okay. And it’s okay also to tell the stories so that other people don’t do the same.

Christos  30:43

I completely agree with you. It doesn’t make sense to tell the story so that other people don’t do the same. Always better to learn from other people’s mistakes than from your own so that you don’t make the same mistakes. Just before we move on to the next question, I just wanted to ask you, what are the most common mistakes? What are the most common diving incidents that you, guys, have seen? Perhaps we can start with Florine this time?

Florine  31:18

I’ve seen a lot of things. Good ones, a lot of good ones, of course, and a few bad ones. I like what Cristian said about the near miss, also called wake-up calls. I’m sure every one of us here had some. The first one I saw was a long time ago, I was in the Blue Hole in Belize. And I saw someone very inexperienced struggling to maintain buoyancy at 40 meters deep, rather deep for a recreational diver. That person was struggling, I could see it, even if I wasn’t a divemaster yet. He was about to reach for his direct system and inflate his BCD completely, so I let you imagine what could have happened. So my buddy and I saw it directly, and we helped; one of us maintained him by the tank, and the other one showed him, “No, no, don’t touch it, we’re going to help you to go a little bit higher”.  The biggest lesson from that story was managing expectations. It doesn’t mean because you have a certification card for scuba diving that you should go everywhere anyhow. There are places that are supposed to be reached when you are a more experienced diver. It’s better to research online a little bit about what to expect from a certain dive. I know we all want to do adventurous stuff and exciting shipwrecks and maybe go deep or go in cold water with icebergs. I don’t know what your dream is, but research and manage the expectation because there’s time for everything. It doesn’t mean you’re less of a diver because you’re not going to a certain dive site for a moment; you just go later. For instance, I still have to return to the Red Sea because I was still a baby diver when I visited it the last time, a long time ago. I couldn’t do the Thistlegorm shipwreck because it wasn’t the right time for me to do it.

Christos  33:44

I suppose it comes with having the knowledge to know where your limits are. That’s also very important to avoid mistakes or take care of yourself.

Florine  33:44

Don’t put yourself in a situation that is not right for you.

Christos  34:05

Teresa, do you have any or many common things that you see other divers do? And as an experienced instructor, perhaps you could shed some light perhaps?

Teresa  34:22

I think as an instructor teaching students, students are good divers; they’re always listening to the instructor because they’re learning, so they are paying attention to the briefings and things like that. There could be issues and challenges after the student becomes a certified diver. They become like, “Oh, I’ve got the card”. What Florine said is definitely absolutely correct. Just because you have a certification doesn’t mean you know everything. You could be a diver that always dives in coral reefs. So when once you get your certification, that doesn’t mean that you can dive everywhere or you know how to dive in every situation. You could have got hundreds and hundreds of dives diving in beautiful coral reefs, but then you go to Egypt and want to do that shipwreck, but you have never done it before. Your hundreds of dives don’t mean all your skills are also transferable to the shoot-back. Most of them can be. But then, if you want to penetrate a wreck and haven’t got the experience, you shouldn’t be doing it. Because you could harm yourself seriously, you can cut yourself or get lost in the shipwreck. I’m not saying don’t do it, but always go into a dive with an open mind and not be overconfident. If you don’t think that you are comfortable doing it, then perhaps, do a course to learn how to be better, and then do it. There is always more opportunity to get better and be better divers. So I would say don’t get cocky; go into a dive with an open mind and, like Cristian was saying, keep learning. You can learn from somebody, you can learn from your mistakes as well. Just keep learning.

Christos  36:31

Great! You’re basically saying the most important thing is just to keep learning from your experiences. If you’ve made mistakes, or if you know other people who made mistakes, try not to make those mistakes too. I guess that just comes into being a responsible diver and being mindful of how you dive and your diving practices, or as Cristian was saying, of your career as a diver. So, when it comes to responsible diving, I guess you guys are a good combo to talk about this. How do responsible diving and safe diving practices intertwine and go together? Are they mutually exclusive? I don’t think so. I think there is some overlap and maybe some key common concepts between both subjects. Perhaps Cristian, you can start with this one? How responsible are diving and being a safe diver connected?

Cristian  37:30

Oh, that’s a big question! I don’t know if I’m entitled to answer that question. There are many hard questions today! I’ve been working for DAN (Divers Alert Network) for a while. So for those who know, DAN is an organisation that takes care of diving safety and manages emergencies underwater, all around the globe, with the biggest network. It’s a network made by doctors. Many people think it’s just diving insurance because part of the services given is also about insurance. If you have an accident, many of the things you need, like a hyperbaric chamber, a speedboat, repatriation or medical care, the insurance is there to get the right resources. But this being said, DAN is actually a medical organisation. It was created by doctors, the best diving doctors around, I have to say, and they also do scientific research. When you have to go to the doctor, either you go to a family doctor (GP), or if you have a serious problem, you may go to a doctor that is famous for conducting research because he has a higher level of knowledge.  The best practices and knowledge come from the latest research. It’s a little like that in diving; most of the doctors are also researchers. In the past five years, more than 50 scientific papers related to diving safety have been published by these doctors. That’s quite amazing! Over time, DAN has developed a number of recommendations related to responsible diving practices. I’m talking from the point of view of diving safety and diving health. Maybe new divers or less experienced divers will find it useful to follow DAN’s 10 safety rules. You can find it on daneurope.org. Stick to them. Learn more about what are the most common accidents and incidents in diving. Because as an organisation managing emergencies, we know what are the most common ones. The most common ones are barotraumas, such as ears or sinuses barotraumas, and DCI, which is a decompression illness.

Florine  40:51

DCI is only coming second?

Cristian  40:56

Let’s say that these two incidents are the most common throughout the years. There can be some differences from year to year.

Florine  41:06

But the proportion over the years is similar?

Cristian  41:09

Yeah, it’s quite similar. DAN publishes every year a report about diving fatalities. You can find it online and download it. It’s a long report.

Florine  41:29

This report is enlightening. I’ve been reading it for the last 10 years, Cristian, and there’s so much to learn from it. I really invite everyone to download it. It’s super interesting.

Cristian  41:40

It’s not a complete report of all the diving incidents worldwide because many are not reported, but at least those reported to us, as we know more about them. For example, barotraumas are very common, especially for beginner divers. So maybe getting the right attention to equalisation can be a good idea. Free divers pay much attention to equalisation techniques, while scuba divers tend to have a shallower approach. Many scuba divers just use Valsalva as the equalisation technique to equalise their ears. But there are many other techniques that you can experiment and practice. This data is there to help. Regarding DCI, decompression illnesses encompass DCS, decompression sickness, and arterial gas embolism. So what I want to say is incidents in diving are rare. I don’t want to scare anybody off. That’s not the point. The message is this is something that happens very rarely. Luckily, diving is overall a very safe activity, one of the safest sports activities, because it has a lot of procedures. So if you follow the procedures, it’s very rare that you will end up having an incident. However, everybody knows that man was not created to breathe underwater, so following guidelines and procedures will go a long way.

Florine  43:53

Cristian, I’d like to make a link between responsible diving and safe diving. And for me, there’s one common point. Would you say DCI can be linked with a lack of mastery of buoyancy sometimes? Like shooting up to the surface or going too deep during the dive and then messing up with your dive profile?  Is this something we can see in the statistics you have?

Cristian  44:20

I’m probably not the right person to answer.

Florine  44:24

Okay, we can do some additional research later. Interesting.

Cristian  44:28

My colleagues have done research in the medical department; they will surely provide more insights about this. By the way, I also want to say that DAN is a membership organisation. but when a diver is in difficulty or has an emergency, the DAN hotline is open to all divers. Then, of course, members will have benefits, but consultancy in case of emergency is provided to everybody. Of course, mastering buoyancy will help you because you will control your body in the water column. You will be less likely to have problems, and I’ll tell you, when a problem occurs, if you master buoyancy, you’re less likely to lose control and jump to the surface or go down, and we know what this would mean. So I will say mastering buoyancy is, first of all, mastering breathing. We can surely say it’s an element that prevents you from getting any kind of problem underwater, including DCI.

Christos  46:07

Awesome, thanks so much for sharing that information. I didn’t actually realise that the two main incidents in diving were DCI and sinus-related things.

Cristian  46:26

Barotraumas.

Christos  46:26

Teresa, would you want to give us a little bit of information on how controlling your buoyancy helps make you a more responsible diver?

Teresa  46:34

Yeah, for sure. I’ll go into slightly something simpler. By practising environmentally conscious behaviour, it means you’re not touching or disturbing marine life. Responsible diving involves respecting and protecting the underwater environment, regardless of which underwater ecosystem it is. Avoid contact with marine life, that way, you can avoid getting cut; it’s for your own safety as well. It’s not just for marine life. It’s also about not littering in the ocean. You don’t have to come into a situation where you’re getting entangled in fishing nets or anything like that. So it all goes hand in hand; it’s never just one or the other because diving safely benefits you and benefits the environment. There isn’t one that is higher and more important. If we don’t look after the environment we’re diving with, then we might not have a beautiful ocean to return to year after year. If you do correct your buoyancy, achieve proper buoyancy, and master it, then you will enjoy your dive more, it’s beneficial to you and, in return, also beneficial to the environment. It’s a no-brainer. Research has also shown that divers who receive environmental information and understand the potential impact on the reef will significantly inflict less damage to the coral reef. That’s why we created this online e-course for recreational divers. Anybody can take it. It’s an online course; it doesn’t involve diving. You have learned a lot physically diving when you’re taking your open water courses and advanced courses, but this will teach you a little bit more than just diving. On top of adding to your diving skills, you’ll be able to dive safer while protecting the environment.

Florine  48:57

This is something tourists, open water divers, first-level divers can do right after their certification?

Teresa  49:05

it can even be for snorkelers if they want to!

Florine  49:11

Even snorkelers who want to know more about the ocean? That’s neat.

Teresa  49:12

Because it doesn’t involve being in the water, it’s just adding the knowledge to what you already have, either your diving skills or anything that you’ve already noted. The course has like above water and underwater knowledge and tips. Everything in the course is also from feedback from students who have taken it. We have been asking the Green Fins network for 20 years as well. It’s all tested and tried information, not out of thin air. These tips are legit.

Christos  49:42

Awesome. So, the resources are there. The pre-dive checks are there. Is it just laziness at the end of the day? And we’re not following them?

Teresa  50:07

Or the lack of awareness, the lack of understanding.

Florine  50:13

Sometimes people don’t know.

Cristian  50:14

I think that if there’s one skill to highlight here is buoyancy. We’ve been discussing this a number of times during our conversation. It makes me think about a series of articles we published on Alert Diver, in the prepared diver section. It’s about the fundamentals of diving, which absolutely affect safety. So it’s our concern, and the first of them is breathing and buoyancy. I remember in this article, a very skilled diver, explorer, and adventurer, was pointing to an example about buoyancy. So the grandmaster of buoyancy is actually the nautilus. This cephalopod is made of compartments. It might seem like a strange, bulky creature, but it manages buoyancy perfectly. So that’s the primary skill to have as a diver. Controlling breathing, controlling heart rate, and being able to manage stress. And yeah, all other skills will pile up upon this base.

Florine  52:09

It is so interesting because we often say, “You need to master buoyancy, you need to master buoyancy”, but sometimes people reply, “But what do you want me to do? I don’t get it”. I think we’re putting it a bit clearer by saying it is also about how you breathe and use your lungs. We tell beginner divers in the open water course just breathe through the regulator normally, but the thing is, there is more to that than just breathing normally. There’s a trick between the duration you’re taking air and the length of time you’re exhaling. There’s this very fine tuning and the balance of breathing in and breathing out, and filling the air in your lungs a little bit, just a tiny more, or just a tiny less. It comes with practice, but maybe I wanted to ask Teresa, if you have an Open Water diver, who hasn’t taken the Advanced Open Water course yet, and this person is asking, “I don’t get it; how do I improve my buoyancy?” What would be the number one action you would suggest?

Teresa  53:26

Keep practising with buoyancy; it’s easy to say that, okay. Take a buoyancy course because that focuses on teaching you how to do it properly. You will do it in a very safe environment, not deep water. I’ve been teaching mostly in sandy areas, so you don’t have to worry. Have the full course about buoyancy, and then you will know what your instructor is talking about, breathing, like Cristian said, the state of mind. If you’re stressed, then you breathe differently, so your buoyancy is different. If you have the opportunity to take a course and improve buoyancy, you won’t stress about things like where am I. You’re in shallow waters, in very good conditions, and you learn how to be a better diver, how to breathe properly, and be in the correct trim. Why not take this opportunity to say, “Yes, let’s do it, I want to be better and keep doing it”. Tick off this buoyancy course, get better, less stressed and learn how to breathe to perfect your buoyancy skills.

Florine  54:45

Am I correct that the Advanced Open Water course always has one dive, which is the peak buoyancy skills? Is that compulsory?

Teresa  54:56

It might depend on different dive agencies and be slightly different. But, yes, they do provide it as an advanced course, but it could be compulsory or not compulsory. As an instructor, I always like to make it a compulsory one, besides the deep dives, because deep dive is a compulsory course and perhaps navigation as well. I think a buoyancy course should also definitely be one too. As an open water, you’ve been learning so much in like four days. You have so many skills like to learn in such a short time. So, when you take like a buoyancy course, you have the whole course to focus on buoyancy. We no longer have to think about how to clear one’s mask. You’ll be less stressed when you’re like, “OK, now I can focus on learning one thing and perfect it properly”.

Christos  55:53

So, just from our conversation, it seems like getting better buoyancy not only makes it a more enjoyable dive but also makes you a safer and more responsible diver. And we all agree on that?

Florine  56:08

There’s a definite consensus here.

Cristian  56:10

Totally, I think this applies both to new and old divers. My experience is that I really improved the way I breathe so that we can connect buoyancy with breathing. One of the things that comes to my mind is that we pay a lot of attention to diving equipment, but actually, the first piece of equipment is us, our own body. So how we manage breathing is responsible for moving in the water. We all talk about evolution in the equipment industry, but there was no BCD up to the 1970s. People were diving without any BCD!

Florine  57:09

And if we think about the Fenzys, you can also say well into the 1980s. BCDs, as we know them today, are actually from the 1990s.

Christos  57:27

I can see that that would be a huge conversation about BCDs. Perhaps we could schedule another conversation about those.

Florine  58:01

If we have one word, one thing to say to conclude this talk, I know we could talk for hours about buoyancy, but Cristian, what would be your takeaway from our discussion of today?

Cristian  59:13

Dive safe, explore more! I love this! Make the most of your time underwater. Try to be safe because this will make everything more fun and more enjoyable.

Florine  59:37

What about you, Teresa?

Teresa  59:38

That’s a nice catchy line, Cristian. I think I will go around along the same line, but I won’t use your catchphrase. Keep getting better, improve as a diver and then you will enjoy your dives more. And also that way, it also helps to protect the environment while you’re diving. If you’re a safe diver, you’re confident. Back to the first question you asked Florine, what makes it enjoyable for us? If you’re a confident diver, you don’t have to worry about everything else. If you’re a good diver, you can enjoy your dives more.

Florine  1:00:27

The takeaway from today is how controlling buoyancy is controlling how you breathe. Because it was so obvious to me, but just saying it might be helpful to people to understand where we want to go with that. So it’s a fantastic takeaway. I’d love to write more about that. What is yours, Christos?

Christos  1:00:50

It’s pretty simple. I think the dive industry has these checklists and ways of doing things for a reason. Ultimately, as Cristian said, it is a very safe sport. It is safe because we have these procedures in place. If we follow these procedures, we have nothing to worry about. When it comes down to the wire, it’s people who don’t follow these procedures and make mistakes who cause the incidents we talked about before. I really resonate with the buoyancy. Personally, once I found my people, my whole diving experience changed. We can make diving more enjoyable and, at the same time, safer and more responsible by just getting that perfect buoyancy and not being overweighted or underweighted. And, like you all said, controlling your buoyancy with your breath. Guys, I just want to say thank you so much, Florine, Teresa, and Cristian; thank you, guys, for being here today on our first International Scuba Day. We’d also like to thank our sponsors for making this event possible. And, of course, a big thank you to all the dive shops all around the world that are participating this year. You are trendsetters. You are jumping on the wagon first. And, of course, to all the divers that were diving today, or this week, make sure to log your dives on our website; you’ll get some cool prizes. Thank you again, guys, for joining us, our online audience as well. And I look forward to seeing you guys next year!

Florine  1:02:52

Don’t forget scuba diving will be 100 years old in 2026. Can you realise? In only 3 years. We need to celebrate!

Christos  1:03:07

Awesome. Thank you so much for joining again, and speak to you soon. Bye!

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Written by
Scuba Day Team