While scuba diving can be one of the most exciting, engaging, and thrilling experiences for an individual, it can also be filled with peril. By itself, scuba diving is no more dangerous than other activities like driving, rock climbing, or snowboarding. The difference is the scenario you are placing yourself in and what that can lead to. You are placing yourself in an environment you cannot breathe in, and giving yourself a limited air supply. This means that simple mistakes can cause life-threatening situations. While having a partner or group dive with you can help, the danger is still there for those who do not follow the rules. Following the rules is what keeps everyone safe and healthy. Failure to do so is what can cause severe danger for everyone.
Avoiding panic is the number one rule for every diver. Panicking has never done any good for any person underwater. While panic on the surface may get you away from someone chasing you, or keep you highly alert when a close call happens, underwater it simply makes you dangerous. Small problems grow into big problems quickly when someone panics. Staying calm is one of the most important things you can do. This is not only true for when there is a moment to panic. Even when there is nothing going on, if you feel yourself being edgy, take a moment to talk yourself. Panic is the foundation of many larger problems. Avoiding the sensation of panic can help you avoid many other problems.
Keep in mind all that can go wrong likely will go wrong underwater. This mentality is not meant to scare one’s self into a panic. Instead, it is to simply make a proper checklist of all the things that might go wrong during a dive. Think of Murphy’s law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. When you think in that manner before a dive, you will be prepared. By being prepared, you avoid the problem.
Practice being safe and avoid skipping over minor details. The minor details are what create little problems. As mentioned above, the little problems can become larger one’s quickly underwater. Always practicing safety measure before a dive, and having that confidence of preparedness helps. When you feel confident and prepared, you are less likely to make errors to begin with. Better than solving any problem underwater is never having it in the first place.
Finally, one must take responsibility for his or her own safety. That means buying all the proper gear, not over-weighting one’s self, and knowing exactly what it will take to be safe. Be prepared to deal with your own problems as they arise and have a strategy for any problem that is likely to occur. By being self-reliant, you give all the other divers an opportunity to focus on his/her own safety. This makes the group a safer group as a whole.