I’ve been diving now for just over 10 years and have just completed my Dive Master internship in Australia and I thought I would share my best tips for getting the most out of your air, and the most out of your dive.
The most important rule that you should follow is that you should ALWAYS listen to the dive shop staff.
Of course, this is an obvious rule but you would not believe how many people do not do this! Not only is it informative about local wildlife etc but it IS very important for safety reasons and you will miss out on vital information if you do not listen. Additionally, you should listen to staff recommendations for your gear etc they are the local experts and they know what you need in their local area more than you do!
Make sure your wetsuit is warm enough.
Ok yes again obvious but it can be really hard to estimate how warm you want it, you loose heat 20x faster in water than you do on land and it can really ruin a dive if you get cold. My best advice is; the thicker, the better. Always better to be too warm than too cold, you can always flush your suit with cold water but it is so hard to warm up and can completely ruin your experience if you are freezing yourself to death.
Always and I mean always take sea-sickness medication.
I never ever get sea sick, but medication is always in my dry bag. Even the most beautiful dive can be totally ruined by sea sickness and the only relief is the return to dry land. When I was working at Yongala Dive we had at-least one guest who was sick over the side every single day, every single day for the three months. Almost every time, they couldn’t complete their second dive and it put a damper on their day. Additionally, they almost all said the same thing “This is the first time I’ve been sick, I’m never sick”. With this in mind, I always carry seasickness pills and I would urge every other diver to do the same.
Do not panic.
There is nothing wrong with a healthy respect for the ocean, and you should never think that you can control it, but if you are especially nervous you need to take steps to gain control yourself. If you are diving just you and a buddy, my advice would be to cancel the dive, but if you are diving with a shop I would just tell staff and discuss with them your concerns. Listen to their advice and always proceed with their advice.
Do not underestimate the dangers of the ocean.
Having been diving for 10 years and being (at that time) a Rescue Diver, I thought I knew everything there was to know. It took watching the mistakes of others and making my own mistakes to ‘grow up’ and realise how dangerous diving is. One of the founders of PADI Australia came to dive with us one day and taught me this: “How carefully would you look after, check, and use your safety gear if you had to go into a room full of poisonous gasses? Why is Scuba Diving gear any different? Water will kill you just as fast”. He was right. Learning my limits and learning respect for diving and for the environment made me a much better diver and I would urge all others to do the same.