Wanna be liked on your next dive trip? Here are a few of my favorite tips above and below so that people will want to dive with you again!
Above the water…
1. Be organized and on time.
Don’t be the one constantly running back to your hotel room for your fins, mask, sun screen etc…. delaying everyone’s day. Have your gear rigged, your Nitrox analyzed, weights checked and everything on the boat ready to go at least 5 minutes before dive time. Check your OWN gear. It is not the dive master’s responsibility to be sure your gear is on the boat, you have a full tank, your weights are in your BCD and everything is in working order. Check it.
Use a small dry bag for sunscreen, hat, etc… have it ready to grab and go the night before.
Gear. Put your booties inside one fin and your mask inside the other fin pocket or use your mask strap like a bungie to keep your fins together. Toss your wetsuit over your shoulder and good to go! Everything is compact, together, and organized.
2. Don’t pee in your wetsuit and don’t forget to wash.
The old adage and running joke has always been, “There are two kinds of divers, those who pee in their wetsuits and liars.” YOU may be accustomed to your own smell but the rest of us aren’t! Don’t make us suffer! Trust me, we CAN smell you. Divers complain all the time (even those who don’t pee in them) that their wetsuits start to smell in just a few days. At the end of every couple of days of diving, take your suit back to your room and throw it on the floor of your shower. While you soap and shampoo, rinse water runs down over your suit and keeps it smelling fresh. I just returned from trip of 38 straight dive days with NO smelly suit.
3. Stop complaining!
There is nothing worse than hearing a never ending string of complaints on the dive boat such as….
The water’s too cold…
The ride is too choppy…
My wetsuit is cold and wet….
It’s GOING to happen at some point. It is all part of the amazing fortune you have to be able to spend your vacation on gorgeous coral reefs. Build a bridge and get over it!
4. Tell interesting stories humbly.
The braggart on the boat or at the bar is the first person to be thrown off the island so to speak. We’d all love to hear about an unusual fish you found but when the story begins with…”On my 12th trip to Palau…” we’re all going to tune out.
5. Dive Guides are people too.
They are your guides, not your servants and can be a wealth of information. They may be only 25 years old but most likely have done more dives than you. They will work harder if you treat them well. And don’t forget to tip!
Under Water Etiquette
1. Be aware of where you are.
How many times have you been kicked and run over on a dive? Don’t be that diver lacking spatial awareness. Look around you at all times as well as UP and DOWN. Remember that if you get kicked, it may be that YOU are the culprit.
2. Take Turns.
A good dive guide will take time to point out interesting and unusual things on the reef. However, think before you rush in to look. Are there others wanting to see? Approach one at a time slowly, take a quick look and then allow others the same opportunity. If you want a longer look, go back after everyone has had a chance.
3. Slow Down.
Rushing from here to there underwater causes you to: run into other divers, scare away fish, crash into the reef, use up your air, lose your buddy and the list goes on.
4. Play fair with photographers.
If you are looking at a fish that you know the photographers want to shoot, be extra careful not to stir up sand or scare the fish out of the area. Photographers ~ Let non shooters see the fish first, they won’t take near as long as you will. Then take a few shots and let other shooters have a chance. If you want to camp on the subject wait until everyone has seen it. Special note for video. Generally, a videographer only needs 8-10 seconds for a shot. Still photographers, please let them in first. Also, stirring up sand and sediment will do more to ruin a shot for them than someone shooting a still image.
5. Be a good buddy.
NO excuses. If you lose your buddy, you did something wrong. The majority of accident reports begin with….”buddies were separated”. And, by the way, it is NOT the responsibility of the dive guide to keep track of your buddy.
Even if you are an experienced, long time diver, it’s nice to be reminded of a few tips to make your and others diving more enjoyable! If you are a diving professional, stay tuned for my next post on Dive Guide Tips.
To Your Adventures,