Top 25 Dive Travel Questions: #19 I haven’t diving in awhile and feel “rusty” and nervous about my dive vacation. What should I do?
If it’s been awhile since you’ve been diving, you are not alone by any means.
The majority of traveling divers dive once or twice a year and for many it’s two or even three years in between dive trips. So it’s normal to be nervous or “out of practice”. I recommend, if it’s been longer than a year that you take a “refresher” or “tune up” course. Check with your local dive shop for what they offer. It is well worth the price to go through a few skills with an instructor in the safety of a swimming pool or pool like conditions. Even if you are someone who dives regularly, a review session of skills is extremely valuable. When was the last time you practiced clearing your mask or worked on your buoyancy? Times change, skills are updated and equipment becomes newer and better. It’s a great idea to keep up with the changes and keep the skills that keep you safe and alive tuned so that they become conditioned responses in case of an emergency situation. Or, perhaps your local dive shop does not offer a formal course but for a fee they will get in the pool with you and go through basic skills and give you a chance to swim around and become comfortable again. This is an extremely valuable use of a Saturday morning before your trip. You will be much more relaxed when you get to the dive boat and can easily put together your gear and have the confidence you need to do your first dive.
Or if you or one of your diving friends has a pool, how about a pool party? Get everyone together at the beginning of the dive season and play in the pool with your gear! Get in buddy teams and practice your basic skills. You’ll be very glad you did!
And speaking of gear? It’s rusty too! What should I do?
Manufacturers of dive equipment recommend your gear be serviced every year. I believe this is a good idea. If it’s been sitting in the closet, the hoses have been bent the same way, the silicone maybe has deteriorated, maybe the moths got in it, whatever. It’s a good idea to have it looked over, have the intermediate pressure checked and be sure that your LIFE SUPPORT equipment is in working order. Then check your snorkel gear. Look at the mask and fin straps for cracks. Ah, how maddening to have a fin strap break at the dive site with no spare in sight! (yep, good reason for having a save-a-dive kit).
Now, here is the MOST important part. I know that service techs do their best on your gear BUT……I have seen MUCHO equipment break just after servicing because something wasn’t tightened down or put back in quite right. So, I recommend that you test it in a pool before you go on your trip. There is nothing more frustrating than making the space and weight available for your dive gear, then having it break down on vacation and you end up having to rent gear from an iffy rental gear locker in a remote location.
So tune up both your skills and your gear….test them both out before you take your next dive vacation…you’ll be glad you did!
To your adventures!