Have concerns about diving? In this blog post, we’re going to deconstruct the biggest scuba diving worries.
1. Running out of Air
One of the biggest concerns of divers, and also one of the most easily avoidable, is running out of air. Your air gauge measures how much PSI is left in your tank. Fifteen-hundred is half a tank, and 500 means you’re low on air. If you ever get to 500 PSI, signal to guide. After that, we can surface swim to wherever we need to be. Being honest when your guide asks you how much air you have left is the easiest way to not run out of air. Another way to avoid running out of air is breathing slowly. At Hawaii Eco Divers, we recommend a three second breath in, and a four second breath out. Maintaining control of your breathing means you’re maintaining control of your dive.
2. Decompression Sickness
Decompression sickness is when nitrogen bubbles are formed in the body as pressure decreases during ascension. It’s also known as “the bends”. On all of our dives for beginners and discover scuba divers, we don’t take them past 40ft. That way if they shoot to the surface, they are not at risk for the bends. We still NEVER recommend shooting to the surface. If panic occurs, breathe slowly. Let your guide know you are nervous and we’ll hold you to make sure you regain your confidence. To avoid decompression sickness, ascend slowly, and take a three minute safety stop if you go below 60ft.
3. Lung Over-expansion
One of the most serious injuries you can get from diving is lung overexpansion. Your lungs are sacks of air in your body that need to be equalized under pressure, just like your ears. The way to do this is to breathe continuously. If you don’t breathe continuously and start ascending, the pressure in your lungs decreases and air expands to a point that your lungs cannot handle. The way to avoid this problem is NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH. Breathe continuously.
The most common problem we run into underwater is people unable to equalize their ears. If you’re unable to equalize, that’s okay. Ascend a few feet and try again. Still can’t equalize? Ascend a few feet and try again. Repeat this process until you can equalize, and then start descending and equalize every few feet. If you get to a point where you can’t equalize again, start the process over and ascend a few feet. Signal to your guide that you have ear problems and they will help you. If you’re unable to equalize completely, you shouldn’t go diving.
5. Getting Separated from your Buddy
While very rare if everyone is paying attention, getting separated from the group does occasionally happen. In the case you or someone else gets separated, we have a procedure outlined in your dive briefing. We will search for someone for two minutes. After that, all divers should surface to look for that person on the surface. If we cannot find them, we will perform a search and rescue.
Well, I hope this helped ease your scuba diving worries. Come dive with us and we’ll keep you safe.
Divemaster Candidate Laura