Last week, we outlined some tips to ensure that your next dive trip is enjoyable for everyone involved. Diving is, after all, a group activity, and the more prepared you are, the more you can enjoy the sport with your dive buddies. In this follow-up, we’ll outline a few more tips to ensure that, when it comes to your next dive holiday, you will be ready for an amazing day, and will leave in everybody’s good graces.
- Space invaders. Keeping your equipment in your designated area not only makes it easier for you to find what you need, but it also keeps others from tripping over your gear. You wouldn’t want someone to step on that brand-new mask, would you? If you keep your equipment in your designated area and out of the way means that the dive crew and other divers can move more efficiently, and in turn, makes sure that everyone gets the most out of the day. Think of yourself as if you were a guest in someone’s home; don’t make a mess.
- Kicking up a storm. Nobody wants to be behind the diver who is constantly kicking up the bottom so that it ruins the visibility for everyone. It ruins the visibility for other people and highlights your poor buoyancy skills. Many people in your dive group will have rented or bought cameras—some of them quite expensive and technical—and your un-coordination underwater could mean that they miss out on some great shots. It also may mean that you are constantly disturbing the marine wildlife in its natural environment, so while we’re on the subject…
- No touching. Touching the coral, picking up animals such as sea cucumbers, trying to capture Nemo in your hands, poking puffer fish so they inflate; all of these are considered no-nos. This behaviour can damage or even kill the creatures we’ve come to visit. There are also lots of animals that can harm you through stinging or biting. Respect the environment you’re visiting, and keep your hands to yourself.
- Be prepared ABOVE water. Pack boat clothes. A large, floppy hat keeps the sun off not only your face but also your ears and the back of your neck. Protection against wind, not to mention spray, is critical to staying warm on the way out to the dive site, as well as on the way home, so pack at least a windbreaker or jumper. If you’re doing temperate-water or cool-weather diving, pack a boat coat that’s lined with fleece, which will keep you toasty-warm — and look for one that comes with a hood. Invest in decent sunglasses. Pack an extra towel. Take a second small towel for wiping your face, your exposure suit, your camera and your first stage between dives. You can use your larger towel for drying yourself after your dives.
- We’re not animals. We live in a society. It should go without saying, but being on a boat with other people means not everyone will always get along. Everyone has their personal pet peeves, and sometimes irritating other people is unavoidable. But you can try and be courteous to other passengers. Use the rinse buckets properly; many are marked for different items—nothing will upset someone letting their camera soak in fresh water more than someone rinsing their sandy mask in it. If you are seasick, try and go away from other passengers, on the non-windy side of the boat; if one person gets sick, it can start the chain reaction. And please, put away the cigarettes. These days, there is little tolerance for smoking in public places.