When it comes to the diver’s code of conduct, it’s better to be in the know; nobody wants to be that guy who’s always kicking up sand on a muck dive. PADI broaches diver etiquette in most dive manuals, but we’ve compiled a short list of five key points that you can adopt just in case you elected not to haul your course materials around. These tips apply to all that choose to venture into the underwater world, so pass these along to new divers and well-seasoned divers alike.
Buoyancy and General Dive Skills
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already a seasoned diver or you’re strongly considering becoming a diver, interested in ensuring you are diving like a pro. It’s important to understand how significant it is to hone your diving skills. Buoyancy is, without a doubt, the most important skill of all. Proper buoyancy control allows you to dive calmly and comfortably, knowing you won’t be crashing into corals or other divers in your group. Should you wish to partake in official buoyancy training, Padi run a ‘Peak Performance Buoyancy’ course where you will learn the basics and how to improve your overall buoyancy; just ask your dive center for more information on this. All divers should also have a complete understanding of their equipment. Don’t show up to a dive with all the gear and no idea! Should something go wrong with your equipment, it is important to be able to anticipate how to fix it, or help someone else that may have an issue. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of testing new gear in a pool before venturing into open water. Equally with rental gear, most shops are more than happy to run you through how to set it up and give you a quick refresher; all you have to do is ask. Another thing to note is that PADI also run a scuba tune-up course for divers that have taken a hiatus from diving. Kicking skills, especially when diving in currents, are also integral to being a competent diver. Mastering the frog kick can be daunting for many, but it just takes time and practice. While it’s not necessary for all, most diving professionals use a frog kick. This technique helps divers avoid kicking up sediment as well as conserve energy/ air; two pretty clear positives, in terms of being respectful for other divers in your group.
Be Environmentally Respectful
There are many factors that apply to a diver being ‘respectful’ of the environment. Before, during and after your dive, you can always seek to improve the condition of our shared underwater environment. Firstly, let’s start with sunscreen. Did you know that a vast majority of sunscreens contain chemicals that kill off the corals in the ocean? Well, it’s true, but don’t fret, there are also a variety of sunscreens that are marine friendly, it just takes a little more looking. Don’t litter in the ocean and leave with nothing but a smile on your face (unless you’ve picked up litter, then that’s definitely allowed!) If you choose to pick up litter that you see on your dives, do so with care, make sure to check there are no living creatures that have taken refuge in the trash.
Don’t Harass Marine Life
You’re a guest in this underwater environment, and as any polite guest would, you don’t chase your hosts or damage their home. Don’t disturb, touch, chase, poke or even feed the animals that you see underwater. By doing so, you disturb their natural way of life. Here in Komodo, we’re pretty adamant about not chasing mantas. It ruins the fun for everyone observing these wonderful creatures! Plus, they are simply much faster than you and by the end of it you’ll have worn yourself out; so really it benefits noone. If you leave them be, the experience is richer and the less obtrusive you are, the more curious mantas can be. Plus, if you’re lucky, you may even get a nice pat with a fin. And lastly, if diving in warm water, maybe take a pass on wearing dive gloves. They often have the effect of making you feel too comfortable with touching corals, which is something you should avoid at all costs.
Respect The Chain Of Command
Respecting and following the briefing that your divemaster or instructor gives is extremely important. If they say stay with your group, then do so. No gallivanting off on solo missions – remember the buddy system is there for a reason. Even if you are an instructor and you’ve signed up for a day of diving with a dive shop, you should still follow their rules and listen to your guide. You may have the necessary skills to dive with your own buddy, but there is good reason for them being there; local guides will have dived these sites hundreds, if not thousands of times, which means they know how to navigate, avoid down currents and show you all the wonderful marine life you’re dying to see!
Be A Role Model
As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Within the diving community, many can attest to the fact that not all divers are great divers, so creating positive change begins with setting a good example. Be a picture of someone you would want to dive with, hopefully, others will follow your lead! And with any luck, it will have a domino effect on many divers in generations to come.
These are but a few ways you can make your next diving adventure that much more enjoyable for yourself and everyone else. When diving with us here at Manta Rhei, you can be sure to learn more about diving responsibly whilst enjoying your experience in the underwater world.