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Palancar Industries and the Divers Alert Network (DAN) have worked
together to provide the DAN membership with the finest quality
personal medical and diving product identification tags.
The DAN Tag is the only product of its type, giving divers an added
measure of safety, in addition to their DAN member insurance.
Ensure your dive gear is regularly serviced, youíre healthy and have the proper skills before entering the water.
Your diver's checklist centers on personal well-being, equipment, planning, buddy and boat support.
Itís a good idea for recreational divers to visit your GP and have a medical check (annual medical clearances/examinations are required for commercial divers). Itís also preferable your GP has specialist dive medicine training or an understanding of the dive environment. A list of appropriately trained doctors can be obtained from the website of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine (SPUMS) and are listed in every issue of Dive New Zealand.
The website references are:
If youíre on medication, ask your GP first to see if this precludes you from diving.
Maintain good health and get some form of exercise.
If feeling unwell physically or mentally, do not dive. The sport can be physically demanding but also has the potential to put you under some stress. Little events such as clearing a flooded mask are normally easily overcome but when they combine with other events this puts some pressure on you to overcome, "STOP- REST- RELAX"
If you havenít been diving for a while, start well within your confidence level.
Do a refresher course or up-skill with a recognised training provider.
If you are diving with someone who has not dived for some time, be aware of this and take his or her confidence level into account. Donít be pushy or overbearing. Pair inexperienced divers with seasoned and adept divers.
Do not dive if you have recently drunk alcohol.
Regularly maintain and service your gear - it is your lifeline.
Ensure equipment functions correctly and you are familiar its operation, i.e. dive computers.
Cylinders require annual inspection. This not only helps prevent them from failing/exploding, but they canít be filled unless "in date".
Expect filling stations to remove valves and inspect them if empty to make sure no water or debris is inside. Do not breathe your cylinder empty at any stage.
Regulators should be serviced yearly. If there is any debris or discoloration on the filter this indicates its performance is likely to be affected and it needs servicing by a qualified technician.
Check your buoyancy compensator device thoroughly. Ensure there is no perishing; all fastenings, zip-ties, cords and toggles are in place, and that all valves are functioning.
Check all items for perishing, flat batteries or damage. Replace the items or have them serviced/repaired.
Do not carry an excessive amount of weight and ensure the quick release mechanism is working. If in doubt seek advice from your local dive store. You should be neutrally buoyant on the surface with your B.C.D fully deflated.
Thoroughly rinse all gear in fresh water after use.
"If you have any doubts about the state of your equipment, take it to your local dive store for inspection and advice," Senior Sergeant Adams says. "The happier you are with your gear the more you will enjoy the dive. "Itís safer to listen to the advice youíre given by service technicians and spend the money on maintenance than risk losing your life."
Plan Your Dive and Dive to Plan
Plan well and stick to the plan.
Avoid rushing to start the dive. Give yourself time to plan, to get to your destination with time to spare, and to check your equipment and your dive partner before getting into the water.
Set timings and depth, and stick to them.
Religiously follow dive tables and maintain correct assent rates.
Brief your boatman if you are using a boat.
Diving with a partner is one of the safest practices you can carry out, but you must stay together. Be aware of each other all of the time, and not head off in separate directions to hunt crayfish or spear fish. Take turns following each other within arms reach.
Stay within you and your buddyís confidence levels. Speak up if you are not comfortable or are unsure of the activity/location of the planned dive.
Leave the seabed with sufficient air for the trip to the surface, decompression and some to spare. Donít breathe cylinders dry, even during safety stops. You should always have some reserve in the cylinder.
Have a plan in place should something go wrong. Tell someone where and when you are going/returning. Plan for a diving emergency/illness, transport to hospital, first aid, communications with land or rescue agencies.
If you become uncomfortable or unwell during the dive, stop-rest-relax then return to the surface.
Have a "buddy" standing by using the Ďone up one downí system.
Strenuous exercise will limit your bottom time.
End the dive when you feel uncomfortable.
Do not hyperventilate more than two or three times. Use slow shallow breaths.
Rest between dives for several minutes.
Use a well fitting 3mm wetsuit and weight yourself to be neutral at about 5m.
Join a club and get professional training.
Ensure you understand what the divers plan to do, and where and when they plan to surface.
Ensure you are competent to drive/operate the vessel. Attend a course with Coastguard.
Ensure the boat has communications with land and others -- a radio and a cellular phone -- and that you know how to use them.
Ensure you have spare fuel, lifejackets, bailer, flares, oars or an auxiliary motor, anchor and line.
Have the vessel and motor serviced.
Check the weather.
Let someone know where and when you intend to go and return.
If you need to leave your anchor position to search for your missing diver, itís critical to leave your anchor with a buoy attached. Do not lift it.
"Make diving a safe and enjoyable experience for you, your family and friends," Senior Sergeant Adams says.
New Zealand Underwater and Water Safety New Zealand have excellent resources and safety advice, including several informative pamphlets.