- By Jonpaul
Buddy Checking before each dive
Some activities have foundations that you build upon and the more you do these the better you become and the better able you are to progress to the next level. Diving has basics that need to be done correctly on every dive and should not be neglected.
The Buddy Check is the kind of skill that is done rigorously when starting out with the Scuba Diver or Open Water Diver courses. As divers become more blasé they let the basics slip and the buddy check can end up condensed into a glance and a nod. Even pros forget things and the Buddy Check is there to make sure all divers miss nothing prior to getting into the water.
B - BCD - inflates, deflates, orally inflates. It is worth fully inflating to ensure it isn't deflating due to salt in the valves or a stuck button. Also check the BCD is not self-inflating. Sand can block the deflator button from fully opening.
W - Weights - secure and free to drop if needed. If you have integrated weights ensure your buddy understands the mechanism for them to be released. For belts: right hand release...which brings you to...
R - Releases - all clips are secure. Check the tank band last (it is securely closed and holds the tank without slipping) and you are in the right place for...
A - Air - is on with a half turn back. Remember, righty tighty, lefty loosey. With the valve behind the diver and to the right you should be opening the valve by turning it away from the diver's head. Regs breathe okay on both second stages and no movement of the needle on the gauge which should show 200 bar or more. If you have a depth gauge then make sure it is reading zero and that the maximum depth needle is reset to zero, too.
F - Final check - everything is where it should be. Hoses are secure and not twisting or dangling. Dump valve toggles are not caught in weight belts or strap. Do you have the extra items you need, such as dive computer, SMB and reel. Mask and fins at the ready. High Five!
It is so easy to think you have it covered and no longer need to check your buddy or have them check you, but this complacency can lead to disaster. It takes a minute to buddy check and can save you the embarrassment of jumping in without your weight belt or maybe a bigger problem.