Why Buddy, check with your dive partner
Let’s take a closer look at friend verification…
First, why does a friend check? Answer… For your peace of mind. You may have dived with this particular buddy hundreds of times, with the same kit and configuration, or it may be your first time diving together, either way I advise doing the same check. The friend you’ve dived with hundreds of times before may have forgotten something in this case. The friend you have never dived with before may not have set up their kit correctly or may have a kit you are not familiar with ie. weight system or BCD inflation system, you must know how to operate this kit or discard it in an emergency.
If you are PADI trained you have been trained to the “BWRAF” check or if you have been “BSAC” trained you have been trained to the “BARE” check or a variation thereof, both methods cover the same checks but in different order and aim to satisfy the same criteria… So let’s do a “Buddy Check”.
B stands for “BOYABILITY”. Checking out your friends flotation device, how does it inflate? Inflate it, just a little, how does it inflate? drop it Where are fast air discharges located and how are they managed? Are there any obvious leaks that could cause a problem later in the dive.
The W in the PADI check stands for weights, this is below the E for extras in the BSAC checks. Checking out your friends weight system, are they using a belt or integrated weights? If there is a belt, is the belt tight (if it is slightly loose, it can cause a problem by slipping when they hit the water or when they descend and their wet/dry suit compresses). Is the buckle closed properly? i.e. there is no strap caught in the buckle to prevent the buckle from closing completely (I’ve seen this so many times on dive boats, the free end of the belt hangs down at an angle when the buckle is closed, catching on the bottom of the buckle, allowing the buckle to open when the diver hits the water, causing the belt to lose weight at the surface or worse when the diver is 30 meters away). Is it turned on correctly? I.e. left hand release. Is the buckle easily accessible? It should not be hindered by a BCD cumberband for example. For integrated weight systems, check that they are fully secured with whatever securing devices they have, ie. clips, straps, velcro, etc. Make sure you know how to release them in an emergency. (I personally hate integrated weight systems, whatever method of attaching them is used never seems very secure or flawless to me).
R for editions. Check all the leaks on your friend’s flotation device, how many leaks are there? Where are they? Are they all protected? How do you cancel them in an emergency?
And for air. I start with the tank band, is it tight? is the buckle closed correctly, an important thing about this is to make sure the free end of the strap is passed through the 3rd slot of the buckle, this ensures that the buckle cannot be hit and unfastened, so many experienced divers do not lock straps on your tank this way, I have seen several incidents where a diver’s tank has come loose mid-dive, upon closer inspection the tank strap was not secured and locked this way. Is the tape wet? If the tank band was tight to the cylinder when dry, it will appear tight, but as soon as it enters the water and gets wet, the band will expand, resulting in a loose tank band.
Then make sure the air is on, check the SPG to make sure there is enough air in the cylinder for the intended dive. Then check the second stages, both of you should take a few breaths at the same time, your friend from the primary 2nd stage, you from the alternate 2nd stage, take 3 or 4 deep sharp breaths together while watching the SPG, if there is any flutter or movement of the SPG needle is a problem with the specified adjustments and they should not be used until the problem is found and fixed, this is usually something as simple as turning the air all the way on.
F is for “extreme”, same as E for “extras”, check that everything is secured in place and streamlined, nothing is hanging loose that can get caught and cause the diver to get stuck or drag along the bottom causing damage of a piece of equipment or marine life. The fins and mask are ready to fit and the straps are in good condition.
This may seem lengthy and time-consuming, but in practice it only takes about 2-4 minutes at most, time well spent if you find a problem or the potential cause of a problem and fix it before it happens.
Now you’re ready to get in the water, but just one more check, once you’re in the water, drop down to 3-6 meters and just look around for any unwanted bubbles coming from any hoses, connections, inflators, etc.
Enjoy your dive knowing as much as possible that neither of you will experience any unexpected equipment problems during the dive.
#Buddy #check #dive #partner