Scuba Diving Safety: Do You Need Dive Guides?
by Tami Harris
(Baltimore, MD, USA)
What a Dive
My dive partner and I planned a fantastic dive trip to Florida.
We planned what dive company we would dive with and places to stay. We watched YouTube videos and we talked endless hours on the phone dreaming of our upcoming trip.
We dove a few times in Dutch Springs to get ready honing our diving skills and buddy skills.
Finally the travel day arrived! I was so excited I almost could have flown there on just sheer elation.
My partner who is very safety cautious suggested we should get a dive guide since we had never dived in that area before. He had started reading his rescue diver training material preparing for his upcoming class.
We asked the dive boat master if they had dive guides for the dives and they said we would have to pay for the service. I was against us paying the extra money. I didn't want to spend the money for a dive master when we were advanced divers and have dived for several years. He insisted and scheduled a dive master.
We dove at the Rodeo 25 where the water was turquoise blue and the visibility was at least 30 feet. The wreck was awesome and the coral so colorful. Most of the wreck was visible as soon as we descended to 30 feet.
I can only describe my total fascination at the display when we were diving down with all the bubbles in the turquoise water and the outline of the wreck slowly becoming visible at each additional foot we went downward. Our guide Aria was fantastic and showed us different fish and parts of the boat.
I watched my gauges and all seemed ok except my air appeared to be disappearing faster than normal. We were at 104 feet so I chalked it up to the depth.
We swam from the bow of the ship to the stern. I looked at my dive computer again and OMG I was at 600 psi where did my air go?
I didn't panic I signaled I was in trouble to the guide (she was the only one looking) and she came, looked at my computer and gave me her second regulator.
We began the ascent on the tie off line and at the end of our safety stop she had me go back to my little bit of air - it was at 400 psi at that point. I had an o-ring leak without my knowledge.
My dive partner saved my life that day!
His instance in obtaining a dive guide for our safety saved the day. When we were back on the boat we were discussing the dive and I told him of my adventure and how his insistence of paying for a dive guide saved my life.
No matter how many dives or years or experience you may have, there is always a chance there could be an emergency.
When your diving in a new place no price is too high to pay when compared to your life. I am an advocate for preplanning and preventative diving plans.
While all disasters cannot be avoided, if you follow all your dive training and plan conservatively every dive will have a happy ending.
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