BWRAF Pre Dive Safety Checks – Dive Buddy Check
It’s easy to forget that Scuba Diving, as fun and intensely amusing as it might be, can sometimes be a hazardous, even dangerous sport if the basic safety rules and precautions are not followed correctly. A big part of the simple safety approach revolves around a pre-dive safety check and a buddy system, that is, the security to know two minds are better than one, and you can always count with your partner in case of any problem or mishap.
One of the biggest parts of this assistance begins before you even jump into the water. The pre-dive safety checks aka buddy check system, as it’s formally called. This shortlist of steps takes only a minute to be ‘checked’ off before you enter for a dive and allow a buddy team to be confident everything is safe and dive ready. It is really very simple, so there shouldn’t be any excuses not to take the extra few minutes to complete it effectively.
All you need to remember this acronym: BWRAF
PADI Open water Divers Learning to pre-dive Buddy Check
In order to help a new PADI Open water student remember the steps to take during the pre-dive safety check (Buddy Check), we sometimes offer some funny alternatives to the textbook “Begin With Review And Friend” memory saying. Bruce Willis Rock Action Films, Burger With Relish And Fries, Big White Rabbits Are Fluffy, Beer Whiskey Rum And Fun the lists go on and on, here are what we are actually trying to remember.
B = BCD Pre Dive Safety Check – Dive Buddy Check System
This stands for Buoyancy Control Device or BCD i.e. the jacket which you can add air inside to keep you afloat at the surface before and after a dive or allows you to sink or become neutrally buoyant under the water.
During the check, all you need to make sure is that the BCD can fully inflate without losing air, check the button functions correctly when you pump air in, then release the air via all possible release values and/or dumps before inflating manually by blowing into the LPI (low-pressure inflator) reviewing oral inflation and leaving the BDC filled ready for entry!
W = Weights Pre Dive Safety Check – Dive Buddy Check System
The W stands for weights and this step refers to the action of making sure your weights are worn and positions correctly and that they can be released with ease if they have to come off in case of problems. Special attention is needed to ensure the weights can be released using only your right hand, as this will make things a lot easier under pressure and this single right-hand release rule ensures all scuba divers know how to release their weights in an emergency situation without the need for investigation and thinking.
R = Releases Pre Dive Safety Check – Dive Buddy Check System
The R is for ‘Releases’ and it refers to the Clicks and buckles the BCD has, the total number will depend on the model you are wearing, but you always need to check for the same things. Make sure all of them are tightly locked and adjusted correctly before jumping into the water, and before doing so, also check your buddy’s air cylinder/tank clip/releases, making sure they are tight and cannot slip down or come off as you enter the water.
A = AIR Pre Dive Safety Checks – Dive Buddy Check System
A stand for ‘Air’, and given we still can’t breathe underwater unaided, this is probably the most important step. check that the air valve is fully open. Breathe in and out of your own regulator making sure the quality of the air is good (should not have any type of smell or flavor) and that the pressure doesn’t suddenly drop in your pressure gauge (meaning the system isn’t supporting full pressure which is crucial to it maintaining a smooth and easy breathing pressure.) Since the regulator needs to maintain your air supply to an ambient pressure which is the same pressure as the water which surrounds you it needs a full, steady and secures airflow. If it does not have this, as a diver gets deeper, the regulator will struggle to supply you with enough air to breathe smoothly. Advanced divers and Deep divers with not be able to breathe by the time you reach 30m or deeper If the needle moves during your pre-dive
test breaths. If you notice the needle moving during checks, firstly double check the tank valve is opened fully. If this doesn’t correct the issue the 1stage is NOT functioning correctly and the regulator should be dived until it has been serviced by a professional. You also need to point out to your buddy where the alternate air source is attached and make sure that one works accordingly as well. a few breaths out of each regulator should be enough to check the valve is open and that there aren’t any breathing issues.
F = Final OK Pre Dive Safety Check – Dive Buddy Check System
The F is for ‘Final Ok’ and all it means is that you should check your gear one last time and make sure everything is ready to go and head into the water. This steps gives one last chance to find any issues with the equipment, and don’t forget to check your dive computer is active and has a good battery, make sure you have your fins and mask and have removed your sunglasses if you’re wearing them. I have seen a few people enter a dive with sunglasses instead of a mask by mistake! pretty funny until your Ray-Bans get lost in 30m of seawater.
So there you go!! All the easy steps that will ensure the safest approach to your dive for you and your buddy, enjoy your scuba diving and always remember safety first and safety second.