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Pre-Dive Safety Check

Submitted by admin on 2009-10-14

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A pre-diving safety check is a ritual that divers, new and old, need to do regardless of how many times they have been diving or how old their equipment may be. The pre-dive safety check takes just a few minutes, ensuring that your equipment is in the best working order before getting in the water. The best way to implement the safety check is with the use of an acronym, and it is even better if you employ the acronym with a friend.

The acronym you want to use for your diving safety check is BWRAF, which stands for buoyancy, weight, release, air, and final check. Some people remember this process and the associated acronym by the statement “Beans With Rice And Fish,” because the first letter of each word corresponds to the BWRAF acronym that will help you check each item of equipment before you get in the water.

The first thing you need to concern yourself with is buoyancy (B). You should check to be sure that your buoyancy compensation device/Buoyancy Control Device, also known as a BCD, is working properly. You do this by inflating the BCD about half way and then deflating it.

Next, you want to look at your weight system (W). How to check your weight system will vary from diver to diver, depending on the system that is used. If using a weight belt, simply check that it is attached properly and that the quick release is not tangled or obstructed in any way. If there are integrated weights, double check that the weight pockets in the BCD are secured and that you know how they should be released.

Next, releases (R) need to be checked, starting by checking that the releases are properly attached. Check the attachments at the waist and shoulders. If the BCD has a chest and stomach clip, be sure to check these, as well. Try moving the tank around to be sure that the tank is also secured.

Air (A) is the next step. This is often best checked by a diving partner. Air is checked by turning the air all the way on and then turning it all the way back down. One to three breaths should be taken from the regulator while watching the submersible pressure gauge, also known as an SPG. When checking the tank, you should ensure that it is full and that the needle does not move down as the breath is taken. If the needle dips downward, it means that there may be a problem with the regulator. An alternate air source should be tested in the same way.

The final (F) check, or final ok, is the last step in your pre-dive safety check. The final check includes a check for all other equipment that is necessary when diving such as a mask, gloves, and fins. Diving partners should ask one another if they are ok to dive before going in; this gives everyone a chance to back out if necessary. When the final check is complete, and all systems have passed the pre-diving safety check, diving can begin.


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