The Importance of a Good Scuba Diving Buddy

Choosing the right buddy for a dive can be an important aspect to the enjoyment and safety of diving. By choosing a buddy who shares our ideals, goals and values, we are more likely to have a truly compatible buddy, and more likely to enjoy sharing a dive together. Pairing up with an underwater photographer could be great for a diver who likes to take it slow and draw in the details. On the other hand, for the type of diver who likes to cruise the reef, this might not be a good match.

Still, the relationship between buddies runs deeper than shared goals and values.One way to think about a buddy is as a lifeboat. A scuba diving buddy is someone who is there to help you out when something goes wrong, so when we're assessing the limits for a dive, we need to keep our buddy's limits in mind as well. If our buddy is over his head, then, he may hold us back, and might not be able to lend assistance when needed. From both the standpoint of safety, and of enjoyment, it can be better to choose a dive partner who has similar training and experience, and who is capable of making the same kind of dives that we enjoy,

Unfortunately, we don't always have the perfect buddy for a dive. Sometimes we might be with a diving partner who shares our goals and values, but lacks the training and experience. In that case, we should be careful not to push our partner to his limits. Peer pressure can be a powerful force in a recreational diving setting that causes divers to exceed their personal limits.

One way to help avoid the peer pressure problems is to adopt the rule that any diver can call any dive at any time; no questions asked.This is a rule observed by divers who engage in more demanding types of diving to enhance safety and remove peer pressures. Whether it's ear or sinus pain, an equipment issue, or a situation that just doesn't “feel right,” divers are likely to make the right decision when they don't feel pressured to dive. Remember, that buddy is our lifeboat, and we want that boat to stay afloat.

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