The answer here is ‘yes’ you can,
but there are guidelines that you should follow. Scuba diving and free diving are two very different things, in many ways. Many scuba divers are getting the bug to free dive. Why not, it is great fun and very relaxing. There is one important factor that everyone should know when you go to free dive. You can get ‘the bends’ when free diving in-between scuba dives, or straight after your scuba dive.
When does this happen?
Often we encounter people on a live-aboard, free diving in between their scuba dives. Or, holidaymakers diving at a scuba centre, then free diving after their scuba dive has finished. This can have serious consequences, leading to serious injury or even death. ‘The bends’ is a consequence of doing this, so here, you should have a very good reason to think about what you are doing!
The reason is?
When we free dive after a scuba dive, we are compressing the bubbles that have accumulated in our tissues and body compartments. The slow releasing tissues of our body are most affected here. When we ascend from a free dive, we have a rate of approx. 1m per second. Here, we have no chance of off-gassing at that ascent rate. Scuba divers ascend much slower, giving their body time to off-gas as they slowly ascend to the surface.
Freediving has many variables and has many variables in depth, unlike scuba diving. Free divers ascend quicker from deeper depths with a non-stop ascent.
Due to the high increase in the risk of the bends here, it is not safe to free dive after scuba diving. There are no tables available at present as to what a ‘safe surface interval’ time is. The common method of calculating this is to use the No Fly tables on the RDP.
The Golden Rule
is stay safe and always free dive before scuba diving. Vice versa can lead to a disaster. We all enjoy the ocean in many ways, so stay safe and choose the correct order of doing your favourite sports. We, at DiveSMART Gozo, offer a wide range of scuba diving activities suitable for everyone. Check out our website at www.divesmartgozo.com
Safe diving to you all.
The DiveSMART Team