Anytime you don’t feel comfortable!
As far back as my Open Water course, I remember we said “if you don’t want to do a dive, you don’t have too”. Any diver can, at anytime call a dive. This should go without you being subject to lots of reasons why ‘you should’ do this dive. It is often a difficult call to make, and our human nature does not let us do this lightly.
We Want To Dive
Most of us have limited time and opportunities to dive, so we try to make every dive count. Alone the cost of the dive, tank fills, accommodation, boat fees and transport add up to a significant amount. Not only is it you, but your Buddy has also made the same plans, decisions and expenses, so the desire to ‘do it’ is great.
When Should You Call the Dive?
Over time, and through experience, many of us will say “I prefer to watch from the shore, rather than underwater, wishing I was back on the shore.” There are multiple reasons for you to call a dive early-one being, equipment failure or a malfunction that cannot be solved on the ground properly. If equipment issues begin to multiply before the dive begins, then call the dive, take your equipment and fix it properly. Not only is an equipment malfunction a problem to you and your Buddy, it can escalate underwater quickly to a major incident.
If it doesn’t Feel Right
Sometimes you just don’t feel right about the dive. Something is not 100%, perhaps you don’t feel comfortable with the dive plan, or the arrangements that have been made. Here, it is often difficult to speak up and say “no, I will give this one a miss.” Most divers just go with the flow and do the dive, because they might think it weak to back out, or they will loose their status by their fellow divers. It is better to call the dive before entering the water, or end the dive earlier than planned if things are not going right. You can discuss and de-brief back on shore, or boat, then implement the new plan and changes on the second dive. Problems underwater can sometimes lead to major incidents, especially if things have not gone right from the start.
Take a look at incident reports by DAN and other diving organisations. Many of the problems started way back before the divers even entered the water. Equipment problems, cylinders not full, or a regulator on slight free flow can lead to things unimaginable underwater. On some days its better to call it a day, cut your losses and plan for the next dive weekend. Spare parts and back up equipment is always a must when diving away from home. If you don’t have spare parts, then you run the risk of not maintaining a good safety record.
Bad Day at the Office
Not only equipment can be a headache, the boat, the weather, or late arrivals can also disrupt plans. Sometimes it is just ‘clear from the start’ that this is a bad day at the office. Boat engines and propellers, high water swells, ladder problems and other issues may arise as the day begins. These can be unforeseen, but will make a huge difference to the start of a dive. If things begin to get on top of you before the dive begins, call the dive and go get a coffee. It is a skill to recognise when it is time say ‘no.’ If you are uncomfortable, ask yourself – Do I want to be here? If the truthful, honest answer is NO, then don’t dive. Wait for another opportunity and watch from the side lines – it is always better to be safe than sorry!