Safe Scuba Diving an Snorkeling Tips
Protect the Environment
- Do not touch wildlife. Avoiding wildlife is safer for you and better for
the wildlife. Some marine animals have a protective coating that is rubbed off
when touched, exposing them to parasites and infection. Touching
or "playing" with them also stresses the animal.
- Coral are marine animals. Take care when snorkeling or scuba diving and
avoid touching, grabbing, or accidentally grazing the coral with your fins. The
portion of the coral that is touched will die.
- Do not take marine animals out of the ocean for any reason. This also
stresses the animal.
- When taking pictures underwater, do not touch the animals. Do not lean
or hold onto coral or other underwater structures while trying to "get a
good picture." Remember, touching coral in any way damages it, and the
portion damaged will die.
- Secure "dangling gear" that may damage the reef. Secure the secondary air
source, computer console, flashlights, or any other gear that may come into
contact with coral and other marine life.
- If you witness someone abusing a
marine animal, contact the authorities if the information is available. There
are many reefs that are under marine law protection (for example, the island of
Bonaire in the Caribbean) and have organizations to protect the animals.
- You are in their environment and world. Respect marine life as a living
being and take only pictures, and leave only bubbles.
- Bring a list of emergency numbers on your dive trip, such as the location
of the nearest hyperbaric chamber, dive insurance phone numbers, and whom to contact
in case of an emergency.
- Bring a scuba diving emergency tool kit (this will contain spare o-rings,
fin straps, fin clips, mask straps, etc., in case the part you need is not
- Maintain your scuba gear. It is advised to have regulators serviced
annually. Inspect your buoyancy compensator device prior to each dive to assure
there are no holes or malfunctioning parts.
- Carry a signaling device such as small mirror, whistle, or emergency
surface marker. These items easily fit in a BCD pocket.
- Prior to the trip make sure that your tetanus shot
is up-to-date before
any dive trip. Get a new shot every 10 years. See your personal doctor for
immunization and health recommendations prior to foreign travel. In addition,
check the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site for specific
immunization requirements concerning your travel plans. If you do not have a
personal physician, check your local hospitals for travel medicine clinics. You
will be able to get the necessary immunizations and antibiotics through these
centers in a timely fashion. Remember that some continents require multiple
immunizations, so leave at least one to two months lead time for appropriate treatment.
- If you have a known insect sting allergy, carry an allergy kit, which
contains injectable epi-pens (epinephrine, adrenaline). Make sure those
traveling with you
know how to administer the epi-pen in case you are unable to do so.
- Complete a course in diving
CPR, or Oxygen First Aid for Scuba
Diving Injuries. Take a list of
emergency contacts, diving insurance information, phone numbers, and a
first aid kit.
- Refresh your knowledge of the basics of scuba diving safety prior to
departing on dive trips. For example be prepared by:
- Observing the "no fly rules" of air travel after diving.
- Know the signs and symptoms of decompression illness
- Know the actions to take with a
- Know what actions to take in the event you are
bitten by a marine animal,
come in contact with fire coral, or accidentally scraped or
cut on hard coral
with bare skin.
- Know what actions to take if you or your buddy is stung by a
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/19/2014
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