Whew, 2016 was surely a year for the books! I’m sure that quite a few of us are really looking forward to the new year. Of course, we all have to make it through the calorie laden holiday season first before we start to really dig into our new year’s resolutions. As divers, most of us simply vow to do more diving in the new year….which is a noble pursuit, I do it myself. Aside from making a commitment to fill more pages in your log book, what else are you planning on doing to make yourself a safer diver? No idea? Well, here’s just a few areas where every diver should strive to improve!
Get fit for diving
While many of us do something to keep in shape, we all could do more to keep the waistline a bit smaller. If you’re one to just show up at the gym, walk around lost for a bit and get a smoothie on the way out the door, here are a few ideas:
- Swimming-No matter where you are, most larger fitness centers have swimming pools, and what better activity for the avid SCUBA diver to do than a few laps? Swimming has been long known to work every muscle group in the body while keeping the heart healthy. A huge benefit for us divers is that being a strong and proficient swimmer can save our lives! Oh, and you don’t have to worry about getting all hot and sweaty! So, throw on the trunks and move around that pool for 30 minutes a few times a week. You can show off your skills when the current kicks up and your dive buddy can’t keep up!
- Strength Training-While the actual act of the SCUBA dive is pretty chill, it’s the getting into and out of the water part that gets most of us. Yeah, most of us hate lugging our gear around, walking down to the water, wrestling with that boat ladder in high seas, and loading the car. All of these things require a decent amount of body strength. In addition to that, being physically strong helps your body’s general health. So grab some weights and move them. It doesn’t take much….20-30 minutes a couple times a week to do a full body circuit! Or you can just move your dive cylinders around the garage…if that’s your thing!
- General Cardio Training-Not a fan of swimming or have no access to a pool? Well, there’s still plenty you can do. Go for a walk, a jog, take the bike for a spin, jump some rope, or even do burpees in your living room. Just remember the general guideline of 30 minutes a few times a week. So, get that heart pumping a bit.
Of course it’s always prudent to get your medical provider to give you the thumbs up before starting any fitness program. We at DRIS are cheering you on in your fitness adventures and will be here when you need that smaller BCD or wetsuit!
Sign up for a course!
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to advance your diving and make your adventures a bit safer is to take a course or two. Yeah, we’ve all heard the term “card collector”, however there are quite a few worthwhile courses out there that provide some amazing training opportunities. Not sure which course to take? Check out this article on five SCUBA certifications that you should really have. Of course, rescue diver is always a highly recommended one to take as it will not only teach you how to be a better dive buddy, but will also provide you with some great self-rescue skills. Want to take a specialty course to see what other types of dive activities are out there? The night diver course is a good one. Not only will it teach you how to dive after the sun goes down, but also increase your personal dive safety and buddy skills.
No matter what course you take, you stand to gain from not only in-water time with an experienced instructor, but also adding some dives to your logbook. Additionally, you may find that you really enjoy that specialty and plan future dives with the new buddies you met in class!
Make sure your gear is in top notch condition!
It’s no secret that SCUBA equipment needs to be serviced regularly, but many of us only take our stuff to the local dive shop when problems arise. For those of us who have an offseason and store our gear for months on end, we really need to be diligent about getting our equipment checked out. While most of us have a local dive shop that is great about servicing our equipment, some of us don’t have a ready resource. This usually leads to getting equipment serviced less regularly and often diving with equipment that has issues. For those of us who fall into the second category, (shameless plug alert) DRIS has a full service repair and maintenance operation and repairs gear for divers all around the globe. Just box it up and send it to us! Wondering why you should use us for your equipment servicing when you don’t have a dependable local dive shop? Check out this article.
Of course, having top notch equipment doesn’t just mean ensuring your existing equipment is in good shape. It also means having the right equipment for the dives you’re doing. Oftentimes wallets are tight so we try to get by with either outdated equipment or equipment simply not suited for the dive. A prime example would be sidemount rigs. While some do have the ability to be used for back mounting a single cylinder, it doesn’t mean that they’re the right tool for the job. Going further, how is your safety equipment? If your SMB old and faded? Are your cutting devices rusty and chipped? Is the protective case on your dive computer so fogged that you can barely see the display? All of these are situations that require you to consider an upgrade or replacement. While most SCUBA gear will last for years when properly maintained, it won’t last forever.
Well, there you have it. Three ways where you can make improvements in order to increase the level of safety and skill in your personal diving. Of course, it goes without saying that simply getting out there and diving is always beneficial. So, get in shape, take a class, check out your gear, and get out there for some diving!