May: Your Dive Mask….Can you still put it back on underwater?

Hey do you remember way back when you were certified to SCUBA dive? During the class the instructor almost certainly ask you to take your mask off and put it back on underwater. This is standard training in all certification classes.

But, when was the last time you did this? Do you still remember how? Do you need a refresher?

If it’s been a few years since you did this exercise I recommend you try it with your dive buddy watching to keep you out of trouble. Or even better, practice in a swimming pool sometime.

I recommend that all you lobster divers practices before the season opens again. You never know when you’re lobster diving buddy might accidentally kick you in the face and knock your mask off.

Be Safe…Dive Safe

Dave Wills

April: Drift Flag or Marker

During a Private Boat Dive on Saturday 3/16/2019 divers on Randy’s boat and on mine witnessed 3 young men free diving on the 2nd reef off Hallandale using only a small float - about 3 times the size of a football - as a marker.  These guys were very inconspicuous, and had a close call with a speeding powerboat while we watched.

We’ve all been trained to take care of our dive buddy.  But when you drift dive, it’s also important to take care of your other dive buddy…your drift diving flag or marker.  It’s the only thing that allows your boat captain to know where you’re at.  And, it’s your 1st line of defense against passing boats. 

Take care not to pull it underwater.  This happens most often when there is current. To prevent submersion of the floating marker, the line should scope out much like an anchor line.  If you are diving in 50 feet of water, you should have about 100 feet of line between you and your dive marker.

In the open ocean a diver is required to stay within 300 feet of the dive flag, and passing boats are required to stay more than 300 feet away from a dive flag.  But, I recommend you stay as close as possible to the dive flag when you surface.  Also, be aware of how the wind is orienting your dive flag.  Does an oncoming boater have a broadside view of your flag…or not?  If not, you can raise the flag above the water and wave it from side to side to get the attention of oncoming boaters.

Be Safe…Dive Safe

Dave Wills

March: Where is That Propeller…And Who Controls It?

Let’s face the facts! The most dangerous thing in the ocean is man-made. It’s the propeller on the dive boat you’re riding on or the propeller on the passing speedboat or yacht. Divers Beware!

What can you do?

  • First, always have an understanding of the configuration of the boat you are diving from. Is it an outboard boat with propeller(s) at the stern? Is it an inboard boat with propellers under the aft part of the hull? Does the boat have waterjet propulsion (with no exposed propeller(s)).

  • Second, listen attentively to any crew instructions. Ask questions if anything is unclear. How and when will you enter the water from the dive boat? Will it be moving or stationary? Will the propeller(s) be moving or stationary?

  • Third, what’s the re-boarding procedure when the dive is finished? How are you to approach the boat? How will the boat approach you? What signals or other communication should you initiate or anticipate from the helmsman or mate? Will the engine(s) be running are shut down when you re-board the vessel?

  • Fourth, when you surface after the dive, be as conspicuous as possible. You may blow a whistle to announce your presence to the dive boat crew. Watch and listen for oncoming vessels with operators that may not be aware of your presence. It may be wise to wave your dive flag or dive sausage side to side to make it more conspicuous to an oncoming vessel. You may even consider practicing rapid re-submersion skills. How quickly can you re-submerse from the surface to 4 or 5 feet below the surface in response to an oncoming vessel? Good luck with that!

Watch Those Props!

Be Safe!


February: Watch that Line!

SCUBA divers and free divers use lines and strings to stay attached to all sorts of things.

Lanyards attach our dive lights, our cameras and other gear to our bodies.

Retractable lanyards are sometimes attached to lobster bags, lights and other fishing or diving gear.

Spear guns typically have lengthy pieces of heavy line between the gunstock and the spear.

Drift divers have float lines that keep them attached to the diver down flag. Some drift lines float while some sink.

Normally all these lines are very beneficial to the user, but things can go wrong in a hurry. Divers can become entangled in these lines in all sorts of ways that can be baffling to the diver, who is usually wearing gloves and has tunnel vision. The tangle can even be baffling to a dive buddy who doesn’t always know the intended function of the line.

Fortunately, there’s a easy solution. Always carry a knife or scissor! I prefer a scissor. Make sure it’s readily available to your dominant hand. And, don’t hesitate to cut that string if you get into a tangle!

Be Safe! Dive Safe!

Dave Wills

January: Tell Me About Your Most Significant Diving Safety Incident

Hi everybody, Dave Wills here.
I hope you all had a wonderful year 2018, including a lot of world-class SCUBA diving!!

I will be writing/presenting the safety minute for calendar year 2019. And, I’d like your assistance. Could I ask each and every one of you to consider sharing with me your most significant diving safety issue? I’d like to hear your story and possibly turn it into a safety minute that would be meaningful to our membership during 2019.

It may be the way some of us dive here in South Florida presents unique risks that are somewhat different than for other divers or for other dive locations. Let’s learn from our members experiences.

By the way, I can keep a secret. If you’d like to remain anonymous, simply let me know. I’ll tell your story without divulging your name.

Dive Safe!