6 Steps If Separated From Your Dive Buddy

Your dive buddy is your lifeline underwater. They can me a second set of eyes and support if anything goes wrong. But there are occasions where you might lose sight of each other. Say if you get separated during a dive with low visibility, or if you are focused on your compass only to look up and realize that your buddy swam in the other direction.

What should you do if you’re separated from your diving buddies?

1- Establish a lost-buddy pre-dive plan.

Remember to always make a lost-buddy plan part of your pre-dive check, especially when diving with a new buddy or a stranger. Agree on how long you’ll search for each other underwater (usually one minute) and then agree to end the dive (after making your safety stop) and reuniting on the surface.

Remember to arm you and your buddy’s buoyancy compensater (BCD) with the essential emergency gear like SMB and whistle.

2- Stop and slowly turn 360 °

As soon as you notice that you cannot see your dive buddy, stop where you are, establish neutral buoyancy, and do a slow visual 360° spin. Also look both upwards and downwards to check whether they have ascended or descended. Try spotting your buddy’s bubbles, if possible.

3- Use a signaling device

Use your tank-banger or another audio signaling device to get your buddy’s attention. He or she may be able to locate you by following the direction of the sound.

If you have a dive light on you and visibility is low, use the light while doing your slow spin. The light can be used to grab the attention of your buddy who could be behind any underwater features like big rocks.

4- Start Ascent

After the agreed time (around 1 minute), start your ascent while repeating the 1-minute turn with noise and light at every safety stop

5- Deploy your delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB)

While at your safety stop, deploy your delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB) or so that your buddy can easily spot you if he is searching for you at the surface.

If you’re doing a boat dive this will also aid the boat crew in locating you.

 

6- Wait at the surface

At the surface, wait for your buddy to emerge while continuing to look for the air bubbles or DSMB. If the weather is good chances are you will be able to spot them. However if your buddy is taking too long to surface do not re-descend, instead inform the boat crew or dive center as soon as possible that your buddy is missing.

 

 


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