Whether you’re going on an hours-long diving trip, or spending a week among strangers on a liveaboard, you don’t want to be that person that causes everyone to hesitate, just slightly, when you’re in need of life-saving assistance.
Because everyone knows that “one guy” (or girl) who can potentially put a damper on a diving experience for everyone, and who will be the unknowing subject of uncomfortable albeit funny diving stories for years to come.
Yes, in the long run, this person creates the perfect fodder for a good anecdote and is therefore incredibly useful, but in the short term, there are certain behaviors that are simply really annoying to fellow divers, the diving instructor, and even anyone within ear shot.
And while every diving trip presents an opportunity to make lifelong friends, and most folks are happy to lend newcomers or inexperienced divers a hand, divers should nevertheless keep these diving etiquette rules in mind to ensure they aren’t the ones that everyone is secretly dreaming about pushing overboard.
If you were a guest at somebody’s home, you wouldn’t take off your shoes, your socks, and your pants, and throw them all over the room, would you? The same housekeeping rules apply when you’re on a boat with multiple divers. Keep it neat, and keep your gear to one little pile, so you’re not overrunning the community space with a mess, potentially tripping someone and causing injuries.
Nobody likes to be behind the diver who’s kicking their feet along the bottom, causing a cloud of sandy debris to disrupt the visibility for anyone a few feet away. Be considerate of the folks in your general vicinity, and don’t obstruct the view.
Want to make a local diving guide angry? Then start fondling the coral, get your hands on the puffer fish cruising by, or try to pick up and examine the local species that can effectively be killed with human interaction. A diver’s agenda should be to observe without intruding, and divers should always enter the water with the personal goal of keeping their hands to themselves.
If you have more experience than your spouse, your kids, or your friends, it’s tempting to “guide” them while underwater by yanking them one way or the other, or by giving detailed directions via frantic and incomprehensible hand gestures. Back off, and let the diving guide do the work. They’re the experts, and they’ll make sure that your loved ones are safe, allowing you to actually relax and enjoy yourself.
Every group has that one person who takes their time putting on their wet suit, adjusting their mask and their kit, and easing into the water while everyone else is already bobbing and ready to get started. If you know you’ll need more time, take it – and if your air consumption is better than everyone else, come up when everybody else finishes anyway. You don’t want to be responsible for everyone, (especially the crew), missing lunch.
Nobody likes the dude (or chick) who spends a diving trip talking about the other amazing sites they’ve been to, and how they were SO MUCH better than whatever site they’re exploring now. Approach every dive site like it’s your first, and you’ll create a better experience for your diving comrades, and yourself as well.
This should be obvious, but surprisingly, it sometimes isn’t. Just because you’re going to be in the water all day, you’re still in typically hot and humid conditions. You get out of the water in a damp wet suit, and hang around topside surrounded by diesel fumes…foul odors increase the chances of seasickness in your fellow divers. So, um, yeah. This small concession will be very much appreciated by your diving group.
One of the biggest complaints of guides is that divers who have been on 20+ expeditions can easily turn into self-designated experts, when in actuality, every diver can be better and more prepared. If you’re new, get certified. If you’ve logged dozens of dives but it’s been awhile, take a refresher or continuing education course to ensure your skills are current. By staying up-to-date on your diving know-how, you’ll reduce the risk of getting into trouble, and causing a bad time for yourself, and everyone else on board.
Want to improve or refresh your dive skills? Scuba Toys offers year-round diver education courses! Give us a call at (972) 820-7667 or swing by our Carrollton, TX shop and learn more about our dive education offerings.
A diving course makes an excellent holiday gift too – we offer gift certificates!
Any other diving etiquette tips you can share with other divers about how not to be “that guy or girl?” Let us know in the comments below!
Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thespis377/