Scuba Diving: Tips For Anxious Divers
Seasoned divers are usually very relaxed, and even excited before taking the deep-sea plunge. Yet, there lies a panic button in each and every one of us, and it gets pushed when you least expect it, pushing us into danger at surprising times. This is particularly true in the case of divers. This fact is backed by the data released by the National Underwater Accident Data Center which says that around one-fifth of all the diver deaths taking place are caused due to panic. Another 22% of the accidents happening underwater still remain a mystery, according to the Institute. Given the fact that a number of divers are found dead with their weight belts on, plenty of air in their cylinders and with working equipment, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that death caused due to panic is more common that the reports suggest.
Panic can kill a diver in many ways, one of which is rapid, shallow breathing that builds up carbon dioxide which results in the diver acting irrationally and they start to breath faster which expels the regulator to the surface. These kinds of panic attacks are quite dangerous and can make you pass out or suffer a heart attack. Panic also affects one’s cognitive abilities and prevents him or her from thinking rationally and finding solutions when the equipment malfunctions. We have listed some tips which you can follow to maintain your cool the next time you dive into the ocean.
Practice Makes Poised
Always make sure that you do a checkout dive to guarantee the suit still fits you properly. If it’s too tight, it can induce panic. Also, ensure that your equipment works just as fine, and your diving skills are sharp. You may also like to practice the skills such as sharing air and cleaning the mast because it is quite possible that you may have last deployed these skills during certification. Always prepare yourself mentally as to what needs to be done when you find yourself in a problem, such as your regulator starts free flowing or your mask gets flooded up. You should also get the dive details reviewed by the instructor so that there are no surprises deep inside the ocean.
Have an Emergency Plans Ready
Despite checking every detail of your suit and other equipment, it is possible that something may fail when you’re underwater. It is completely okay to feel afraid when you find yourself in a difficult situation. However, having an emergency plan and ready for such difficult situations ensures that your fear does not turn into irrational panic. Ask yourself what might make you feel panicked. One great way to practice an emergency plan through a quick refresher diving trip. Whether it’s because you saw a shark or there’s failure of equipment, you should always have an emergency escape plan ready for such situations and these plans should be properly rehearsed beforehand.
Stop. Breathe. Think. Act.
Once you find yourself in a situation where panic starts creeping in, the best thing to do would be to stop it in its tracks. When you’re taking deep, proper breaths from your diaphragm, it is next to impossible for panic to make its way inside your head. So, always prepare yourself to Stop – Breathe – Think – Act every time you find yourself in a difficult situation. This will reduce the possibility of you facing panic induced problems to almost zero. However, if you’re out of air, the other tips still apply, and you need to think of the other available options before you. If you think of it, most people (especially divers), can hold their breath for at least 60 seconds – enough time to get hold of your backup air or your diver buddy.