January 27, 2020

Scuba Diving: Basic Navigation Tips You Need To Know

Scuba diving is one of the most exciting underwater activities. Though there are professionals who scuba dive for research and analysis purposes, there are some who dive just for the fun of it. No matter the reason you scuba dive, it is important to learn to navigate underwater. Navigating underwater can be a bit tricky, especially since there are no roads, landmarks or signs. Here are a few tips to help you get a hang of basic navigation while you go scuba diving.

Plan Ahead
Just like any form of activity or travel, it is essential to plan ahead while you go scuba diving. You need to collect as much information as possible about the location as well as expected scenarios like rocks, coral formations, sandy patches, drop-offs wreck size and so on. You can usually collect this sort of information from dive operators or experienced divers in the region.

Draw A Map
Mapping out the dive site before the actual dive can be very useful. It helps you lay out the direction you want to move while you are underwater. Drawing the map also makes it easier for you to visualize it while you are underwater. Noting down certain landmarks on the map can make it easier to find your way back as well. This helps especially when you are exploring without a dive guide.

Location Of Dive Boat
Just like remembering where you parked your car, it is important to remember the location of your dive boat. Experienced divers suggest taking the time to mentally note down your surroundings and any other landmarks. This helps you to return to the right spot once you are done exploring. Also, take note of how the dive boat looks from underneath to make it easier for you to return.

Wear A Compass
It is essential for underwater divers to wear a compass for navigation. When you are on land, you can use the sun to figure out the directions. However, this is impossible when you are underwater. A compass comes in handy when you go scuba diving. If you want to know which compass is best suited, you can check out this article, https://seasideplanet.com/best-scuba-compass/ that lists some good options. No matter what you choose, experts suggest practicing a couple of times and learning how to use it before you actually go scuba diving. It is also a good idea to take it along on a couple of guided tours before actually heading out underwater on your own. It is a good idea to invest in a quality compass as it becomes critical to your underwater navigation.

Setting The Bezel
Each time before your dive, you need to set the bezel of the compass you are using to point to the direction of your dive boat. In case you are shore diving, the bezel needs to be set to point to the shore. Once the bearing has been set, it will not change during the dive. This makes it a lot easier for you to return back to your starting point.

Measuring Distance
Many beginner scuba divers make the mistake of not measuring distance when they are underwater. It is important to be aware of how far you have swum out and in which direction in order to return back safely. Those who regularly take scuba diving vacations suggest measuring the distance underwater by air consumption. Some prefer to measure based on the time they have been swimming. Although it is not accurate science, it still helps you get an inkling of how much ground you have covered.

Natural Directional Indicators
Experienced divers recommend using natural directional indicators while scuba diving. For example, if it is a sunny day and the water is clear, you can use the sun as your compass.  It is also possible to use the sand ripples caused by currents to find your way back to the shore since these ripples often run parallel to the shore. In fact, the deeper the impact of the sand ripple, the closer you are to the shore.

Currents Are Not Good Indicators
It is important to avoid the rookie mistake of relying on the currents as an indicator of direction. Currents often twist and turn around differed undersea objects, making it unreliable as an indicator of direction. This is why carrying a compass with you is in your best interest while you go scuba diving.

Trust Your Instruments
When you are underwater, you need to learn to trust your instruments. In order to trust them, you have to ensure that they are working perfectly before the actual dive. You also need to check that there is no interference to the working of your instruments due to shipwrecks or other undersea objects like that. Once you are satisfied that your instruments are working properly, it makes it easy to rely on them when you are underwater.

Understanding the basics of underwater navigation while scuba diving helps reduce anxiety or confusion while you are underwater. This helps create a space for a much safer and enjoyable scuba diving experience. 

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