I recently got the opportunity to become a open water certified diver. Prior to getting certified, after many trips to the pool to test how I might like diving, it didn’t take long for me to realize its one of the most interesting and fun activities I have ever done. It requires a lot of things to go right and little to go wrong to ruin your day.
During the pool visits prior to starting the certification process I got to experience a lot of ” things going wrong”. Some of the things that happened are extremely funny now but were most likely terrifying moments. In the end the pre-dive experience certainly showed me what not to do and how crazy a bunch of guys can get when unsupervised and not knowing any better.
One of the most memorial moments is all of us sitting around the pool switching out tanks when sudden it felt like an plane had crashed into the ground and forced the earth around us to shake. We all looked at each other then a the huge cloud of bubbles coming up from the pool. After putting two and two together we realized that a diver was in the pool, alone and something had gone terribly wrong. Luckily the person at the bottom of the pool knew it was time to surface and didn’t let the explosion underwater thwart his exit from certain death. After he was deemed ok we figured out that if your gauge o-ring seal decides to rupture and spit your gauge off the end of the hose, it results in a thunderous boom as well as sudden loss of air. Lessons learned here are don’t dive by yourself even with other people on the surface and if you suspect bad gear fix it. They likely won’t make it to you in time if something does happen. If air is leaking from a part profusely its more likely it will completely fail once underwater.
Another event that comes to mind was the horse play that occurs when people that should know better get together. For everyone’s reference, pulling a regulator out of someone’s mouth in three feet of water could potentially drown that person. Even if all they have to do is stand up. The sudden panic from water rushing into ones mouth after being in the water for the first time with scuba gear will most certainly end the scuba experience. It was admittedly one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed and most would agree was well deserved punishment for things this individual had done in the past.
In looking back, I got to experence a lot going wrong prior to acutally be trained properly on how to handle it. I knew what to do when my air suddenly stopped, minus cursing everyone around me to make sure I let the person know that turned my air off underwater I was upset about it. I quickly learned not to panic because panic was going to cost some ribbing by my peers.
In closing, if you haven’t tried diving please goto your nearest NAUI or PADI instruction site. Book some pool time and get your open water certifcation. If you chose the Pre-101 method be warned it will be tried by fire event filled with some panic and laughing.