No one ever wants to deal with their boat leaving them behind without having any survival tips to fall back on. Unfortunately, some divers have already been through the ordeal of getting left behind. But if you follow these simple steps by Underwater360, you can prevent yourself from drifting away in open water. The real test is done under pressure, so if you find yourself in a situation where your boat leaves you behind, follow these tips to ensure your and other divers’ safety.
1. Plan ahead
Dive with friends who’ve got your back. Have a diver other than your partner be responsible for checking that everyone made it back on board.
2. Get the gear
Be conspicuous. Bright surface marker buoys (SMB), at least 1.8 meters tall, 15 centimetres in diameter and extremely bright should be a standard in your dive kit. A mirror-like signal device to alert other boats or air crafts at great distances. Another great device is the Nautilus LifeLine that will help locate you through its GPS tracker and could potentially save your life. Other necessities include, air horn, LED light source and a bright colored hood.
3. Gather your bearings
If you find that the boat is not where you left it after you come up, that means it is time to gather your bearings. Scan the horizon for land, other boats or anything you can find to hold on to. Drop your weights to swim to safety if you come across something, but keep your mask and regulator/snorkel on to help keep you buoyant. Latching yourself together with your partner will also stop you from drifting apart.
4. Conserve energy
Upon the realization that you’ve been left behind, you need to begin to conserve some energy. Latching on to your buddy will reduce all of the swimming that you have to do to and keeping streamlined will help conserve your energy. Also, remember to travel diagonally or perpendicular if swimming to fight a current without burning out your energy.
5. Stay warm
If you didn’t know this before, now you know — swimming in tropical waters can cause hypothermia. But there are still lots of ways to stay warm. The old rule stays the same if you start to feel cold, move your arms and legs in a controlled manner to generate heat. Don’t get too crazy and waste any of your energy. You can even hug your knees to your chest and cross your feet to trap body heat or stay close to your diving buddy. But most important, keep your head out of the water.
6. Don’t panic
Nothing good comes out of being in a state of panic. If you’re left behind and get scared, do not start thrashing around, it will waste your energy and can lead to drowning. Practice proper breathing, don’t yell or scream because it can cause you to hyper ventilate.
For more diving information, visit Underwater360.