Editor’s note: This is a two-part series in which we explore the controversial subject of diving alone versus diving with a buddy. Because there are multiple arguments for each side, we thought we would present some compelling reasons for both. Check back tomorrow for the arguments for diving alone!
Those who are new to SCUBA diving and those who are experienced divers should be well aware that it is not typically an activity to be performed alone. SCUBA diving with a team carries a certain element of risk that increases exponentially when a diver dives alone. There’s just too much that can go wrong that could be prevented had a partner been present on the dive. Let’s take a look at three arguments against diving alone.
One of the popular SCUBA diving activities is the exploration of sunken ships, caves, and other interesting underwater structures. Oftentimes these spaces have objects and plant life that can entangle a SCUBA diver’s body or equipment. If another diver isn’t present, the solo diver could potentially get stuck and run out of air while under water. If another diver was with him, he would have been able to help dislodge his partner’s equipment, arms, or legs from whatever he was caught on so that the dive could be safely continued.
Divers who aren’t aware of a dive site’s tides and currents should never dive alone. Even if they are fully aware of the site’s potential for strong currents and unpredictable tides, they still should never dive alone. Dive sites in remote areas can have particularly tricky currents that can be tough to navigate. Divers should always attempt to dive when the waters are at their calmest.
Divers who experience a significant equipment malfunction when diving alone won’t have a partner present to help them safely return to the surface. Imagine an out of air situation where a diver’s oxygen tank won’t send air to his mouthpiece. If he doesn’t have a partner present to share an air source with as they make a slow ascent to the surface, he’ll have to make a dangerously rapid ascent and risk his health. If he survives such a rapid ascent, he’ll likely suffer from decompression sickness. This occurs when bubbles form within the body due a quick ascent from far depths. This sickness results in a variety of health problems like severe joint pain and paralysis, and can even be fatal.
While the presence of another diver or team of divers does not necessarily guarantee nothing will go wrong, you will likely realize the importance of having someone there when you get into trouble from the very first time you experience an issue during a dive.