Avoid Dehydration on a Dive

dehydration on a diveIn the sport of SCUBA diving, one of the most important considerations toward having a safe and enjoyable dive is staying hydrated. As people prepare for their dive, proper hydration is all too often overlooked, bringing on a series of consequences that range from slight discomfort to serious health concerns.

Many people underestimate how much more easily you can become dehydrated during a dive than when you are on land. Unless a diver forgoes one altogether, wearing a wetsuit causes most divers to sweat, a primary source of your body’s water loss. The combination of breathing drier air from your cylinder than you typically breathe out in the open and the amount of physical exertion can cause dehydration to set in sooner than you expect.

Dehydration on a dive can result in a variety of negative impacts. It not only causes fatigue, but can result in extreme headaches for some people. SCUBA diving involves intense physical activity and, when dehydrated, the muscles in the body lose their efficiency and become more prone to injury. Dehydration has also been shown to be a component of decompression sickness, something every diver would do well to avoid.

In order to avoid any injury or illness caused by dehydration, proper hydration before the dive and during surface intervals is crucial. The easiest way to avoid dehydration on a dive is to drink plenty of water every day in order to obtain optimum hydration. If you’re not a regular water drinker in your non-dive life, just try to drink plenty of water before and after a dive. Avoid soda and coffee as these can actually contribute to dehydration. Alcohol is an obvious dehydrating beverage, and therefore should never be consumed the day of the dive, preferably not the night before either.

dehydration on a diveIf your reason for not hydrating properly before the dive is that you don’t want to pee in your wetsuit, the effects of peeing in your wetsuit are far less harmful than allowing yourself to become dehydrated. While peeing in your wetsuit may feel tacky or disrespectful (if you are using rental gear), bear in mind this old SCUBA industry adage: “There are two kinds of divers in the world: those who pee in their wetsuit, and those who lie about it.” While wetsuits can always be washed, rebounding from dehydration may not be such a simple task.

Dehydration during a dive can be a very dangerous thing. It is vital that you give your body the necessary fuel to perform its best on your dive, so plenty of hydration before, during, and after your dive day will be the key to having a great day rather than a gloomy one. 

Images via Retinafunk, brosner


  1. well spirites are not going to help! Have them after the DIVE and drink responsabliy!

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