Every dive should end with a safety stop. But being close to the surface makes buoyancy a challenge, and without the right technique, you might find yourself ascending unintentionally. Here are five tips for making safety stops look easy.
1. SLOW ASCENT Keep an eye on your computer or depth gauge to make sure you ascend no faster than 30 feet per minute. Remember to vent expanding air from your BC as you go, and always send up a surface marker if you’re ascending away from your boat.
2. PROPER POSITIONING Once at 15 feet, position yourself head-up and keep your depth gauge at chest level so your torso stays at the right depth.
3. STEADY AS SHE GOES If you’re holding a down line attached to boat, grab the line loosely with one hand, with your arm outstretched to prevent the line from pulling you up and down.
4. TIME IT Every diver should time his or her own safety stop — don’t rely on another diver.
5. SWIM SLOWLY Divers sometimes think once the safety stop is over, they can fin to the boat as fast as they want. But the final 15 feet are the most dangerous part of the water column for lung-overexpansion injuries. Ascend the final 15 feet at the same, slow 30-feet-per-minute rate.