How to Plan a Dive

Plan the dive - Dive the plan:

I'm sure you've heard that before, and it's very true.. BUT what exactly does planning a dive entail? Let's go over it.

Click Here to Download a Free Dive Planner Template!

First and foremost, when planning a dive you want to make sure you alway plan within your limits, experience and comfort. But also consider that you should be creating this plan with the most conservative divers in mine. The plan should not exceed the limits of the person with the least training, fitness, experience, etc.

Begin with an Objective:

Number 1 is always safety but if there are additional priorities of the dive then make sure you address those before the dive. Is there a specific thing you're hoping to see, are you collecting trash, or any skills you're going to practice? Communicate these with your buddy beforehand.

Environmental Conditions:

What are the environmental factors you need to consider? Is there a current? How heavy are the waves at the surface? What is the water and air temperature? Is the sun setting? Think of anything that could have impacts on the dive.

Potential Hazards:

Some examples of things to be aware of are fishing line, nets, other entanglement risks, heavy currents, depths, boats, etc. Make sure you're aware of these things before you run into an issue with them.

Special Equipment:

Is there any special equipment you need to have for this dive? Trash collection items, dive lights, cutting tool, reef hook, or anything outside of your standard equipment needs. Make sure you have them on you and that you and your buddy are familiar with their use and location on your gear assembly.

Emergency Procedures:

Have a plan in place in case of an emergency. Know the location of safety equipment. Have emergency contact information available. Check out this blog from DAN on more information on how to make an EAP.

DAN Blog: How to Create an Effective Emergency Action Plan

Dive Plan:

Start with entry and exit. Are you on a boat, shore, other? Are you snorkeling out or using underwater navigation? Is it a giant stride entry or backroll entry?

What about the actual ascent and descent? Is there a down line, slopping bottom, free scent/descent?

What is the direction or course of the dive? Are you doing a reciprocal dive (down and back). Is there a path? Are you going with the current? Where are you planning to go?

Max depth and time is also super important to define and watch during the dive. Make sure you stay within your training and limits! Reminder that Open Water Diver depth limit is 60ft (18m). Check your dive computer frequently to make sure you're not going beyond your depth and time limits!

Calculating Turn Pressure:

If you are doing a reciprocal dive you need to determine what pressure you need to turn around at. To calculate this you will do the following:

Staring tank pressure - Reserve pressure* = Remaining pressure / 2 = Turn Pressure

*Reserve pressure is the air needed for ascent + safety stop + extra air incase of an emergency.

Extra Reminder:

Always do a pre dive safety check with your buddy. Make sure you're familiar with each others gear, everything is assembled correctly, working properly, and you have everything you need for the dive BEFORE you get in the water. This is the absolute best way you can avoid accidents.

You can use the planner I put together to help walk you through this here!

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