Worst diving mistakes

Let’s be honest, when we dive, we will sooner or later make mistakes. Small without consequences or important mistakes, it is not always easy to admit its worst diving mistakes.

Mistakes, of course I made … more than one. So I had to select the  one that spoke to me the most.

Focus on my 3 worst diving mistakes

Turn off the valve of my buddy’s tank that frosts and to be sure… close both

It was a long time ago in clear and warm water … Joke ! It was in cold and dark waters of a Belgian quarry. I’m diving with my buddy. Arriving on a depth of -35m, we are swimming around a “wreck” (yes in Belgium we have wrecks that do not really look like those found at sea, but which nevertheless form a point of interest).

The water is very cold and my buddy’s regulator starts to freeze. 
Of course, our equipment is split, because in our diving environments we learn very quickly the importance of redundancy. My buddy is signaling me that she has a problem and tells me to turn off her valve.

I answer “OK”, proudly prepares my octopus and turn off … Both valves!

I come back in front of her and see in her eyes her amazement that she no longer has air in any of her regulators.

I hand her my octopus  which she grabs quickly.
Except I offer the octopus… upside down, whiskers up.
So she rushes on without paying attention and drinks as much water as she breathes air!
She’s signaling to me that things aren’t okay.

I then give her my regulator and take my octopus  in my mouth but still upside down and fail to drown when I breath … water.

There is no need to close both valves if a regulator is frosted. Only one is enough. In addition, listening to your instructor during the more theoretical sessions and noting this kind of “detail” in your mind can save your life.

Forgot to tighten my mouthpiece with a tie-wrap, lost my regulator when diving … and almost drowned

Dakar, Senegal. I dive on a beautiful wreck with my buddy, a very nice Divemaster.  There is current, but visibility is pretty good. 

Arriving around -35m, the current throws me by surprise towards the wreck. My arm hits a sea urchin and I push to move away so as not to hurt me more.

I suddenly breathe 100% water.

Mentally I tell myself that the liquid entered my mouth when pushing me back. So I blow to get the rest of the water out. Yet, to the next inspiration, still only water!
I put my hand over my mouth and notice that …. I don’t have a regulator anymore!

At that point, my brain assesses the situation in seconds.

My buddy is about ten meters in front of me.
Just below me, at what I estimate to be 5 meters deep, an instructor that I trust.
I know that I am at -35m, that I have already had two exhalations and that I will not last very long without air. I’m thinking about my octopus, but reminds me that I have not tested it for a long time. In addition, the number 1 error explained above comes back to me. I’m suddenly afraid it won’t work. 

Everything is going very fast in my brain right now and I’m making a choice.

I decide not to go deeper and kick quickly towards my buddy in front of me, grab his shoulder, turn it over and calmly detaches his octopus to breathe. He lets me do it, takes back my regulator and attaches it to the mouth piece that I removed to suck air from his octopus.

Maintaining equipment and checking its operation regularly.

A suite of mistakes you should not do and however escape from consequences that could be fatal.

That was a long time ago. A hot and sunny day where I accumulated physical and psychological fatigue, dehydration, yoyo diving and dives with inverted profiles.

The outcome could have been dramatic. I tell you the whole story here.

Many accidents are a series of mistakes, things that are not going as we would have liked.

Respect the basic rules of safety and, at the slightest doubt, give up diving.

How to understand them?

Diving mistakes happen to everyone. They’ll happen to you. Even if a lot of divers will never talk about it and prefer to remain in the “world of silence.”

So, rather than fearing or denying them, it seems to me wise to put everything in place to prevent them with serenity.

In this way we can adopt an attitude of accident prevention and dive with pleasure and safety.

What are your worst diving mistakes? What did you learn from it? 

Share them below in a comment to allow others to avoid them

And above all… don’t forget to be happy 🤗

Hélène

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