Safety Talk This Month
We are now into a whole New Year and limitless opportunities are ahead. For those who continue to dive throughout the year, the transition of the calendar may seem nominal but the points below can be equally applicable. For those who prefer to hibernate during the short days and colder weather, there is plenty of time left to prepare.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is the result of any excesses over the festive period. Too much turkey and booze can all take their toll and impact on fitness, especially as the lack of opportunity to get out in the open are constrained by daylight and temperature. The good news can be that Santa may have been good to us and brought lots of new dive toys for us to play with?
The key thing we all hope to avoid is that spike in the Incident report that appears around the Easter weekend each year. Getting ready sooner rather than later can help produce a smoother and safer start to the new season.
All the best intentions of a New Year’s resolution frequently focus on the need to get fit. Gym memberships peak at this time of year but then steadily decline as the year progresses and the motivation declines. Diving is not noted as a high energy sport and many consider that it does not require peak levels of fitness nor does it actively keep you fit. However, due to the weight of the kit involved and the resistance given the environment, there is a significant degree of energy expended - just think of how you feel after a day’s diving. By far and away the best way to get fit for any activity is to engage in that activity itself. The benefit of actually going diving is that you get the opportunity to see things that maintains your interest and helps keep that motivation going.
Practising with new kit in controlled conditions provides another opportunity to keep your interest and motivation high. Even if the opportunity is limited to practice in a swimming pool, such practice can keep you (and others) entertained for a long time. For example practising deploying a DSMB could involve practising deployment with buddy help, then solo and then in mid water and honing the level of buoyancy control you can achieve it with. Then all you need do is practice it in the open water with the added equipment (and cold) constraints that brings.
Refreshing your training is always a sensible thing to achieve. However, a key aspect to consider, especially at this time of the year, is refreshing those skills you rarely get the opportunity to practice. Rescue skills in particular – which we fortunately rarely get to use for real. As a consequence they can deteriorate over time and we can all benefit from some regular refreshing of these important skills. CPR skills can be refreshed at the same time as taking on new skills such as Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training. However, refreshing in water rescue skills can have the benefit of not only updating the skill but contributes to the fitness aspects as well.
Think SAFE – Dive SAFE
Jim Watson, BSAC Safety and Development manager