We all understand that pre-dive briefing is vital to ensure everyone knows and agrees to the dive plan and to provide local knowledge of a dive site. Both are crucial safety information and make the pre-dive briefing important for all divers, regardless of their experience level. That is why pre-dive briefings require that divers are attentive by ceasing all dive preparations, listen and ask for any clarifications they need.
However, as I came to realize in my latest diving adventures, the post-dive debriefing is almost as important, if not equally important to the pre-dive briefing.
This is because the post-dive debriefing is a great opportunity for any diver to receive feedback on the particular dive and be advised on his or her potential diving mistakes. As a result, proper post-dive debriefings can help a diver understanding which scuba diving behaviour should be avoided or replicated to increase the diving safety and in time acquire safe diving know-how and improve his or her diving knowledge and skills. Personally I find that the feedback I receive after each dive helps me grow as a diver.
Diving instructors or dive-buddies can provide the most productive feedback by simply indicating both the good and the unsound actions or behaviours that took place in the particular dive. For example, one of my diving instructors helped me improve my ability to achieve neutral buoyancy by suggesting that I should practice more on it. Another diver of our team was advised not to wonder too far away from his dive-buddy in order to be better able to provide or request for help in emergency situations. Also, it was underlined to a pair of experienced dive-buddies that incomplete dive checks increase the risk for dangerous mistakes in dives, after one of the two dove having forgotten her diving computer.
And since our goal in scuba diving is to become the best divers we could be, in terms of knowledge, skill and safety of our underwater adventures, we should all take the post-dive debriefings seriously. I recommend suggesting a post-dive discussion with your dive instructors, your dive guides or your dive buddies over a nice cup of coffee. The discussion could be most constructive if questions like the following are asked:
How well do you think that we did on this particular dive? What would you recommend that each of us should focus on to further improve our diving skills? What would make each one of us a better diver? Is there any scuba diving piece of information or skill we should study or refresh? Did the action of anyone of us cause concern or stress to the other diver or divers? Did we all follow the scuba diving safety recommendations in full?
No one should underestimate the power of feedback in improving himself or herself in every facet of life. That is especially true in scuba diving which, without the proper training, skills and knowledge, has proven to be a highly dangerous sport. Divers who do not accept feedback, primarily due to overconfidence or immaturity, waste a great opportunity to take the corrective action that would make them better and safer divers. But as we all know, feedback is what you make of it.
Having thought of all these, I believe that one of the most important features of a good diving instructor should be his or her eagerness and enthusiasm to produce not only skilled, confident and well-educated divers, but divers who love to learn more about scuba and never stop improving their scuba diving knowledge, skills, behaviour and safety.
So join me in embracing the post-dive debriefings and you might get to be rewarded with scuba diving lessons for life! – xoxo