One of the first things you learn about SCUBA diving is the importance of diving with a buddy at all times. In fact it is not advisable to dive alone (solo diving). The diving buddy diving system, according to which SCUBA divers dive in pairs, is considered to be the most efficient and safe system.
The diving buddies dive together, keep close to each other and co-operate towards meeting their diving goals. For this reason diving buddies are usually of similar or equal diving experience and interest in diving.
Buddies should stay close to each other throughout the dive, so that they can reach each other quickly if a problem arises. Each diving buddy should check on his or her diving buddy at regular intervals throughout the dive. They should be ready to provide assistance to each other in the event of an emergency. Any SCUBA diving certification course requires the divers to practice buddy safety skills. Buddies should practice these skills regularly to make sure both are comfortable with them.
Also, diving buddies are expected to assist each other with the pre-dive equipment check. After both buddies have assembled their own gear, they should carefully inspect each other’s gear and check to see that it has been assembled properly. This also helps both to familiarise themselves with their buddy’s gear, since they need to be prepared to use it if an emergency arises.
Lastly, a dive plan should be made and agreed by the diving buddies before the dive, including the maximum depth and bottom time limit. This reduces the likelihood that any buddy will feel pressured to dive deeper or longer than he or she is comfortable with.
It is imperative to understand that if one diver has a problem it is also his or her buddy’s problem. The buddy is responsible for his buddy’s safe return to the surface. Therefore, clearly, diving buddies are very important to each other.
Having said all these, it should be noted that the buddy system should by no means be an excuse for divers not to focus energy on improving their own capability of looking after themselves.
Therefore, make sure you choose a reliable and skilled SCUBA diving buddy.
And, of course, become one yourself!