There are many preparations required before you go diving; get gas, pick a dive site, get a buddy, pack your gear, and buy post dive beer – all that important stuff. Today’s post I am focusing on one particular aspect; the buddy check.
Lately I have had the great pleasure of diving with quite a few different divers.
I know what most of you are thinking; “Poor I Are Diver … Wifebuddy has finally seen the light and left him. Although he’s so narcissistic, he practically brought it on himself…”
In fact, this is not the case. I do still possess a Wifebuddy and we continue to dive together on a regular basis, i have simply managed to slip an extra dive in here and there with new buddies I have met over the interweb.
I are having a dive-affair.
|My new buddy's configuration|
To be honest, I think teh arrangement has suited Kerri just fine on those freezing cold, damp, dark evenings when I suggest I may go diving and get the look; “Really. Have a nice time. I presume you have a buddy?”
Anyway, the point being, I have encountered different divers, a lot of different kit, and varying gear configurations.
Wifebuddy and I dive a Hogarthian set up, in a GUE/DIR style configuration.
Our kit, despite being different brands, is pretty much identical. This makes the buddy check a little easier as we are very familiar where everything is and how it works, coupled with the fact I dive with Kerri every week.
The Hog thing works well for us; but i am far from averse to diving with others in different configurations. In a way it is beneficial for me to do just that, as it makes me pay more attention during the buddy check, keeping me on top of the system as a whole.
The buddy check was probably the first thing I learned when I started diving. My very first dive was a try dive in our local swimming pool, and even then I was 'spoon fed' the check system by the instructor.
|Buddy check at my try dive|
Every diver has their own personal buddy check, and as far as I am concerned; if you do one at all that makes you a very cool diver. I thought I would post the check that Wifebuddy and I use, and one that I prefer to go through when diving with new buddies.
I conducted my initial training with PADI, being taught the BWRAF (BCD, Weights, Releases, Air, Final Check) system and I have used it since I started diving.
As my diving progressed the checks evolved slightly, becoming a little more focused, a little faster and increasingly fluent.
TDI course, the instructor modified our buddy check in a few ways, to suit the slight changes in configuration, and added a few extra points.
To date I have found this to be the most effective, easiest to conduct, and most importantly REMEMBER!
It’s basically the BWRAF, but I thought I would run through our exact check, and explain what I do at each point.
I Are Diver Buddy Check
- Air in – press inflator button on corrugated hose
- Air Out – press deflator on corrugated hose
- Dump Valve left hip – locate and pull dump valve
- Dry suit connected – locate and depress inflator valve
- Dump valve fully open – locate shoulder dump and ensure it is fully open
- Weight belt right hand release under my harness – physically tough weight belt ensuring it can be released with my right hand.
- Right hand release – locate waistband buckle and demonstrate where to pull to release harness.
- Knife on left side can be used to cut me out – touch knife.
- In an emergency cut me out, don’t forget to cut bungee round my neck and disconnect drysuit hose – I point to an area of my harness, which when cut, will result in it falling off. I also show where bungee is and point to drysuit hose.
- I have [state amount] bar of [state mix] and my computer is set to [confirm mix] – physically look at gauge and check my computer is set to the mix I have previously analysed.
- Main reg – breathe off primary regulator watching gauge for irregularities.
- Back up – breathe of back up watching gauge for irregularities.
- Smells ok and tastes ok – determined after I breathe off it.
- In an OOG emergency I will donate the reg from my mouth and deploy my long hose – I physically take the primary regulator and uncoil my hog looped long hose demonstrating it isn’t tangled.
- My mask, fins are here – physically locate mask and fins
- I have [additional equipment] here – physically touch reels, smbs, spools, back up mask clipped off or grip pockets to make sure they are full.
- Do I look good? – ask buddy to take a look around me to make sure I’ve nothing weird sticking out, hoses aren’t caught anywhere and that everything looks fabulous.
- LET'S GO DIVING! - jump in!
When doing the check I like to let each diver take it in turn to go through each point.
i.e. I check my buoyancy equipment, then my buddy checks his, I then check my weight belt, my buddy checks his; and so on.
I admit, when reading through it seems a bit excessive, but in practice I can rattle through it rightly. I would like it to be a little faster, but i can't find a way of reducing the check without compromising the effectiveness.
Try it yourself, it just take a bit of getting used to.
The Buddy Check Killer
Personally, I really try and conduct this buddy check EVERY dive. In an ideal world that would be great, but we have all been on the cattle boat, in rough conditions, or we get lazy, or simply forget.
Being rushed is the buddy check killer.
I often feel under pressure when diving from a boat, probably as I don’t do it very often; shore diving is SO much easier to me!
As I sit on a rocking boat with a skipper shouting, “You need to get in right now, we’re going to miss slack water!” – All I care about is getting off the boat and into the water where the goodness is.
This is when I am most likely to rush my checks, or skip a proper check entirely.
It really pisses me off when I do it, I have no excuse. I honestly make a real effort to do the best buddy check I can, as often as I can.
What’s your buddy check? Do you ever skip it? Have I missed anything?