An important part of the learning process (and fun) is dive planning. This is also the first step in becoming a “thinking diver.” Hopefully. you would not consider long-distance travel without accounting how much fuel your car will use, how long your journey will take, and how much money you need for the trip. So, why would you dive without comparable planning?
Dive planning doesn’t take long, especially once you know what you are doing. It will help make sure you get the most fun possible out of your dives. Who knows, it may also save your life one day!
- Before each dive, you will consider the following:
- The no decompression limit (NDL) for the planned depth (maximum allowable dive time)
- The open circuit gas supply limit (minimum remaining air pressure at the end of a dive: 50 bar/750 psi [Note: On pressure gauges, the closest reading you can see is 50 bar/700 psi.])
- Your personal comfort and warmth and your protection from the environment
- To plan your dive, look at each of these items and base the dive plan on the most conservative approach to all the above. Remember:
- The maximum depth for Junior Scuba Diver and Scuba Diver certification is 12 meters/40 feet, for Junior Open Water certification is 15 meters/50 feet, and for Open Water 20 certification is 20 meters/66 feet.
- The maximum recreational diving limit is 40 meters/130 feet.
- After each dive, review (debrief with your buddy or buddies) the facts of the dive. Note your nitrogen tissue loading, the actual depth you reached, and the remaining gas you had when you surfaced. You will use this information to help you plan your next dive. Remember:
- If you are taking the Junior Scuba Diver or Scuba Diver course, you will be certified to dive with a dive professional.
- If you are taking the Junior Open Water and Open Water 20 course, you will be certified to dive with a certified dive buddy.