A diver can experience difficulties on the surface as well as under the water. In fact, the data collected by various organizations concerned with this type of issue indicates that surface issues lead to more dive accidents than those at depth. Therefore, it is important to consider some of the most common surface problems that a diver may have to deal with. Here are some common problems that you may encounter:
- Muscle cramps
- Choking on inhaled water
- Not establishing positive buoyancy
- Coughing and seasickness
When you are on the surface, whether you are comfortable or having a problem, establish positive buoyancy that is sufficient to keep your airways above the surface. Always inflate your buoyancy control device (BCD). If needed and especially when in distress, discard your weights. Many, serious incidents could have been avoided had the divers involved simply let their ballast weights go. So, if needed, drop the belt, get buoyant, and relax.
Do not try to tread water or swim once you have established positive buoyancy. This will exhaust you fast and is uncalled for. Let your BCD do the work. Relax and wait for assistance. You can prevent or control most diving problems that may occur at the surface by first establishing positive buoyancy. On the surface, be positively buoyancy and chill.