Safety matters - Buddy Check reminders

After several weeks of observation, it has come to my attention that some of us are not quite as good as we should be on buddy checks. There is sometimes some confusion as to the order that the checks are done in and there is therefore a risk that bits may be missed out. I don’t want to try and teach your granny how to suck eggs but a timely reminder for some of us who are getting a bet casual would not go amiss (and I include myself in that).  The procedure should be as follows (remember the mnemonic BAR).

1) Buoyancy

CHECK INLET/OUTLET on inflator hose. Demonstrate Oral inflate on flex hose by holding down the purge button and blowing into the mouth piece.  

Check all dump valves on BCD.

Test and demonstrate oral inflation of BCD.

If wearing a dry suit check hose connection, check inlet working, check shoulder dump working.

2) Air

CHECK REGULATOR. Place your regulator in your mouth and breath at least four or five breathes whilst watching for NO fluctuations on your contents gauge.

Your octopus MUST be given to your buddy to check in the same way.  This is important for two reasons: 1) they know it works and 2) it instils confidence / reassurance it will actually work in the unlikely event they ever need it.

If you are carrying a pony or stage cylinder, make sure it works, is it fully charged and is turned on or can be turned on in the water.

Make sure you have enough air for the planned dive.

3) Releases

CHECK RELEASES are in good working order and are connected. Make sure they are visible to your buddy and they know if they are pinch or push. Point to the catch and say pinch or push.

Show how to dump your weights.

Also make them aware of any other items you may have such as weight pouches/pockets, torches, reels etc.

Sometimes on the RIB there is pressure to rush buddy checks and get into the water.  Proper buddy checks are an essential part of the dive and must not be rushed. But if you are familiar with doing the checks you will find they naturally run more smoothly.

With a little practice we should be able to do buddy checks without speaking. This is what BSAC advocate because as they say at times on a noisy boat with your hood on you may not be able to hear your buddy, so on our next outings I would like us to start practicing doing buddy checks without speaking please.

Mark Hammond (Diving Officer)