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As you may have figured out, Scuba Diving is an extremely rewarding and captivating sport. As you should have learned in your PADI dive course the equipment used for diving is specially designed for specific tasks and if this equipment is improperly used or cared for, fatal accidents may occur.

*Be sure to pay attention to the Bold & Italicized Safety Warnings


Scuba-Diving is inherently dangerous and injury may occur at any time. Proper equipment and safety precautions must be taken to minimize injury. All Safety precautions may be found in the PADI Open Water Dive Manual.

This document is for the use of certified scuba divers only!If You Are Not PADI Open Water Certified Do Not Use This Set of Instructions. To become PADI certified you may go to their website here or contact your local scuba dive shop.

Scuba Diving is a sport that everyone wants to jump right into the water and many little steps may be overlooked by beginners or “rusty” divers. This check sheet and safety procedures are to help these divers be prepared with the proper equipment, and have proper dive safety precautions to ensure a fun safe dive. This set of instructables will only cover safety until the diver gets into the water. Other underwater safety guidelines may be found in your PADI Open Water Dive Manual.

This document is separated into two major parts, one Pre-Launch section which will cover the equipment checks to ensure that enough properly working equipment is on the boat before setting out to the open water. Part two will be the Pre-Dive Section which will cover the steps taken to setup the equipment, put on your gear and get into the water safely with a proper dive plan.


Important terminology

BCD– Bouyancy Control Device

Regulator– Underwater breathing apparatus

SMB – Surface Marker Bouy, commonly referred to as a Safety Sausage

RDP– Recreational Dive Planner. Limits the amount of underwater time on consecutive dives

Safety Stop – a stop at a depth of 15 to 20 feet for 3 to 5 minutes to allow for denitrification of the blood. This is mandatory at depths greater than 100’ or when approaching a no decompression limit found on the RDP


Pre-Launch Equipment Checklist

Note:All gear should receive yearly maintenance and cleaning by a certified dive shop. This will ensure that your gear is working efficiently assuming the gear is properly taken care of after the maintenance. Proper gear care may be found in the PADI Open Water Manual, or you can ask any PADI certified dive shop.

* optional, yet should be heavily considered depending on location (i.e. you may not need a wetsuit in warm water, but may want one if stinging jellyfish may be present.)

Enough Dive tanks must be taken for each individual for each dive.All other gear may be shared as dive groups take turns assuming the gear properly fits.

[ ] Fins

[ ] Mask

[ ] BCD

[ ] Regulator

[ ] Full Air Tank

[ ] SMB and reel

[ ] Compass

[ ] *RDP – for consecutive dive times

[ ] *Dive Knife

[ ] *Wetsuit – Used for warmth and Protection from stings and abrasions

[ ] *Snorkel – most often used to navigate at the surface without using air from your tank

[ ] *Dive Boots – Helps hold fin straps at the heel. Helps with warmth as well

[ ] *Gloves – protection from abrasion and stings, helps with warmth as well

Note:Dive Tanks must be visually inspected annually, and be hydrostatically tested every five years to ensure proper functions. This information may be found in the form of a sticker on the tank with the dates of inspection.

Note:Be sure to secure the dive tanks in the vessel so they will not shake around. These tanks are under very high pressure.


* There is a downloadable copy of this Pre-Launch checklist below for interactive use

Step 1: Secure Dive Tank to the BCD


The contours in the BCD should match the contours of the tank to avoid hitting your head while underwater

The Clamp is very stiff, be sure to keep hand open and fingers away


  • Adjust the velcro strap until the clamp shows resistance when closing

You will know the tank is on tight enough if you can pick up the tank by lifting the BCD with little tank movement.

Step 2: Attach the Regulator to the Tank

  • The regulator's tightening knob should be away from the BCD

Step 3: Secure the Regulator Hose to the BCD

  • To attach the hose pull back the slide piece, insert male end and release the slide piece

Step 4: Turn on the Air Tank With the Pressure Gauge Facing Away From Your Body

Pressure gauges have been known to explode under the high pressure fluctuation, this is why we face it away from us.


  • The Proper way to turn on the air tank is to twist the knob all the way then back a quarter turn.

Listen for leaks or blowouts. A leak means that you may have a loose connection. A blowout means you need to replace the tanks O-ring.

If you do not hear a Leak or Blowout you are good to go!

Step 5: Make Sure There Is Enough Air in the Tank for Your Dive

  • 3000psi + is a full tank

You may dive with less than a full tank This will shorten your dive time

Step 6: Take TWO “sip’s” of Air From Your Regulator Making Sure the Air Is ON

This ensure’s you your tank is on and that the air you are provided is clean

Step 7: Suit Up Into the Rest of Your Gear. (wetsuit, Fins, Mask, Etc.)

Step 8: Communicate Your Dive Plans Using the Dive Plan Below

    Be sure to communicate the dive plans to the Captain And Divers

    Step 9: Put the BCD and Tank on

      Be sure to secure the chest buckle, cumber bun, and stomach buckle

      Step 10: Enter the Water (Option 1)

      The giant step is the safest and most often used method of entering the water

      The Giant Step

      1. Approach the Dive Platform of the boat
      2. Place the Primary air source in your mouth
      3. Take Two more sips of air
      4. Hold all dangling equipment close to your body to avoid snags
      5. Hold your regulator in your mouth and your mask on your head
      6. Look towards the horizon
      7. Take a Giant Step Forward Into the Water
      8. Give the O.K. Sign or pound your fist twice on your head if you are ok and ready to dive

      Masks have been known to shatter on direct impact. This is why you should look to the horizon.

      Step 11: Enter the Water (Option 2)

      The BackDrop

      1. Sit up on the gunnel on the side of the boat
      2. Place the Primary air source in your mouth
      3. Take Two more sips of air
      4. Hold all loose equipment close
      5. Hold your regulator in your mouth and your mask on your face
      6. Fall Backwards Into the Water
      7. Give the O.K. Sign or pound your fist twice on your head if you are ok and ready to dive
      <p>As a PADI Divemaster I must say that you discussed Pre-dive safety check in depth (pun intended) :) The only think that I may suggest is when you are doing your giant stride, look out towards the horizon. In very rare cases I've heard of older mask lenses shattering when the diver was looking directly at the water while getting in. </p><p>How long have you been diving? </p>
      <p>I have been diving for 7 years, earned my open water at 15, and earned my advanced about a year and a half ago. </p><p>I have heard to look at the horizon before yet did not know why. I did this as a class project for technical writing that is due at midnight so I really do appreciate this!</p>

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