Diving in the crystal blue waters of Florida can open up an entirely new world. It’s very easy to spend hours diving up and down to take it all in. There is a vast amount of wildlife and ship wrecks to discover, as well as different seasons for wildlife. Grouper and lobster seasons are an amazing time to dive down. You can even find a teaming ecosystem under any bridge with the proper visibility. While taking the underwater paradise in, it’s important to remember some safety and preparation measures to ensure a smooth dive.
By law in Florida if you are actively diving or snorkeling, you must have a diver down flag visible to those who may pass by. The diver down flag can either be on your vessel or floating in the water with a buoy. If the flag is in the vessel, it must be 20×24 inches in size, and displayed on the highest point of the vessel. If the flag is floating on a buoy in the water, it must be 12×12 inches in size.
Being aware of your surroundings is essential. There are various amounts of wildlife that have the ability to harm you. It’s highly suggested to learn which type of fish and coral can harm you if you’re unfamiliar with the region you’re diving in. For Florida, always look out for fire coral and lionfish, they are unpleasant. If you are ever in a situation of harm, do your best not to panic.
Check Your Gear
Taking an inventory of your gear before setting out will help avoid unnecessary surprises when getting ready to jump in the water. Salt water can deteriorate just about anything, so if you haven’t taken your gear out in a while be sure to check for rust or extreme wear. Making sure all your gear still fits comfortably is always recommended. You wouldn’t want to waste any magical moment being frustrated at uncomfort. For scuba divers, checking your gear is an absolute must. The common phases are preparing the equipment, assembling your gear, and checking your dive buddy.
Use the Buddy System
Just like anything on the water, having a buddy is an essential safety measure. Always have a buddy when diving, never dive alone. While in the water, always stay in each other’s site. If an unfortunate event happens, you will have someone there to assure you get to safety and vice versa.
Plan Your Dive
There are many factors when it comes to the ocean. Planning your dive ahead of time will help with preparation of necessary gear and outcome of the dive. Checking the tides, currents, weather, and of course visibility.
Take a Break
If you’re free diving or snorkeling, taking a break is necessary. You are exerting a lot of energy swimming around and holding your breath. Making a point to take a break and build your energy back up can make all the difference.
If diving is something you’re interested in and haven’t experienced much before, a safe way to participate at first would be to sign up for a diving tour with experienced divers. You will receive some great exposure to the basics and can ask curious questions to your instructors. There are many diving safety and certification courses you can take as well. There is so much to learn about diving, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing the surreal feeling of exploring underwater. Be prepared, and stay safe!