Scuba diving is an exciting opportunity to explore the natural world in unforgettable locations. Without proper safety gear and safe diving practices, this fun hobby can quickly become dangerous. Why do scuba divers dive backward? Learn why and where you can learn more about safe diving tips. At A-1 Scuba, we offer training and dive gear for individuals with all levels of diving experience.
Why Do Scuba Divers Dive Backwards?
Safety is always paramount whenever you take part in diving activities. Diving safely means having a well-thought-out dive plan. And sticking to it. Clearly displaying a diver down flag is also essential. This indicates to passing boats that you’re diving in the area.
The boat you’re diving from should be stable. Suitable for sea conditions. And not overloaded. And you should be aware of how to safely enter the water. Why do scuba divers dive backwards? Read on…
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Understanding the Backward Roll; What Is It?
The backward roll is a specific technique used to enter the water with all your scuba gear on. While it seems easy, it can take some practice to fully domain this method. First, be sure all your gear is secure and ready for a dive.
Next, you’ll place your right hand on your regulator and use your fingers to stabilize your mask. Your left hand typically holds loose hoses at your side. Tuck your chin towards your chest and fall back into the water.
Reasons for This Different Dive Style
Scuba divers dive backwards from a large dive boat with one hand on the face mask. And the other hand on the weight belt. On smaller boats holding four to six divers, you can hold your mask onto your face and back roll into the water.
Jumping into the water feet first would cause your fins to hit the water. This could damage your fins. And could injure you. If you dive in headfirst your mask could shatter or slip off. Your tank valve could hit you on the back of your head. And any discomfort can bring on a feeling of panic.
When you’re facing away from the water, you’ll have better control over your equipment. And be able to keep a hold on your facemask preventing it from filling with water or losing it altogether. The tank on your back breaks the tension of the water and you’ll dive in more smoothly.
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Diving Backwards Keeps Equipment In Check
When you prepare for entry (see the steps below) it’s important to position your gauges and regulators properly. If you were to dive forward, the force of the impact might knock loose this and other equipment.
By diving backwards, assuming you do it correctly, you ensure that you don’t enter the water without equipment.
Diving Backwards Is Easy On The Body
When prepping for a scuba dive, you’ll be surprised how much the equipment weighs.
Another benefit to falling backwards is that you’re using your tank to make the first impact into the water, easing entry. If you dive in forwards, the tank would be an additional weight pushing into the water.
If you’ve ever done a belly flop, you’ll know that water can be pretty unforgiving, even if you are falling a few feet. So, imagine the impact with additional weight on your back.
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The Backward Roll Helps Keep Boats Stable
As mentioned, backward roll entry is used on smaller vessels. While these boats may have a low center of gravity, a few divers standing on the gunwale will shake things up on board.
By entering the water with a backwards fall, you minimize this rocking motion for everyone else on board.
So now that you’re (hopefully) convinced about the technique, let’s go into the steps required to perform the perfect backwards scuba roll.
How To Ace Your Backwards Dive Off A Boat
To dive backwards professionally follow these steps:
- Assume the starting seated position.
- Before taking a seat, make sure that you have put on all your gear.
- Sit on the edge of the vessel and face inwards.
- Cross your ankles. This will help keep your legs together when entering the water.
- Now it’s time to check your equipment is in order. Make sure that all gauges and hoses are securely fastened, especially around the chest area. Bite onto your regulator and inflate your BCD (Buoyancy Compensation Device) halfway, so you have positive buoyancy.
- Use the palm of your right hand to ensure your regulator is in place. Use the fingertips on the same hand to also secure your mask to your face.
- Using your left hand, make sure the mask’s strap is secure at the back of your head. This also ensures that the mask doesn’t come off and you don’t bump your head on the tank cylinder’s valve.
- Before launching into the water, make sure that the water behind you is clear of natural dangers and other divers. If you are in a large group and miss the count, you will need to wait for the others to swim out of harm’s way.
- And when you are ready, or on the captain’s count, put your chin on your chest and fall backwards into the water.
Before diving off to explore, you must resurface to inform the captain that you’re OK. Also, be a good friend and wait for your buddies, only then you can descend.