It’s drummed into us at every stage (for good reason) that we should always dive with a buddy. It makes perfect sense! You both have someone you can rely on in an emergency where you might need their air supply, become entangled or just need someone to stop you finning off with the mermaids if you get ‘narked’.
There is no getting away from the fact that solo diving happens and on a regular basis. Perhaps the first time wasn’t intentional, perhaps a buddy pair had previously agreed to continue the dive if they were split up. There are many books on the subject of solo diving and self sufficiency and I personally believe every diver should be self sufficient to help reduce potential risks but solo diving is BAD! Or is it?…..
I’m certainly not going to encourage anyone to do it but there is no doubt that solo diving has its uses and that’s the key thing, you should have a valid reason to do it. We don’t dive deep just for the fun of it, we dive deeper for something like a wreck. It’s the same with solo diving. The point of this article isn’t to say that divers shouldn’t do it or that you should try it, it’s to try and make divers aware of the risks involved with making a potentially dangerous sport even more dangerous. Bottom line, if you get yourself into a situation there is no one to help get you out of it, there is only you. Therefore it is imperative that a solo diver is prepared, not only with the correct equipment but also in the right mental state. Confidence and competence are very important, a diver can have every recreational training qualification under the sun but if the diver lacks real world experience and competence then he / she is likely to come unstuck just at the wrong time. Confidence is a tricky thing as well, confidence in your own abilities needs be well founded. If you find yourself asking someone whether they think you are ready to dive solo is probably a good indicator that you’re not. Anyone thinking about solo diving needs to understand their own reasons for doing so, doing it for an ego boost or an ‘I’m better than thou’ status is NOT a good reason. Some points to consider before jumping into the water on your lonesome:
There are certain things that you can’t do for yourself that your buddy can provide help with including entanglement, first aid or CPR and getting professional help and assistance. At the end of the day you have to weigh up the pros and cons of solo diving yourself and decide whether the benefits of having a buddy outweighs the advantage of solo diving.