So you're looking for your next step into the awesome world of scuba diving, you're CPR and First Aid trained so the next step seems to be an obvious one, become a Rescue Diver. Wanting to become a rescue diver can be the start down the road to becoming a professional diver or just a more effective diver in your team as you learn how to prevent and help many incidents in and out of the water.
So if you’ve been thinking about becoming a more elite diver then let's talk about a few tips on How to Be a Rescue Diver
If you can't save your own skin then how are you going to save others? Being a rescue diver is all about being calm and aware of your surroundings. The first rule of any rescue is to first ask if you even need to get into the water, you have to understand your limitations and this isn’t a Hollywood movie. If you jump in without thinking then the next rescuer has to rescue two people now, so think twice and assess how to approach the situation first. The most important person you need to focus on keeping alive, is you.
The best way to help in an incident is to prevent it. When you first learn to dive your bubble of awareness is really small and only includes yourself. As you progress and get more dives under your belt your bubble expands to include your buddy and the environment around you. As a Rescue diver, your bubble needs to expand further to include the boat, the dive site, everybody around you and even the weather. Rescue divers should always be looking around at small signs and details that could eventually lead to a problem and confront them beforehand.
If you see a small problem about to become a big problem you need the confidence and the diplomacy to prevent it, but don’t just jump in all guns blazing. Consider it’s another person you’re about to interrupt so do it gently but firmly. If it’s on the surface and you can talk then this can be both easier and harder. Don’t be obnoxious and call someone out, just ask if that bolt needs tightening or look for signs of apprehension before a dive and be big enough to call a dive off if something doesn’t feel right and encourage others to skip a dive if they don’t feel right instead of jumping in because everybody else is.
If you’re freaking out in an incident then everybody else will freak out and bad things happen. You need to be calm and confident in everything you do. You can joke around and have fun on the boat as this puts everybody at ease but when it comes down to it you need to chill and delegate. Talk confidently and quietly, no need to shout unless you need to get somebody's attention. At rescue diver you need to be proficient enough not to panic in the water if somebody knocks your mask off or pulls your reg out, just chill, you know how to put it back on and you need to stay level headed.
You need to be the prepared one of the group. Remember when you were doing your initial course and your Instructor had every bit of equipment needed or a way around something? That's because one; they’ve probably come across this before, and two; we’re taught to always ask ourselves "what if"? "What if" is a great question you need to start asking yourself all the time. What if one of my hoses fails when kitting up? What if my mask gets knocked off? You need to start accumulating spares and tools to fix problems that might occur.