8 Reasons Why You Should Use a Buddy System
Next to space travel, exploring the ocean is one of man's greatest challenges. Because of the depths and pressures involved, most of the ocean has not been explored, such as diving in Key West. That's why many people are drawn to scuba diving. Using a tank of oxygen and personal swimming strength, scuba divers take to the depths to experience sea animals and plant life that are amazing to see in person. However, the human body is a delicate structure, requiring oxygen at all times to function. The buddy system was formed in the scuba community to keep people safe in numbers underwater. There are three main reasons why using this system is necessary, including safety, increased knowledge and basic shared experiences.
You need to keep your buddy close instead of viewing them from afar. When you are underwater, distances are warped for the human eye. What seems like a short distance is actually 10 feet or more. If you or your buddy is in trouble, immediate assistance is critical. Having to swim for several feet just to get to the distressed person wastes precious breathing time. The buddy may even be tired from the traveling as well, depending on the distance. Staying together keeps both people safe, even when diving in Key West. If you can grab the other person's hand easily and quickly, you are in a perfect buddy position.
Avoiding Dangerous Ascents
People who enjoy Key West scuba diving understand that ascents in even 30-foot depths need to be performed correctly. If your buddy is not nearby, or you dived solo, the potential for an emergency ascent is high. Malfunctions can happen underwater, forcing you to have little or no air. A buddy's help to fix your air issue helps you avoid a rapid ascent. The human body is not built for these underwater pressures. In fact, decompression sickness or even gas embolisms can occur in the body. As a diver ascends at a rapid pace, air bubbles become trapped in soft tissues. Trauma and body damage results with the decompression, along with possible stroke or heart attack-like symptoms. Quick-thinking buddies keep you calm and ready to ascend correctly.
Lungs Are Practically Empty
There is no warning when a tank suddenly doesn't have any air. You may have been breathing normally until you exhale completely and find no air in return. A buddy is crucial at this time because the distressed diver has almost no air to breathe. Although the human body keeps some air volume in the lungs as reserves, there is little time between exhaling and involuntary inhaling. A close buddy can see the issue immediately and possibly fix the regulator. It may be a simple adjustment or alteration to bring air back to the diver. A buddy that has to swim far, and then solve the air issue, is putting the distressed diver's life at risk.
Assuming that the buddy is close to possibly fix the other diver's air issue, the two can share one diver's air supply in the meantime. However, two people on one tank will deplete the oxygen quickly. At this point, both divers should ascend normally and fix the problem on land. Without a close buddy, sharing is not an option. This simple sharing solution saves lives everyday. Both divers can safely move to the surface without any major problems.
Extreme Underwater Issues
Although uncommon in even Key West scuba diving, there is the possibility of being trapped underwater. Fishing line or nets can easily trap a diver. With the buddy system, your friend can cut you out of the trap, freeing you to ascend. Solo divers run the risk of drowning if they cannot cut themselves from line or nets. There may even be an ocean animal issue. Although rare, aggressive sharks or sea lions, for example, can take interest in one diver. The other diver can try and distract the animal as both divers find a way out of their situation.
If one diver is distressed with little oxygen, the brain doesn't function as well as normal. Panic may set in, causing the person to act irrationally. A buddy nearby calms the person and finds a simple solution to the issue. From a quick repair to sharing air, working together keeps both people safe. One diver could feel lost, losing sight of landmarks, for instance. The other diver could have a better grasp on landmarks, helping both divers find their way back to a boat or land.
The Experience Is Best Shared
The ocean is an experience unlike no other. One of the most positive reasons for using the buddy system is sharing the underwater discoveries. The Key West Dive Center offers a unique experience of exploring an underwater wreck. A United States ship, called the Vandenberg, actually sits on the ocean floor. Take a friend and explore this unprecedented location. There are also exquisite reefs to enjoy. Find and name different fish on your excursion, or even discover corals in a rainbow of colors. The buddy system is for safety, but it also encourages bonding and improved relationships.
Learn From An Experienced Diver
Although you may have taken every scuba class imaginable, the human mind is not a perfect place. You may forget key items as you descend into the depths. The best buddy to have when you are new to the experience is a seasoned diver. You can expand on your classes as you understand scuba applications in real-time. This type of education cannot be handed out in a class pamphlet. Your scuba journey allows you to learn "on-the-job," improving your skills and safety level. Once you become the experienced diver, you can take your own beginner on a dive and pass your skills onto them.
The buddy system supports safety, improved skills and enhanced experiences for all divers. Consider your diving habits and take the buddy system seriously. It could save your life the next time you dive. Keep your friends close for an exciting underwater adventure.