Diving during Covid – Tips on how to keep safe
We all miss the ocean and blowing bubbles underwater. Covid 19 has affected everyone throughout the world. It is a debated choice about whether it is safe to travel during covid or wait for restrictions to ease. Some would argue that the safest place to be is scuba diving. Underwater you can be socially distanced and breathe from your own private air tank.
Personal ways to stay safe diving during Covid
You can choose a dive centre closer to home or travel to new destinations. That is your own choice to make and to weigh up the risks. Either way, you need to keep safe whilst you travel. We have a few tips for you and some procedures that dive shops are taking to ensure your safety.
Get your own Scuba Diving Equipment
Getting your own gear is the best way to become more comfortable with your diving. You will gain positive experiences as you are more familiar with the equipment you own. Dive equipment can be expensive so you may not be able to buy everything at once. First, start with the essentials, a mask, snorkel, and a regulator mouthpiece.
As Covid is likely to be around for some time, these items alone will give you some peace of mind. They are the closest things you put to your face and mouth and are also very easy to travel with. When you are defogging your mask be sure to use a specialised defog or some soap. Refrain from using your saliva to prevent contamination. Having your own mouthpiece to attach to rented regulators will keep it more sanitary for you. The bonus is you can take it with you to the next destination.
Choose a dive center with Covid safe procedures
Your safety is paramount, so you must choose a dive center that has your best interests at heart. It has been a difficult year for all dive shops, yet, for this industry to survive safety has to be number one. Find a list of our affiliated dive partners on our website. Ask the dive centers some key questions. Find a list of questions to ask in our Instagram bio.
Wear a mask
When you’re not underwater you should wear a mask to protect yourself and those around you. Stay socially distanced from those, not within your travel bubble. When in close proximity to others, use your regulator to reduce transmission. You will draw the air from your tank cylinder. This reduces the transmission of airborne particles whilst waiting to enter the water.
Bring a reusable water bottle with you on your travels. This is good for the environment as you are reducing the use of single-use plastic. You will reduce your worries and anxieties. Thinking about who else is drinking from the same bottle is a worry you don’t want. This keeps your mind clear for thinking about the dives you’re about to go on.
How the dive centers can keep you safe
Dive centers have an increased cleaning schedule to cover high traffic areas. Regularly sanitised areas include tables, door handles, light switches, and hand railings. Hand sanitiser will be available throughout your stay. Note that some operators require you to bring your own hand sanitiser for boat travel.
Each customer can have a separate rinse bucket for their equipment. Customers should rinse and disinfect their own equipment to avoid cross-contamination from others. Cleaning your equipment is a service that is often included. However, in COVID times it’s safer to clean equipment yourself. Storage of each customer’s equipment should be separate from the main equipment store. For the duration of your trip, you would use the same equipment until you have completed all your dives. Complete your buddy checks verbally rather than physically. You need to reduce contact with others using your equipment.
Many operators have reduced capacity onboard day boats and liveaboards. This is to adhere to social distancing policies. Checking your temperature before each diving day has become a familiar procedure. If you were to begin to feel unwell, the dive operators would have a procedure for you. You may need to quarantine and visit a health facility.
For full information on COVID 19 policies, visit our dive partner websites. Each dive centre’s procedure may differ slightly.
If you have chosen to wait it out a little longer until things seem a little clearer, then Bundle is here for you. When the world opens its borders and lifts restrictions, everyone will be looking to get away. Wanting to travel and return to the ocean they have so dearly missed. Bundle offers you the option to book a trip now with your chosen dive partners, yet travel when it would be safe to do so.
Buying dive bonds gives you great value dive holidays by booking ahead of time. You have a total of two years to redeem your bonds after their maturity date. That’s the flexibility you need at a time like this. To book your next dive holiday visit our website for our participating partners. To stay connected, refer to our social media pages Instagram and Facebook. Hope to see you all diving soon. Happy bubbles.
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Written by Sarah Ashton
For the latest issue of Scuba Diver magazine click here Scuba Diver ANZ issue 30