Drift diving essentially is where divers make use of the current allowing it to push them in a particular direction. The genre is becoming popular because it allows divers to cover a greater area while using less air, and in some cases drift diving can be as much fun as an amusement ride.
While drift diving can be very fun, like all dives, a certain amount of risk is added in therefore its a good idea to do a little research prior to the dive.
So here are five tips for those of you who want to give drift diving a go in the near future.
Pin by Derek Keats, text added by us
1. Enter the water prepared
Source: Ratha Grimes
Ensure that you have done your safety checks and that everything is prepared for the dive.
Depending on the strength of the current you may find this very difficult after entering the water so get it right the first time while on the boat. Double check that your air supply is on and working correctly, make sure your flippers are properly attached and make sure your weight belt is set correctly with the correct amount of weights.
Make sure that your buddy is also prepared for the dive and keep an eye on him or her when entering the water and during descent / ascent.
2. Go with the flow
Source: Derek Keats
Relax and go with the current unless otherwise directed by your dive master. Be sure however to keep an eye on your dive buddy and fellow group members for safety reasons. Once you get used to the speed of the current you will begin to get an idea of how fast you will move; use this information to ensure you can avoid bumping into obstructions that move into your path.
If you become disorientated at any point look around you to see which way the fish are facing. Fish, especially smaller ones, will often face into the current when they want to maintain their position. You will also be able to tell by which direction the coral and other underwater scenery is leaning.
3. Carry a Safety Marker Buoy if possible
While not entirely necessary safety marker buoys, otherwise known as a safety sausage, can be very valuable if you happen to loose the rest of your group and ascend much further from the boat than aimed. Team this with a whistle and you’ll make it easy for the boat to find you if you drift to far.
Some dive companies may supply you with one of these but it can be handy to have your own as its not guaranteed. Advanced divers may use one religiously or find it unnecessary but it is a good idea for newer divers as an added safety precaution when diving in currents.
Additionally if you get separated from the group deploy your safety sausage before surfacing to alert any passing boats to watch our for you. If you are able to stay with your group your dive master will likely do this so you wont have to.
4. Stay with the group and alert others to problems quickly
Source: Derek Keats
Try to stay within sight of the group or at the very least your dive buddy during your drift dive. Doing so will enable you to alert other divers if something goes wrong with you or your dive buddy. It also means you are less likely to get lost or to overshoot the exit point.
This doesn’t mean you have to be right next to everyone else, but have other divers in your sight at all times especially in fast moving currents. If you are too far away from the group it will be very difficult for the guide and other divers to see your hand signals or to notice you’re in trouble if things goes wrong.
5. Know when to hold onto something
Source: Silke Baron
If the current is volatile or if you simply need to slow down you may need to grab onto or rest against something. Avoid fighting against the current as this will deplete your air very quickly, instead duck behind a rock or some coral to save energy. Holding on to each other may also help.
If in the unlikely situation of a sudden down current (where the current pushes you deeper) swim horizontally, as these currents are often vertical, or hold onto the wall or something else until the current passes.