deep stop scuba - victor
Deep Stop Scuba, Why Is It So Controversial?
diving makers
Diving Markers, How Do We Use a Divers Buoy Properly?
Show all

Buddy Check: How to Do a Proper Scuba BWRAF?

buddy check - CPTAO

The best rescues are those which do not need to be done. For this reason, the buddy check is vital in scuba diving.

NO, when we talk about buddy checks, we do not suggest asking your buddy if he or she is okay. We are talking about the Scuba BWRAF of the PADI dive check, the ABCD of the SDI pre-dive checklist, or whatever the scuba acronym used by your certifying agency is.

We are talking about the diving check, The technique we were all taught in the Open Water Diver Course, and we all forgot the first.

In this article, we remind you about it so that you will never forget it again. Take a look at the table of contents.

buddy check - 5 - CPTAO

1. What Is Buddy Check?

The scuba buddy check procedure is performed just before a dive to check that your buddy’s scuba gear is set up perfectly and works OK.

Have you ever written a text and, when you read it, the typos have gone unnoticed?

The same thing happens in diving. This is because the brain does not analyze but instead mixes images with expectations. This example explains very well why we need the Buddy Check.

According to some research, a buddy checker discovers mistakes you could not see.

This is because the buddy checker looks for faults. In other words, your buddy checker assumes that there is an unidentified problem, and his mission is to find it. On the contrary, when you check your own gear, you do it to prove you have done it properly.



2. Pre-Dive Checklist: Goal and Effectiveness

Most of the SCUBA problems during a dive already existed on the surface, but we did not discover them in time, and we took them to the water. When the failure shows its face, we act as if it were an unpredictable emergency, but the truth is that we could have avoided it just by following the pre-dive checklist.

Therefore, the main objective of the scuba buddy check is to reduce the risk to divers. Following a pre-dive checklist is effective because it doesn’t allow us to skip a single procedural step.

3. How Do I Do a Safety Buddy Check?

The most well-known pre-dive check list is the PADI dive check which is summed up in the diving acronym BWRAF. Although there are many others, they all focus on covering 4 key points.

  1. Check that the gas supply is correct and the breathing apparatus works well.
  2. Check the condition of the buoyancy device and ballast.
  3. Safety of harnesses and buckles and checking that everything is connected.
  4. A final check, covering all equipment including mask, dive computer, knife, etc.
buddy check - 2 - CPTAO

4. How Do You Remember BWRAF Scuba?


It is the most used mnemonic rule to remember BWRAF, but personally, I prefer Breathing Water Really Ain’t Fun

Each Scuba BWRAF letter refers to a part of the equipment your buddy checks

B – BCD/Buoyancy: 

The check of the BCD involves checking that it inflates and deflates optimally. In addition, your buddy checks there are no leaks in the BCD, the oral inflation hose, or the one connected to the cylinder.

W – Weight: 

It’s time to check your weight belts or weight pockets, whatever you’re using. Your buddy checker will verify that they are in place and are sufficient to counteract the positive buoyancy of the wetsuit and other equipment.

R – Releases: 

This point checks that all dive gear parts are correctly connected, secured, accessible, and can be removed if necessary: from the weight belt to the air tank via the BCD shoulder and chest straps.

Your buddy’s check will also verify that no crushed or loose hose cannot perform its function or damage the environment during the dive.

A – Air: 

Among other things, your partner will check if your cylinder has air and then if you can breathe. Your buddy will check the cylinder pressure controls are working and are accessible, that the assembly is OK, the valve is open, and you can breathe on the surface without a problem. Your dive buddy will also check that the emergency regulator is secured and in its place.

F – Final Check:

Zips closed, sleeve and neck seal fastened, mask, snorkel, fins, and of course, the dive computer verifications. Your buddy checker should verify that the dive computer is turned on and working in dive mode.

buddy check - 3 - CPTAO

5. Other Scuba Acronyms to Remember the Scuba Buddy Check Steps

There are other diving acronyms. The one for SDI is ABCDE. Impossible to forget for English speakers.

Air/ Buoyancy control device/ Computer/ Dive gear/ Enter to the water

British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) uses the acronym BAR

Buoyancy/ Air/ Releases

SEABAG is the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) acronym

S – Site: If the chosen site is acceptably for diving

E – Emergencies. Checking emergency procedures

A – Activities: any special risks or concerns

B – Buoyancy: buddy checks buoyancy control devices

A – Air: air aspects checking

G – Gear: other gear is checked.


If you have any questions and need more information about the CPTAO acronym, contact us and we will help you.