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Making a good water entry is an important skill that every diver should know. In fact, it is very usual. However, you can still see videos on the internet where giant strides are a real disaster. So this does not happen to you, in this post, we go over the required steps to accomplish a perfect giant stride in line with the PADI guidelines, and we’ll explain why each one of them is necessary. Let’s see it!
How To Make A Perfect Giant Stride?
Whether you are entering the water from a dive boat, a dock, or any other type of platform, knowing how to make a giant stride correctly will help you safely start your dive. To do so, scrupulously follow the instructions of the ship’s crew. They will tell you where the entry point you will be using is (stern or side door) and help you to keep your balance in case you need it. Let’s consider these 11 steps in detail and why you should not skip any of them.
Step 1: Partially inflate BCD.
At the moment you get ready to make your giant stride, you already have all your diving gear on, including weights and tank. Therefore, if your BCD is empty and you drop into the water, you will not be able to stay afloat. Then, why not inflate it completely? You might ask. A fully inflated BCD could hurt you when it crashes against the water.
Step 2: Approach the entry point (fins over edge).
Before you make your giant stride, remember that entry points vary from boat to boat. Not all platforms are at the same height, some may be as high as 6.5 feet / 2 meters, while others are level with the water.
Sometimes there are no handrails or grab bars to keep your balance. So, listen carefully to the crew’s instructions.
You must make your giant stride with your fins on. Depending on the policy on board, on some boats you will have to carry them to the point of entry. On others, you will have to walk there with your fins on.
To avoid discomfort, at Dressel Divers we have a benches for divers. Those who are closer to the entrance platform are the first to make their giant stride, the rest advance positions still sitting and sliding along on the bench.
Touch the edge of the entry platform with your toe tips. That way, the fins will be over the water and not twisted when you step forward. So, you will not trip over them.
Step 3: Scan area below.
As we said in the article “The Do’s And Don’ts On A Dive Boat“, a giant stride from the dive boat is a key moment. To do this safely, check that there is nobody just under you in the water. Watch the bubbles, in case any of the divers already in the water have submerged. If you see any, delay your entry until the area is clear. Above all, follow the crew’s instructions, and when the sailor who is helping you says “Go!” Take the step.
Step 4: Place regulator in mouth (take a breath).
Another important step before your giant stride is to check out that your gear works properly, your air tank is open, and you can breathe easily.
During your buddy check, stand up and ask him to give your cylinder a firm tug to make sure it is secure. Never assume that the crew has opened your bottle, check it by breathing from your primary regulator while looking at its pressure gauge.
Step 5: Hold the console in left hand (place over waist).
Assure all the parts of your diving equipment before making your giant stride. So, they will neither hurt you or stop working when they hit the water.
We must take special care with the diving console, as it is hanging from the gear.
Step 6: Place right palm on regulator (and fingers on mask).
To prevent the regulator from coming out of the mouth or losing the mask, hold them firmly with your right hand before your giant stride.
Step 7: Look forward (not down).
If you look down, your face will hit the water directly. This can be very painful, so don’t do it.
Step 8: Step out and push off (do not jump)
In order to execute your giant stride safely, it is especially important not to build up any momentum. Just take a step forward big enough to make sure that the bottle doesn’t touch the edges of the platform. This way, you will get your body into the water vertically.
Step 9: Establish positive buoyancy.
Even though you started your giant stride lifting your foot with your fin pointed upwards, you should finish it closing legs before entering the water. This way, you will get your body into the water vertically. Since your BCD is partially inflated, you will ascend in a short time. If you did not inflate it enough, you can add the air you need to have positive buoyancy.
Step 10: Signal okay.
Everyone will be watching you until you indicate that you are well, signal if you are, or ask for help if you have a problem.
Step 11: Clear the area.
Unless you are the last one on the boat to enter into the water, another diver will have to make his/her giant stride after you. So, the sooner you move out of the way, the sooner the whole group will be in the water, and the sooner the dive will begin.
Do you have any tips to make your giant stride easier? Share them with us on Facebook.