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Are you thinking of improving your underwater navigation skills? What a good idea! There are good reasons for you to do so. The most important one is that they help us find the way back home.
Probably, you never went diving without a guide, and that’s fine. However, the more you scuba dive, the more you feel like taking control of your dives. If that is the case, these seven underwater navigation tips will make you feel great. Thanks to them, you will know exactly where you are in de middle of a dive, even if you have never dived there before. Besides, you’ll feel much safer. Are you interested? Keep reading!
1st Underwater Navigation Tip: Learn About The Diving Spot
Learning about the diving spot is, probably, the most obvious of these seven underwater navigation tips. The more you know about the place where you are going to scuba dive, the better.
So, look for someone who has dived there before such as a nearby dive center, local divers, an instructor, etc.
2nd Underwater Navigation Tip: Remember That The Dive Begins On The Surface
Try to get a map and use a compass to get an idea of the direction you’re going to take. So, you will be able to draw a preliminary route.
Natural navigation begins before you jump into the water. Remember where the open sea is, and where the coast is. The light is another great reference, thanks to it, we know where the surface is.
Moreover, if we pay attention to the sun´s position before descending, we will be able to get better navigation results. If you move towards the sun at the beginning of the dive, you should have the sun in your back when you return.
3rd Underwater Navigation Tip: Use The Underwater Environment As A Reference.
To begin with, if you are diving from a boat, using the mooring as a reference will help.
One of the best natural underwater navigation tips we can offer you is to mark a reference line as a way forward. In other words, look at a sandy path or take the edge of the reef as a reference point. Some people focus on a depth contour on the coral walls and explore them at a fixed depth.
Other key reference points are natural and human-made terrain features. Striking rock formations, pinnacles, points that are eye-catching, or stand out from the rest of the background as an anchor, etc., will help you find the correct way back home.
As you go forward, remember to look back. So, you will be able to recognize the way back.
4th Underwater Navigation Tip: Continuously Take Depth References.
Taking depth references is another of the most important underwater navigation tips. Your dive computer will be very useful to this task, especially, at the key spots of the dive.
If you are diving close to the sea-bed, you will know if you are approaching the coast when depth decreases.
However, If the depth indicated by your computer increases, it is a sign that you are going forward to the blue.
5th Underwater Navigation Tip: Estimate The Distances Properly.
The easiest way to do this is to consult your watch. If you know that you need 40 seconds to swim 20 meters/ 65 feet, you can calculate the distance you cover as you go.
Don’t forget to check your tank pressure. If you know your average consumption, you remain at approximately the same depth, and your activity level is constant, your breathing rate will be uniform, and you will be able to calculate the distance concerning your air consumption.
In any case, Following the three-thirds rule is always a good idea. Use 1/3 gas to go, 1/3 to return, and 1/3 as a precaution.
6º Underwater Navigation Tip: Be Very Aware Of The Currents.
Taking into account drifts is another of the most fundamental underwater navigation tips. As you know, going with the flow does not require physical exertion.
However, it is very hard to move against it. Therefore, the first thing you will have to do is to ensure the water current is not too strong. After that, start the dive against it. Use underwater morphology as a defense against the flow, and enjoy the drift diving during the return.
Regarding drift diving, keep in mind the tips we offered you in this article. Drift Diving: 5 Tips To Make The Most Of It.
7th Underwater Navigation Tip: The Compass Is Your Ally, Use It.
As we told you in the article The Importance Of The Compass In Diving, the compass is a fundamental tool for orienting ourselves while diving and returning to our starting point. We use this tool to locate our current situation and follow a course previously set.
If you want to know the parts of a compass, its history, and the factors to take into account when using it correctly, do not miss this post. If on the contrary, you do not know how to use it yet… It’s time for the last of the underwater navigation tips: Take the course to become a PADI Advanced Openwater Diver and choose the specialty Underwater Navigator with Dressel Divers.
During three scuba dives, you’ll practice:
- Methods to estimate distance underwater.
- Compass navigation while making at least five turns.
- Marking or relocating a submerged object or position from the surface.
- Underwater map making.
If after reading these seven underwater navigation tips you have any questions. Contact us!