No matter how experienced a diver you are, there are several issues that should be taken into consideration before entering the water. These include the following:
1. Never dive alone. Always dive with a buddy or as a group.
2. Always have a Dive Flag clearly visible on the vessel you are diving from.
3. A responsible person should be onboard the vessel at all times. A maximum time limit should be discussed with them so they know when to expect you back - make sure you are either back at the boat or on the surface by that time. Agree what action should be taken if divers are not visible by this time (ie. call VISAR).
4. 1st Aid Kit and Oxygen (if possible) should be on board or readily available.
5. Dive within your own limits and training. (60ft for Novice Divers, do not dive past 130ft)
6. Check currents with a 'drop line' and sea conditions in general before entering the water. Do not dive if conditions are not favorable. This is especially important on the Wreck of the Rhone, as this dive can have very strong currents.
7. Do not dive in areas where there is a lot of boat and dinghy traffic, for example close to dingy docks.
8. Stay close to the vessel if you are unsure of the dive site.
9. Always have your BCD inflated when at the surface - at the beginning and end of dive.
10. Monitor air regularly and always make sure you are at the surface with at least 500psi/50bar left in tank.
For professional advice, equipment rental and Dive instruction contact Blue Water Divers - 284-494 2847 www.bluewaterdiversbvi.com or UBS Dive Centre - 284-494 0024 www.scubabvi.com. Or the BVI Scuba organisation www.bviscuba.org.
For Dive information contact - DAN 1 919 684 8111 www.diversalertnetwork.org. Recompression Chambers are located in St. Thomas USVI - 1 340 776 8311 & Netherlands Antilles, Island of Saba - Marine Park Hyperbaric Facility 800 883 7222 or 1 713 789 1396.
Remember: If you see someone in trouble - tell a Lifeguard, call the Police or call VISAR immediately - Tel: 999/911/767. For Diving accidents - radio VHF Ch 16 for the nearest Commercial Dive Boat/US Coast Guard – State Location and Nature of accident.