Be Wary of Overhead Dangers

Divers sometimes face a variety of overhead dangers depending on the type of scuba diving they do.

When cavern diving overhead obstacles are part of the diving experience. And cave divers train so they have knowledge about how to dive safely with no access to air above them.

I once dove Devil’s Den in Florida. On that visit I got a small feel for what cavern divers must keep aware of every moment they enjoy their favorite sport.

The main area of the den has open cavern above the water, but tunnels branch off that main area. Gates block entry to the deeper tunnels because inexperienced diving into them threatens the life of the diver. Other tunnels are short, and open to exploration if you’d rather do that than read HSI flat iron reviews.

While diving there I explored a few of those short caves. In one I surfaced to an air space with just enough room for my head between the water and the overhead rock. In the others water met the rock above, with no air pocket to surface into.

Wreck divers also know the dangers of overhead hazards when they dive inside a sunken boat or ship.

In the case of small boats the danger is minimal. Many of our dive quarries in the Midwest have sunken cars, cabin cruisers and sailing yachts that permit our entry inside. These boats offer ready exit back outside the boat, and unless the diver tangles, or snags, his gear he encounters no problems touring inside the wreck.

Larger ships are different. You face long distances between exit points when diving the large spaces, and lower decks. The deeper you dive into bigger vessels the higher the threat because you take much longer getting back to open water.

But what about scuba diving in open water? No overhead environment but open air to surface to, at least for the most part.

In the quarries the condition of no overhead is mostly true. Unless you enter into one of those sunken vehicles, or fin into a small cavity in the rock, where you do find obstacles overhead.

But in the ocean, and especially in lakes, you always have a possibility of boats and ships cruising above you.

To protect themselves from overhead vessels divers display dive flags, and diver down floats to warn that people are underwater.

Flags and floats normally protect the divers in the ocean. They dive at designated dive sites; most boaters recognize the dive symbol on the flags and floats, and steer well clear of the area where they see diving activity in progress.

That isn’t always the case in recreational lakes.

I often dive a private lake in Indiana. The people who live around the lake own it. A committee of owners governs the property. That committee maintains rules (voted on by the owner’s association), and enforces those rules.

One rule is that diver’s tow diver down floats when diving in the lake. Each dive buddy team must tow at least one float.

The boaters of this lake know the rules, and recognize a dive float when they see one. When they spot a diver down float on the lake they steer cautiously around the area.

On other of the state’s recreational lakes conditions are much different. Many boaters have absolutely no idea what that red balloon floating on the water is all about – they are often busy looking on their phone for an MM-B80 review. I sometimes see boaters who apparently think those floats are racing pylons, and they see how close, and how fast, they can race around the float.

In those situations a diver who surfaces a few feet away from the float faces the threat of serious injury, or death.

Don’t take for granted that diver down float gives you all the protection you need.

Be aware of where you’re diving, along with the boater’s attitudes and knowledge, on that body of water.

When you’re scuba diving, safety for your life is your responsibility.