Buddy check

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SlugLife

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We all know since OW that Buddy check should be mandatory
I would never tell another diver to NOT do a buddy check. However, I'd rate "mandatory buddy-check" under the same category as "never dive without a buddy." They're "training wheels," but not bad ones to have or keep.

Let me put it another way: Lets say you skipped any two steps in your initial gear-check and jumped in the water. What would kill you? Forgot fins, computer, air-off, BCD deflated, etc? For me the answer is (under nearly-all circumstances) nothing would kill me. The consequence of everything I can imagine would be fixing it in the water, or an annoying trip back up the dive-ladder to fix the problem.

"What if you had air-off, BCD deflated?" I'm always breathing from my reg as I jump in, but lets pretend that happens. I'd swim to the surface, back to the boat/shore/dock, and fix the issue. Being properly weighted means with a relatively full breath, your head should be above the water, without finning.

The exception might be something like a "hot drop" (I forget the term) where you try to descend immediately due to currents.

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Regardless, solo-divers do check themselves, and there are plenty of solo-divers out there. In time you should have a highly consistent routine, and if not you shouldn't be solo-diving.

For me personally, I find the buddy-checks cause me to be distracted and make mistakes. That's just my personal psychology. Although, I am always happy to give a buddy-check to any diver that asks. I'm also very protective about "hands off." In some of the other threads, you'll find references to people whose valve was "helpfully-closed" by charter-staff or another diver who thought they were opening the valve.
 

tursiops

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Being properly weighted means with a relatively full breath, your head should be above the water, without finning.
Not sure about this. At the beginning of a dive you -- if "properly weighted" -- are likely 5-6 pounds heavy, to compensate for the gas to be used up during the dive, so you will be neutral at the end of a dive. Most folks cannot attain 5-6 pound positive buoyancy by lung inflation.
 

inquisit

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Not sure about this. At the beginning of a dive you -- if "properly weighted" -- are likely 5-6 pounds heavy, to compensate for the gas to be used up during the dive,
Yeah, I wouldn't go so far as to say "no kicking" -- an "it depends" scenario for sure. With a wetsuit and weighted to be neutral at 15 ft, your wetsuit will help on the surface. (With my 3mm, I get an automatic +2.5 lbs from the suit.) My inspiratory capacity is about 3 liters, so another ballpark 6.5 lb. In factm I was in this situation on my last Cozumel trip (inflator elbow came off), and I didn't need to kick. Others have smaller lungs, but should be able to manage 1-2 liters (2-4 lbs). If no wetsuit, it's harder.

Perhaps a better "blanket statement" is that someone could do it "with gentle or no kicking" if properly weighted.
 

SlugLife

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I could have been a little more precise in my statement, but my buoyancy has the top of my head barely above the water without kicking & an 80% breath. The goal is to be neutral at 15ft deep, 500psi, and an empty (or mostly empty) BCD.

The point I was trying to make is that with proper weighting, you should need minimal finning to return to the surface and breathe. Even if you're 2lbs over, same concept applies.

Why do buddy checks exist? The simple answer is redundancy. It's the same answer for buddy-diving, and a bunch of other things. Redundancy comes in many forms. When one achieves proper weighting, that's a much more consistent and reliable form of redundancy than a self-check or buddy-check. Of course, additional redundancy from a buddy-check is a good thing. If anything it saves you from being in the water, begging someone on the boat "hey, can you grab my dive-computer? It's in my bag of dive-equipment buried on the bottom."

It can be helpful to distinguish the audience too. With a brand-new open-water diver, telling them "be properly weighted" is not very practical. Buddy-checks and buddy-diving as a "rule" is a lot simpler, than trying to explain things the diver is not ready for yet.
 

TMHeimer

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I would never tell another diver to NOT do a buddy check. However, I'd rate "mandatory buddy-check" under the same category as "never dive without a buddy." They're "training wheels," but not bad ones to have or keep.

Let me put it another way: Lets say you skipped any two steps in your initial gear-check and jumped in the water. What would kill you? Forgot fins, computer, air-off, BCD deflated, etc? For me the answer is (under nearly-all circumstances) nothing would kill me. The consequence of everything I can imagine would be fixing it in the water, or an annoying trip back up the dive-ladder to fix the problem.

"What if you had air-off, BCD deflated?" I'm always breathing from my reg as I jump in, but lets pretend that happens. I'd swim to the surface, back to the boat/shore/dock, and fix the issue. Being properly weighted means with a relatively full breath, your head should be above the water, without finning.

The exception might be something like a "hot drop" (I forget the term) where you try to descend immediately due to currents.

---

Regardless, solo-divers do check themselves, and there are plenty of solo-divers out there. In time you should have a highly consistent routine, and if not you shouldn't be solo-diving.

For me personally, I find the buddy-checks cause me to be distracted and make mistakes. That's just my personal psychology. Although, I am always happy to give a buddy-check to any diver that asks. I'm also very protective about "hands off." In some of the other threads, you'll find references to people whose valve was "helpfully-closed" by charter-staff or another diver who thought they were opening the valve.
I agree on the solo point. I have said at times that if a solo diver does a buddy check on him/herself is that not the same as having a buddy do it? Perhaps even better because you know your own equipment better than others'.

Not sure about one thing-- I don't think you're in very good shape if you jump off a boat (or into any water much deeper than you can stand in) with your BC deflated and air off. Yes you can drop weights to ascend- if you're not in the tropics and wearing litttle or no weight. Or, if you are experienced enough to not panic right away. When I boat dived, making sure my air was on was priority #1. Shore diving over the years solo I have forgotten to turn it on maybe 3 times, which is simply embarrassing.
 

quietlife4me

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If you have a buddy and don’t check / offer to check that says more about you not caring for your fellow human than anything else.
 

SlugLife

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I agree on the solo point. I have said at times that if a solo diver does a buddy check on him/herself is that not the same as having a buddy do it? Perhaps even better because you know your own equipment better than others'.
Everyone should double-check their setup, buddy-check or not. However, even as a solo-diver, I recognize a self-double-check is not quite the same thing as a buddy-check. The reason being is that a mistake you'll make once, is a mistake you'll make twice. It's like editing your own writing. If you overlooked an error once, you may overlook it twice. Conversely, I wouldn't trust a buddy to do your checks for you, because they may be sloppy or lazy, or simply unfamiliar with your equipment.

Not sure about one thing-- I don't think you're in very good shape if you jump off a boat (or into any water much deeper than you can stand in) with your BC deflated and air off. Yes you can drop weights to ascend- if you're not in the tropics and wearing litttle or no weight. Or, if you are experienced enough to not panic right away. When I boat dived, making sure my air was on was priority #1. Shore diving over the years solo I have forgotten to turn it on maybe 3 times, which is simply embarrassing.
I suppose I've never actually directly tested the scenario, and I'm not sure if I'll get another dive in before the end of the year due to cold weather. I have practiced surfacing with an empty BCD and a few other related scenarios.

However, the scenario should be easy enough to test safely. Air on, BCD deflated, take half a breath, jump in, don't start finning immediately (for simulation purposes) and then try surfacing without taking a breath. I dive SideMount (2 tanks) so it should be a fairly solid test. I have little doubt I can do it, but the question is how much effort it would or wouldn't be, and the level of effort at the surface.
 
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