At some point in your diving career, you’ll be doing a beach dive. For example, South Florida and Bonaire are popular beach dive destinations, or maybe you’re looking to save money by not paying for a seat on a dive boat. Whatever your reason for beach diving, there are some things you need to know before you do your first (or hundredth) beach dive.
Here are some tips from Scuba Diving Magazine to help make your beach diving experience better:
1. The major downside to beach diving is all that sand will sneak into your wetsuit and attack your reg if you give it half a chance. To avoid that, gear up at your car, then grab mask and fins and make a beeline for the water.
2. At water’s edge, put on your mask, stick the reg in your mouth and wade in—timing the incoming breakers—until chest-deep. Now strap on your fins and push off. If you get knocked down by a wave before reaching this point, don’t attempt to get up—especially if you’ve already put your fins on. Just crawl on all fours or, if there’s enough water beneath you, kick hard for deeper water.
3. Once past the surf line, roll onto your back and surface kick out to where the water starts calming down. While kicking, zero in on a fixed point on the beach to help stay on course. Even better, take a compass bearing and use the reciprocal reading out to the dive site.
4. After the dive, return to the surface before getting too close to the surf zone. Keeping your reg in your mouth, and pumping some air in your BC, start kicking for shore, all the while keeping a sharp eye on the surf coming in behind you. If you time it right, you can reach chest-high water, remove your fins and walk right into shore.
5. Upon reaching the beach, don’t stop, keep on going all the way to the car, where waiting for you should be a clean dive tarp to stand on while unsuiting, a plastic tub for dropping your wet gear into, and a couple bottles of fresh water for rinsing down.
6. To change clothes in public without getting arrested the old reliable is an oversized beach towel wrapped around the waist. However, some dive coats now have pass-through pockets that enable you to put the coat on and change clothes without messing with zippers or buttons.
Just that easy, you’re rinsed, dried and dressed in street digs, your soggy gear is safely tucked in a tub in your trunk, and you’re ready to go enjoy a post-dive lunch at your favorite eatery. Whoever said beach diving was a hassle never did it this way.