It’s essential that every diver be cognizant of their comfort zone when diving. Unfortunately, in their excitement and zeal to explore new horizons, those that are relatively new to diving may not spend sufficient time learning where they’re most comfortable when making a dive and the level of stress involved. Making a mistake underwater can lead to deadly mistakes.
One of the best ways to know your comfort zone is by listening to that small, still voice in your head. Anytime you feel hesitant or uncomfortable about an environment while diving, you’ve reached the maximum of your comfort zone and it will affect your decision making. As you gain experience and learn more, that comfort level will increase, but it’s critical for divers to know their current limits.
Your comfort level encompasses more than the act of diving proficiently. You need to feel comfortable with your dive equipment and if you’re using the gear for the first time, always test it in a controlled environment where it’s easy to tweak the equipment as needed. It’s also a perfect time to solve problems such as rashes and identifying places where the gear may rub.
It’s also important to identify your specific fears and break them down into manageable parts. Once you know exactly what it is that makes you uncomfortable or fearful, you can take steps to alleviate the problem. Practice makes perfect and you can repeat tasks until they no longer bother you. The same is true of swimming in strong currents and overhead environments.
One of the most common problems that affect new divers is buoyancy. Too much buoyancy and you’ll find yourself floating to the top at inopportune times. It can be unnerving and dangerous. Conversely, using too much weight will have you sinking like a rock. Fine-tuning your buoyancy level is something that takes practice and experimentation. It’s well worth the effort, will make your dives more relaxing and fun, and increase your comfort zone.
Finally, you may feel at home underwater and have experience, but it doesn’t mean you can’t feel uncomfortable. Consider advanced training to expand your skills and comfort zone. Feeling comfortable with your gear, skills, and environments will help keep you out of harm’s way.
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