Monday, January 13, 2014

4 Beginner Tips for Good Scuba Diving Etiquette

No matter what type of hobby you may have and what extracurricular activities you participate in on your free time, every activity has a certain set of rules that must be followed in order to maintain good relations with those you are participating with during the activity. In that regard, scuba diving is no different. There are certain rules for practicing good etiquette as a scuba diver that you need to know before you get into the boat and strap on your oxygen tank.

These unspoken rules of behavior are followed not only to help you get along with your fellow divers, but to also make it easier on your instructors and guides as well. So if you are planning on taking a trip into tropical territory to try out scuba diving, here are four rules to follow when it comes to scuba diving etiquette.

Avoid complaining

The number one rule of scuba diving etiquette for first timers is to try and avoid complaining. Complaining not only bothers other divers, it also makes it seem like you are giving the instructors a hard time as well. If you are going to try scuba diving, you should know that it's a pretty difficult activity to master and that it's not a walk in the park. If you want to simply look at fish swimming in comfort, then you can always go to an aquarium. There is a chance that the water might be cold, your wetsuit will probably be damp and cold, the weather might not be ideal, you might not have enough room on the boat. However, these are all things that you need to overcome. Most scuba divers will tell you the rewards of diving are so plentiful that they easily outweigh all of the discomforts and potential things that one could complain about.

Keep your wetsuit clean

There really is no nicer way to say it, so it's best to get right to the point. Please, do not urinate in your wetsuit if you want to respect your diving instructors and diving colleagues. The wetsuits are thick and they are meant to preserve warmth. That means that they will also preserve the smell of your urine. Even if you are not going to the bathroom in your suit, it will get smelly in a couple of days. If you want to be courteous to everyone, yourself included, clean your wetsuit every two or three days. You can simply put it into your shower or bath and give it a quick once-over with some soap and warm water.

Be courteous under water

It's easy to get overly excited when you are under water, because it can be a very exhilarating experience. However, remember to be courteous to the people who are diving with you and respect their space. You should know where you are at all times and try to avoid bumping into others who are trying to enjoy the sights just as much as you are enjoying them. Also, don't go too fast. Moving quickly under water scares away fish and it can lead to accidents. Go slow, and be aware of your surroundings to avoid injury and disrupting others. If you are diving with people who like to take pictures underwater, respect their passion and try not to scare away fish while they are trying to get a nice shot.

Respect your instructors

These people who are teaching you to dive are not your servants. Just because you are paying them does not mean that they are obligated to bend over backwards in order to please you. Even if the instructor is younger than you are, they have probably had hundreds of more dives than you have and are very qualified. Respect them and remember that they are there to keep you safe and teach you how to have the best diving experience possible, not to grant your every wish.

Thanks to Joshua Teh @ Ezine Articles

Kathy Dowsett

Thursday, January 2, 2014

SCUBA Gas Laws

Earth's atmosphere is composed of a mixture of gasses that obey the famous chemistry "Gas Laws." Some of these laws become matters of life and death when using a Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) device. Understanding just four of these laws will help you stay alive and out of trouble while SCUBA diving.

Boyle's Law

For SCUBA divers, the most important of the gas laws--and the most deadly one to ignore--is Boyle's law. Boyle's law says that as long as temperature is constant, pressure and volume are inversely proportional--when one goes up the other goes down and vice versa. If you have an inflatable container--such as your lungs-- decreasing the pressure increases the volume. So if you take a deep breath and then move toward the surface while holding your breath, your lungs expand. If you hold it too long your lungs will explode. This is why you should never hold your breath while SCUBA diving--not even briefly. If you breathe consistently the volume of air in your lungs will constantly adjust to the changing pressure.

Amonton's Law

Amonton's law says that if the volume of a gas is constant--as it is in a SCUBA tank--the pressure and temperature are directly proportional. If one increases so does the other, and vice versa. If you fill up your tank on a summer day and then jump in water that's 40 degrees cooler, you are going to have less pressure than you might think. Therefore, the tank will not last as long. If you fill up a tank and then put it in the trunk of the car where it is 60 degrees hotter, the pressure might rise to dangerous levels and damage your equipment.

Henry's Law

Henry's law describes how pressure determines a liquid's ability to absorb gasses. As pressure increases, more of a gas will dissolve in a liquid. When a diver dives, the pressure increases and more gasses dissolve in the diver's tissues. Most of Earth's atmosphere is nitrogen, which is relatively inert so it does no real harm. If the diver ascends slowly the nitrogen comes out of the tissues as the pressure decreases. If the diver with nitrogen-saturated tissues (too deep, too long) ascends too quickly, the nitrogen comes out too fast--in bubbles. This causes a very dangerous condition known as the "bends," which can cause permanent damage or even death.

Dalton's Law

Dalton's law says that if a gas is a mixture, the pressure of each component depends on the percentage of that component in the mixture. Earth's atmosphere is about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and one or two percent other gasses--depending on where you live. If your tank is filled using faulty equipment, you might be getting a lethal dose of something that is relatively safe at low pressures. Even oxygen can be toxic at high pressures. Nitrogen at high pressures can have a narcotic effect (known as "rapture of the deep") that can cause a deadly loss of judgement.

By Carlos Mano, eHow Contributor

Kathy Dowsett