Being lost is never a good feeling and being lost underwater feels very lonely and a little bit frightening too. Here are five simple steps to follow to ensure that you cope with the situation in the best way possible.
Where did everyone go? © Lindsey Kramer
- Stay Calm. Panic is never a good reaction to any situation underwater, remember that you are never actually lost, you know exactly where the surface is. Stop, Breathe, Think, Act. Assess the situation and think about any pointers you were given in the diver briefing. If you are mid-water, have been swept away, or there is significant current skip straight to point four.
- Look Around. The standard procedure is to look around for one minute, so do this in a logical manner. If you can see divers, check out the logos on their tanks, wetsuits or mask straps – are they from your group? Think about where you came from and where you were going, choose a direction and look. If you have no idea skip straight to point four.
- Bubbles. If the visibility is low, ascend a couple of meters and look for streams of bubbles. Consider how many divers you are looking for and the number of bubble streams you can see before blindly going to look.
- Surface. If you have completed your quick search and can’t find your group or buddy or conditions mean a search is futile; surface. Ascend slowly and cautiously and listen for overhead traffic. Do not make a safety stop. The stop is an added precaution and can be skipped in an emergency. Remember you want to reunite as soon as you can. Your buddy or team should also have searched for one minute and be on their way to the surface too. Importantly, once you surface, do not go back down as they could be on their way up and you will miss each other. It’s far easier to reunite on the surface than underwater. Read our tips for safe ascents.
- Get Help. It certainly is possible that it might take your buddy more time to notice you are missing so do wait a few minutes for them to surface. Note the time you surfaced and where you surfaced so you can accurately direct a search if required. Next, you will want to alert your surface support to assist you. Read our five tips for staying safe on the surface and our five ways to make sure you are visible on the surface. Both will help you plan for a lost at sea situation, one in which we hope you never find yourself.