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Entry and exit techniques
In the Open Water Course, we have learned several entry techniques. To resume; sitting entry in the swimming pool or from a low or floating jetty, backward roll from rib boats and the giant strive from not too high jetties or boat platforms. All of which with full gear, mask on, regulator in and positively buoyant. I would like to add some.
A good entry is preceded by a smart sequence to kit up. On a dive charter, you usually put your set on sitting on a bench. Stand up, walk to the platform, put your fins on holding on to something, spite in and rinse the mask and ready you are.
From a drifting boat or with a camera it can be convenient letting yourself fall backward after having checked the entry area. The tank will break the water surface first and your body protects the camera on the front from sudden impact. You face the boat or jetty right away to supervise other team members following. Because of the horizontal position, you can immediately swim away from the boat, providing a safety distance and quickly clearing the entry area.
Some jetties or jumping from the bow of a boat, i.e. for making a mooring, may make a jump from up to three meters necessary. In this case, we must fall backwards on our tank first or straight with empty BCD and holding fins with our arms together on our chest (foot pockets pointing up). If you leave your fins on, you might hurt your ankles due to the impact. Everything should be fixed better than normal. Some SMB’s tend to unfold. Mask straps can be worn under the hood.
Putting on equipment in the water depends mostly on the absence of current and/or waves. Without fins, you can’t swim much, so generally it’s best to wear them before entering the water. The weight belt must be on before entering. Beware you can be negatively buoyant without the jacket. For this reason putting on your set in the water is a technique mostly used with integrated weights, with the set being also heavier to handle outside the water. Make sure you’re familiar enough with the equipment to know how to find and close buckles or tighten straps.
Something about coming up behind the boat. Many guides consider this dangerous because of the propeller. Though, if the boat is moored, engine off, and you keep a safety distance of let's say three meters so nobody jumps on top of you, it can be a safe place to surface in case of other boats moving in the area. So, do not apply blindly the same rules in every situation, but use your common sense.
Exit techniques depend mostly on if or how much equipment we take off in the water. In a rib boat without a ladder, we usually take of the weight belt first and hand it over to an assistant on board. The set can be attached to a line with a gear clip. The fins are used to generated thrust, making climbing over the tube easier.
So called fish bone ladders are designed to climb out with fins on, making a sideward movement with our feet to go from step to step. Furthermore, the last step onto the platform must be sideward next to the handles, not in between. This type of ladders pivots against the boat with waves, being responsible for lots of crushed fingers when holding onto the central bar instead of the steps. Remember, use your regulator in case of exhaust smoke. Take care with waves. Leave a safety distance with the preceding diver climbing up. Step onto the ladder in the down going movement, using the up going movement to lift you out of the water. Clear the platform for the next people coming out.
Remember, big part of the injuries that occur with diving take place just before, during or just after an entry or exit for a number of reasons. Most likely is contact with boat (propeller), shore (rocks) or other divers (tanks). Keeping this in mind can reduce the number of incidents drastically.
Some example of entries to make your instructor laugh (or cry):
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