Bali is blessed with clean warm water, a beautiful undersea world and an array of professional diving operations. For the vast majority of people, their diving experiences in Bali were times to remember. In order to maximize your enjoyment and minimize risks, here are some tips submitted by diving professionals.
Scuba-diving: your choices and responsibilities
Thanks to advanced and contemporary diving technology, scuba-diving has become a popular and safe activity for many enthusiastic nature lovers. It is however a fact that scuba-diving is perceived as an ‘adrenalin sport’ – as indeed it can be – but it should never, ever be dangerous.
It is therefore important that you, as a certified diver, chose dive sites suitable for your level of training and experience.
•So, what to look for in a dive company?
You can and should check that any dive company (anywhere in the world) that you are considering using is registered with a recognized agency and that their membership is up to date (renewal is annual) and so should be the guides and instructors.
In the same way as any reputable dive company will ask to see YOUR certification and logbook, you should ask to see theirs and that of the person who will be your dive guide. Don’t be shy to ask: it also indicates your level of training and awareness.
•You can ask to see service records for dive gear, tank fill logs, compressor records – anything and everything to help you make an informed decision.
•Oxygen and first aid kits should be taken on all trips and onto the boat.
•Enquire about the company’s safety record.
•Does the company have Emergency Assistance Plans readily available?
•Do you get a good feeling? Is this the dive centre for YOU?
•What is the guide:diver ratio?
•Will there be mixed abilities within the group?
•Are the guides/instructors familiar with the conditions and possibly tricky situations at certain dive spots? A current is not generally a problem. The guide just needs to know when NOT to dive because currents will be stronger than is enjoyable/safe. A guide who decides to cancel a dive is probably not so much concerned about himself; he very likely just wants to make sure his guests will not have to deal with stressful conditions.
•Does the company have diver and snorkeller insurance?
•Do you get what you pay for?
Unlike hotels, Bali dive companies don’t have a High Season Surcharge, but they often have Low Season Special Offers – the guides are the same, the land transport, the boats, the dive sites (although it could well be rainy) so special discounts can be a very welcome surprise!
Once you’ve chosen your dive company remember: You as a diver have a responsibility to take care of yourself! Listen and follow your dive guide’s pre-dive briefing, check your own gear, ensure it’s going to be possible to get the guide’s attention once you’re underwater, review hand signals before diving.
•Diving accidents: YOU can make a difference!
If you feel or witness any unsafe diving practices: report them to the dive shop owner straight away. But don’t stop there: report them to the agency concerned. You really do have a duty, a responsibility, to do that!
•Do consider your options!
High price, low price, neither guarantee a particular level of safety, enjoyment or professionalism. You as a customer, a person, wanting to … try diving for the first time … take an entry-level or continuing education course .. go snorkelling … recreational diving trip … you have choices and responsibilities to yourself!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to speak up – and Enjoy Your Dives!