If you’re thinking about getting a scuba dive refresher course, here are 6 simple steps you’ll learn through the course.
The dive refresher takes about one full day. I’m not a dive instructor (yet), so please always follow the direction of your instructor, but I did recently go through my dive refresher course around Komodo National Park in Indonesia after 15 years since my last dive. I’ll try to explain it in laymen terms without all the technical talk about the simple steps you’ll review when going through your dive refresher.
1. Buddy Check
In the buddy check, your instructor will show you how to safely check your buddy’s gear and essentially being their second set of eyes. This requires checking their BCD (the jacket that keeps you afloat) and seeing that it inflates and deflates properly, making sure the breathing apparatus is functioning on the regulator, and making sure all the harnesses are in place for a quick release, and that their weight belt is on.
2. Giant Step Entry
This is an easy step, literally! If you’re on a dive boat, or I imagine on a pool ledge, you just take one giant stride into the water holding having one hand on your weight belt and the other holding your mask and regulator. Once you fall into the water, you inflate your BCD and make clearance for the next diver after you.
3. Regulator Clearing
There are two methods of doing this. The first one is you take the regulator out of your mouth (pointing the breathing part down, so air doesn’t escape) and then placing the regulator back in your mouth. Once the regulator is back in your mouth, you’ll want to exhale as hard as you can until the regulator is clear.
The second method is following the exact same method, but instead of blowing air into the regulator, you use the purge button on the regulator. The purge button clears this for you.
4. Regulator Recovery
Again, there are two ways to recover your regulator if you happen to lose it. The first is to lean to the right and, then in a sweeping motion, use your right arm to grab it. It’ll likely come over your shoulder making it easy to recover.
The second method is to reach over your head or shoulder with your right arm and recover it that way.
Don’t forget to clear your regulator as needed.
5. Mask Clearing
There are 3 ways to clear your mask. I don’t know why I had such a hard time with this. Maybe it was my new mask and the silicone.
Partial mask clearing is you allow a little water to clear into the mask. Once it’s 1/2 filled, you open the bottom of your mask breathing out until the water clears. Repeat as necessary.
Full mask clearing is pretty much the same as the partial mask clearing but instead of filling your mask with only 1/2 the amount of water, you fill it completely.
Open mask clearing you take the mask completely off remembering to only breath with your mouth and not your nose then putting the mask back on and clearing the mask as above. You’ll want to make sure you always take a deep breath before clearing so that your breath is more powerful clearing out all of the water.
6. Neutral Buoyancy
Buoyancy is one of the most important skills you can learn while diving. If you can master your buoyancy, you can avoid damaging our ecosystem when diving underwater. In this step, you’ll essentially learn the difference between positive buoyancy (too much air in your BCD), negative buoyancy (too many weights or not enough air in your BCD), and then neutral buoyancy, which is what we want to strive for. In this step, you’ll observe your buoyancy and how to control it when inhaling and exhaling under water.
That’s about it! There are YouTube videos to give you a better visual. Just type in one of the 6 simple steps to getting your dive refresher. And, remember, to always follow the instruction of your guide when taking a refresher course.