Yes, for your own safety! Learn about the implications of breathing compressed air, important safety rules and emergency procedures, as well as practical skills, such as how to breathe correctly, clear your mask from water, equalise your ears, weigh yourself, communicate underwater with hand signals, etc.
Having the dive licence (“plastic card”) on its own is no guarantee for your safety or comfort. You really need to understand the theory and follow the rules. Please use all means available to you, including professional training, books, advise from experienced divers and online resources to learn, improve, and periodically refresh your knowledge.
Remember, there is no harm practicing your first dives with AirBuddy in standing depth water and progress deeper as you gain more confidence. Please dive responsibly, know your limits, and never dive to a depth you don’t feel comfortable to ascend from in case of an emergency.
All forms of diving have certain risks, incl. SCUBA, SNUBA, Freediving, Rebreathers, or Hookah Diving. The key is to understand the risks, follow the rules, use appropriate back-ups, and never exceed your own capabilities.
For the risk profile of diving with AirBuddy, consider that:
- Underwater siren notifies you of low battery about 10 min before it depletes.
- 16L emergency air inside the float provides about 4-5 breaths at 12m (40 ft) depth to about 12-15 breaths near surface at 1m (3 ft).
- You dive within the NDL (No Decompression Limit) unless you dive more that 2-times in a row (55min at 12m).
- You are some 30-40 seconds away from the surface for CESA (Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent).
- You should also wear an egressor, for example “Spare Air”.
- You hear a gentle buzzing underwater to know the compressor operates.
- Dive flag indicates your position on the surface and directs boats to stay in safe distance.
With AirBuddy, you dive deep enough to explore the beauty of marine life, but not deep enough to run a high risk of decompression sickness, also known as “bends”. Unless you dive more than twice in a row (to 12m at 55min) or have accumulated some residual nitrogen from previous diving, you stay within the NDL (No Decompression Limit). NDL is the maximum allowable dive time at a specific depth that is considered safe enough to ascend from directly to the surface without decompression stop(s). As a pre-caution however, you should do a safety stop at 5m (15 ft) for 3-5 minutes whenever possible.
We also strongly recommend that you use a dive computer to monitor your nitrogen saturation level and follow the rules taught in your open water course about the safety stop, ascent rate, no fly interval, etc.
Just like with SCUBA, you must continuously breathe in and out to allow the air pressure in your lungs to adjust to the surrounding pressure. Otherwise, the air in your lungs could expand to a volume larger than the capacity of your lungs and you risk pulmonary barotrauma (lung over-expansion) which is a serious medical condition. If continuous breathing is not possible, e.g. due to a loss of air supply and you perform an emergency ascent (CESA), slowly exhale (making an “aaaaaaaah” sound) as you swim towards the surface. This is the most important rule of diving, and you must remember this at all times.
In an emergency situation, you can use 2 backup systems before needing to perform CESA (Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent):
- Backup #1: Use 16L compressed emergency air contained in the red float/reservoir, which provides about 4-5 breaths at 12m (40 ft) depth to about 12-15 breaths when closer to surface at about 1m (3 ft) depth.
- Backup #2: Use 100% redundant egressor/ pony bottle – size of your choice. Purchased separately.
- CESA: Swim towards the surface while slowly breathing out making the “aaaaaah” sound.
Although the dive flag orders the boats to stay away (US at least 30m confined water/ 90m open water; Australia at least 50m) from you, it is advisable to avoid diving in locations known for boat traffic – regardless whether you SCUBA dive or dive with AirBuddy.
With AirBuddy you tend to dive off the shore and are usually not too far from the beach, i.e. if there is any boat traffic, they usually go at a slow speed on the lookout for mooring. As a rule of thumb, where you can snorkel, you can dive with AirBuddy.