In scuba diving, you are always told to ‘Plan your dive, and dive your plan.’ This is a step that all divers should be doing for their own safety and knowing how to give a good briefing before a dive is crucial to planning your dive. Especially if you are diving with new people or at a new dive site.
As a good dive buddy once told me, a good briefing is a ‘briefing, not a LONG-ing,’ so let’s take a look at the steps to ensure your briefing is concise, informative, and fun!
How to Give a Good Briefing for Scuba Diving
There is a lot to pack into a scuba dive briefing, so you will need to make it to the point. You will also need to make it fairly entertaining to not lose the interest of your buddy or your dive group!
The easiest way to remember all of the steps to a good dive briefing is to follow the order of what you will do for the dive; from a Buddy Check, then all the way to the end of the dive. Just do a mental run-through in your head and imagine what you will be doing up until you get back onto land.
Steps for a Great Dive Briefing as a Leader
- Give the dive site name, possible interests, and risks, and the maximum depth for the dive
- Explain how to gear up, and where. Is it on the boat, on the shore, or in the water?
- Run through the BWRAF Buddy Check and mention the steps involved
- Explain how to enter the water. Giant stride, or rolling back into the water?
- Remind divers to inflate on the surface, and explain where you will be descending (a mooring line at the front of the boat, using a wall as a visual reference, etc.)
- Talk about equalizing procedures and ask if anyone has problems with their ears
- Run through all the dive signals; ‘Go down, a problem with ears, ascend slightly, come closer, how much air you have, etc.’
- Remind new divers to adjust their buoyancy once you have leveled off, no kicking of the coral, and you can include an environmental message here
- Make it clear when the ‘halfway’ point of the dive is, and how much air is should be left when deciding to end the dive
- Remind divers about the Safety Stop, and about deploying a Surface Marker Buoy if needed
- Talk about emergency procedures such as deco stops, or missing buddies
- Remind divers how to ascend safely and how to get back onto the boat, or on land.
Pro Tip: Try to add a sprinkle of jokes in the briefing. This will keep the interest of your divers, and help them remember the briefing.
Why Do We Need a Briefing?
Planning a dive is important. The briefing ensures you and your buddy have a clear and common objective, that you are both on the same page with diving signals for communication, and that you both know emergency procedures.
A clear dive briefing is especially important if you are the dive leader, divemaster, or instructor, as you may be taking divers that you have not dived with before.
If you have new divers who have little experience, then you should make the briefing very clear and go through it properly.
If you have divers that you have dived with before, then you can omit certain steps in the dive briefing and just touch on the most important elements.
Remember, even with experienced divers, a dive briefing is important. The divers may have trained in a different country, or with different procedures. It is a good idea to run through all the steps again and know how to give a good briefing!