Buddy Check (Checklist) Before Every Dive, The scuba diving buddy check is one of the most important safety check before diving to ensure safety. In this article, we explain why buddy checks are so important and how easy it is to remember the pre-dive safety check using the acronym BWRAF.
Why is the PADI BWRAF check so important?
As a novice scuba diver, there will be time that you jump into the water with the excitement, only to realise that you have forgot my fins or weight belt. Most of the time, these are funny and awkward moments because they happen in good weather conditions. But what happens if you forget to put on your fins on in rough seas? May be you would have some trouble. Worse, what if you forget to turn on the air before diving?
The Buddy check BWRAF is very important in scuba diving as a pre-dive safety measure. Over time, some divers tend to skip a buddy check, thinking they no longer need it. But even the most experienced divers sometimes forget things. Yes, much less than novice divers, but it happens by accident.
A diving checklist is compared to a pre-take-off checklist. Would you go into an airplane knowing the pilots didn’t do a pre-take off checklist?
We all fly, and every time we step on an airplane, we entrust our lives to the pilot. One of the reasons flying is so safe is that pilots go through a standardised preflight checklist before every flight. This will ensure that the aircraft is ready for takeoff.
In case any step is missed, the co-pilot checks each step. This significantly reduces risk. When diving, we also have a dive checklist, which we call a buddy check. Yes, we can all follow the buddy-check acronym BWRAF ourselves, but the risk of forgetting certain steps increases. By having our dive buddies go over our dive checklists, we also reduce the risk of forgetting steps, just like pilots. This is one reason why it is always recommended to dive with a buddy and complete your buddy check.
Buddy check acronym
There are 5 important steps in the buddy check, but all very important. To make it easier not to forget any steps you can use a buddy check acronym.
An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word. The buddy check acronym is BWRAF.
5 Steps for the buddy check BWRAF
B stands for BCD in the buddy check acronym
Checking your BCD, Inflate each other's BCD until the air is released from the purge valve. Now you know your low pressure inflator (LPI) hose is working. Allow the BCD to inflate for a few seconds to check for leaks in the BCD. Now deflate your partner's BCD to test the deflate button, then orally inflate your partner's BCD, or if you are uncomfortable doing this, simply inflate your BCD orally in front of your partner. Now it's empty again.
W stands for Weight System in the buddy check diving checklist
First check to see if your partner is wearing a weight belt or has weights in the integrated weight pocket. If you have a weight belt, look for a right hand release, or check that the integrated weight pocket is securely clipped into the BCD. Finally, check that all dive weights are evenly distributed and that nothing is tangled in the dive weight system.
R stands for releases in the buddy check
Check all your dive buddies' releases on their BCD. Check the shoulder straps, chest and belly buckles, Velcro and finally the BCD bottle / Tank strap. Shake your partner's tank a little to make sure it's closed properly.
A stands for Air Check
This is the most important step in Buddy Check. First you check to see if your dive buddy's air is on. It is important not to just turn the valve. First you double check the position all the way open and half turn back / closed. I know this sounds exaggerated, but I've seen people accidentally turn off a dive buddy's tank before diving. Double or even triple check this part.
After confirming that your buddies tank is open, you can pick up your own SPG. Put your SPG side by side with your friends' SPG. Start by gently purging the second stage, then smell the air and take at least three breaths from the regulator while checking the needles. Not only do they check the airflow, they also check that the needle not moving. If the needle moves, you either have a problem with your first stage, or you didn't open the air all the way.
Finally, grab yourself or your partner's alternate air source and take at least 3 breaths to make sure your alternate air source is working properly.
F stands for Final OK in the buddy check
To complete a buddy check, you should make sure your buddy's scuba gear is streamlined and nothing is missing, such as scuba masks, fins, and other basic scuba gear. If everything is OK, you give your buddy one last OK sign and you are ready to dive.
Conclusion buddy check
A buddy check is a dive checklist that you can compare to the pre-launch checklist used by pilots. You learn buddy checks in the PADI Open Water Diver course, one of the most important parts before any dive. You can easily remember all the pre-dive safety checks steps using the buddy check acronym BWRAF, I strongly recommend that you always do a buddy check, even if you are already an experienced diver.
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