Coral Reef

BEST PRACTICES FOR SCUBA DIVING POST COVID-19

By Mia Raghavi, 24 September 2020

Are you wondering when you can get back to or discover scuba diving and whether it will be safe? If you're a certified diver, you've already been trained to dive prudently. Scuba courses are well thought through and meticulously developed to enable divers to always be prepared.

So, it’s no wonder that when the pandemic broke out, people driven by a common passion put their heads together (being at least 6 feet apart) and laid out certain best practices to mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19 for divers starting out or returning to the sport. Here are our recommendations, combined with those by Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and Divers Alert Network (DAN), for scuba diving post-pandemic.
 

 

LOOK THROUGH THE MEDICAL FORM AND SEE IF YOU NEED A MEDICAL CLEARANCE TO DIVE


If someone has had COVID-19 at any time, they need to consult a doctor and get a thorough evaluation done before diving. For all divers, beginners or certified, we strongly suggest going through the DAN COVID-19 Health Declaration Form and the Diver Medical Questionnaire, which you must fill out before diving. A ‘yes’ answer to any question in either of the forms will require you to consult a doctor and get a written medical clearance for scuba diving. We recommend that you consult the doctor who is directly involved with or aware of your medical history to obtain this medical clearance for scuba diving after the pandemic. As a responsible dive centre, at Barefoot Scuba, we will ask to see a valid medical certificate before we take you diving.

If you have had a fever or cold recently and feel that you haven’t fully recovered, put safety first. Never put yourself at risk by diving when not feeling well, during a pandemic or otherwise.

 

HAVE A MASK ON, ALWAYS


It’s great that scuba divers by default have their eyes, nose, and mouth covered by the scuba equipment during the dive. Remember to make a habit of keeping your mask on and snorkel or regulator in whenever you are in the water, including at the surface both before and after the dive. Ensure that nobody is around you when you are removing and washing the mask. It helps to keep the disinfectant solution at the ready. We suggest diligently following the new normal of wearing a mask, either the scuba one or the other kind, while on the boat and in common areas such as the dive shop too.
 

Image diving post pandemic caption Sayali Ranadive Instructor at Barefoot Scuba

BUY YOUR OWN AND/OR DISINFECT EQUIPMENT


Having a full set of personal scuba equipment is ideal. If it’s not possible, consider owning at least those diving equipment that comes in direct contact with your face and skin. These include a mask, snorkel, regulator mouthpiece (we give one to each of our divers free of cost to take back with them), and wetsuit. If you will be using rental equipment, make sure that they are thoroughly sanitized before using it. Disinfecting personal equipment before and after every use is a good practice too. Buy disinfectants that are safe for the reef.

 

NO MORE SPITTING IN THE MASK


Okay, we admit it. For the love of our delicate corals, we have long vouched that saliva is the best natural solution to ensure that your mask doesn’t get fogged up during the dive. However, going forward, droplets of any kind other than the ocean itself must be directed away from other people. Wind and current directions must be considered, and certainly no spitting into the masks. So, watch out for other people before you blast clear your snorkel and don’t be at the receiving end of it either.

Consider a simple banana peel, which works wonders for defogging masks. (Along with the peel, you also get the sweetest homegrown Andaman bananas when you come diving with us). If you must buy an anti-fog agent for your masks, please ensure that it’s reef-safe!

 

KEEP ALL DOCUMENTS HANDY


Review if your travel or medical insurance covers COVID-19 emergencies. When you come diving, please carry copies of your travel/medical insurance, diving insurance, COVID-19 test results, and medical clearance (if applicable). Do also remember to bring your PADI card (or equivalent certification copy) and a copy of your identification proof (passport and visa for foreigners) and keep any other relevant document readily accessible.

 

TRAVEL SAFELY


Last but not least, exercise caution whenever you are going out. After all, we are still in a pandemic and we wouldn’t advise anyone to approach travelling and diving like the old days. Extra care must be taken, and social distancing is to be maintained both on land and in the water. Keep sanitizing the hands whenever you touch high contact surfaces like doorknobs, railings, dive equipment, etc. Be mindful and please help us keep your dive experience safe and enjoyable.