Diving Fundamentals: The Buddy & Safety Check

The Buddy Pre-Dive Safety check is an important safety check that should be performed by every diver no matter what level of diving proficiency. This check is performed by a Scuba Diver with his/her buddy before descending on a dive as a final inspection of the dive equipment before diving.  The Pre-Dive safety check ensures that your equipment is working, and also familiarizes yourself with your buddies equipment should you need to assist or receive assistance from him. Most Scuba diving accidents and incidents are said to be preventable by the diver simply having properly conducted a pre-dive safety check. Despite the warnings, most divers seldom perform this crucial scuba gear check before a dive, and rush to descend. Especially with your scuba equipment being set-up by someone else, a diver should always inspect his own gear and perform a buddy check before descent.

B – BCD & Buoyancy, Check your buddies Buoyancy Compensator, check the low pressure inflator hose is connected correctly and do a quick puff to ensure the inflator button doesn’t stick. Also deflate the BCD to ensure it deflates correctly. If you are performing the check in the water, also check your own buoyancy to ensure you are weighted correctly.

W – Weights/Weight Belt: Check that your buddies weight belt is on properly with the loose end tied correctly and tucked in a manner that will allow for quick release. Make sure you are familiar with the type of weight belt or integrated weights being used by your dive buddy and you know how to release them should you need to.

R – Releases: Check that your buddies BCD is strapped correctly and all belts are tightened. Also count the number of buckles/straps tugging at each one as you become

A – Air: Check that your buddy’s air is turned all the way on and half a turn back (the half turn back is no longer recommended). Make him take a couple of breaths while you watch the pressure gauge for fluctuations in the needle, or simply purge the regulator while watching the needle. Check that the tank is full and check all air connectors for leaks. You should check your buddies alternate air source by taking a couple of breaths from it and ensuring that it is clipped on the BCD and visible.

F – Final OK: Final check is a cursory visual inspection, of fins, mask, snorkel and testing dive flashlights if necessary, take a compass bearing, and check your dive computer before giving the all Ok sign to your buddy to begin descent.

PADI uses a mnemonic to help divers remember the pre-dive check BWRAF, Begin With Review And Friend. However divers have come up with several different mnemonics to help them remember, here are some of the common and not so common funny ones:

  • Beans With Rice And Fish
  • Bruce Willis Ruins All Films
  • Breathing Water Really Ain’t Fun
  • Big White Rabbits Are Fluffy
  • Because We Really Are Friends
  • Blonde Women Really Are Fun
  • Burgers With Relish And Fries
  • Bunnies Will Run Away Fast
  • Bangkok Women Really Are Fellas