Divemaster Blog: equipment exchange

Divemaster Blog: equipment exchange

In this episode of our Divemaster Bali blog Maria is going to talk about one of the Waterskills you need to do during you PADI Divemaster Course at Joe’s Gone Diving.

Equipment Exchange, here are a few tips from a pro to make your life easier.

One of the water skill exercises in the PADI Divemaster course is the Equipment Exchange. This skill is done in confined water. Candidates have to demonstrate the ability to effectively respond to an unusual circumstance underwater by exchanging all scuba equipment (except exposure suits and weights) with a buddy while sharing a single regulator second stage. Candidates should earn a minimum score of 3. Some people call this skill a “Stress Test”. As, like the name sounds, it can be very stressful. Here are some tips to make it less stressful.

Practice the Buddy breathing skill, especially if you never done it before as it has been taken out of the PADI Open Water course curriculum. Buddy breathing involves two dive buddies breathing alternatively from a single air source. This is how to perform a buddy breathing: When buddy breathing, each diver takes two long breaths before handing the air source back to his buddy. Each breath should be indicated by a signal: lifting one finger at the time, numbering the breaths taken. Upon second inhalation, the air source is delivered to the second diver. Remember to never hold your breath when scuba diving. Inhale deeply and slowly before giving the air source away and keep exhaling slowly as long as the air source is out of your mouth.

Next tip: plan your strategy and practice it before scoring day.

  • BCD: To exchange the BCD it is best to do it at the same time. First undo the chest clip then loosen your shoulder straps, don’t unclip them! Then open your belly clip and velcro. Slide out of the BCD on the right side and hand it to your buddy. Make sure the tank is not floating up.
  • Weight System: Using a belt as a weighting system is obviously easier than having integrated weights. Going down a little bit overweighted will help you to be more stable on the bottom, especially when you are exchanging BCDs.
  • Breathing equipment: Using the longer second stage is easier, for example your alternate air source. Get the breathing rhythm before you start. Just focus on the breathing when you have the regulator, and take care of your equipment when you are slowly exhaling.
  • Mask: For this exchange you might want to check with your buddy if he/she is wearing Contact lenses. The best option here is to take the last breath then hand over the regulator, immediately after you take off your mask. By the time you reach out, your buddy will be ready with his mask to exchange it. Clear the mask after one breath from the regulator.

Agree on the equipment order to exchange. For example, you can start with the easiest, to build your confidence, like the fins, then BCD, and save the mask for last. Communicate each time you are about to exchange. Stop and just breath every time you finish to exchange something. Relax! This is not a timed test. And you might have a great time:)

Stay tuned for our next Divemaster Course Blog from Maria. She will be giving you tips and tricks to master your Search and Recovery Scenario on your PADI Divemaster Course on Bali at Joe’s Gone Diving.

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