Ask your dive buddy

Paired up with a new buddy? Here’s what you’ll want to ask them to make sure the dive goes well.

If you don’t have a regular buddy, you’ll find yourself paired up with a new buddy, a so-called insta-buddy, on a number of dives and dive trips.

Most of the time, these people are perfectly capable divers, and will make a fully competent buddy, and sometimes even a good friend.

But other times, you may find yourself paired up with a less-than-experienced diver who is completely out of his or her depth (sometimes literally).

Underwater Photographer aims camera at lionfish while her buddy looks on

It's not always fun being a buddy - Rich Carey

How do you tell one from the other?

Asking these five questions will help determine if you’ve made the lucky draw, or if there are things you need to address, or even cancelling the dive.

1. How much do you dive?

Total number of dives in one thing, frequency of diving is something else entirely.

A diver with a hundred logged dives may sound like a solid choice for a buddy, but if those dives were during a year-long trip around the world a decade ago, and he or she hasn’t been near the water since, you’re essentially dealing with a beginner.

Do you know why we are Diving with a Buddy?

A diver with the same number of dives, but spread evenly of the past couple of years with the latest one only a few weeks before your dive together, will have the basics down much better grasp of the basics and the skills needed for diving.

Find the right buddy

Make sure to find a buddy how will wait for a clear space before entering the water - Sergey Khachatryan

2. Where have you gone diving?

This will tell something about the nature of your temporary buddy’s type of experience.

There’s a huge difference between doing all your dives on a shallow, warm water reef, and doing cold water dives, wreck dives, or drift dives.

Even if you’re diving with a relatively experienced diver, this question highlight that the diver you’re diving with is by large a novice diver, in the dive conditions you’re going to do.

Divers leaving off the bow form the SS Thistlegorm, Red sea, Egypt

Different type od diving will create a different type of expeience - Credit: Anna segeren

3. What are you looking forward to most on this dive?

Putting focus on the upcoming dive makes the whole thing less interrogative, but it also puts the attention of the diver on the dive to come.

This can sometimes trigger any lingering nervousness that a person is feeling, either in their speech patterns or body language. This will make you able to help your new dive buddy with his or her nerves, or help him address their nervousness.

Buddys diving for safety

Talking with your buddy might reveal some insecure points - Rich Carey

4. How do you prefer your buddy to behave during a dive?

Agreeing on things like swimming speed, signals of communication, where you position yourselves in relation to each other can help put dive buddy behavior on the agenda.

And by phrasing it as a “how would you like me/us to do the dive” is a more diplomatic way of doing it, rather than demanding a certain behavior of your buddy.

You don't want a buddy who meets Mr. Reaper due to a silly mistake

Divers doing a safety check

A safety check will always reveal a lot about your buddy - Edw

5. Anything I need to know about you, your condition or your gear?

Divers vary, so does equipment configurations, and while the buddy check is a good tool to make you and your buddy familiar with each others’ equipment. Openly asking if there’s something that you need to be aware of can be a good approach.

Know the Rules and Recommendations for the Alternate Air Source

Also asking about anything else that you need to know about your buddy can help them open up about anything else that is worth knowing, such as if they need to descend slowly in order to be able to equalize, that they don’t like diving below 20 meters, if they have a tendency to cramp up.

Taking an honest talk with your new buddy can help you align any wants, needs, and concerns before the dive, and make sure that the dive progresses in the best manner possible.