Why Do Scuba Divers Dive Backwards?
If you’ve watched any video of a scuba diver entering the water, you’ll notice the diver always enters the water backward i.e. with their back first into the water. Now, you may wonder why the diver doesn’t perform a swan dive or dive forward when entering the water. I’m sure the genius in you must have figured out that scuba divers diving backward isn’t just random and is for a reason. And I’ll be telling you those reasons in this article.
Scuba divers enter the water by diving backward because it helps protect the integrity of their gear during entry, makes entry more comfortable, and maintains the stability of boats.
The answer below is the short version of the reason why divers enter the water backward and I’ll be talking extensively about those reasons in the following paragraphs. Also, you’ll learn how to perform the backward roll as well as other entry techniques. So keep reading.
How To Do a Backward Roll?
I’m sure you think the backward roll is a walk in the park from the videos you’ve seen. The technique is easy but requires some practice to master. Your scuba guide or experienced scuba buddy will give you pointers and help you become adept with this technique. That said, I’ll be explaining how to do a backward roll below.
First, put on all your scuba diving gear and ensure your gear is properly worn and secure. Then, place your right hand over your regulator while using your fingers to stabilize your mask. The reason for this is to hold them in place as you enter the water. Your left hand can either be at your side or hold any loose hoses in place.
Tuck your chin towards your chest and fall back into the water while singing the ‘Let it go’ song in Disney’s Frozen.
Why Is The Backward Roll The Preferred Method of Entry?
While I briefly mentioned the reasons why the backward roll is the preferred method of entry above, I’ll be explaining the reasons here:
Helps protect your scuba gear
Diving backward helps protect the integrity of your scuba gear as your gear will remain the place as you enter the water. If you were to enter the water with your feet first, you could damage your fins. Diving with your head first can also damage your mask or knock loose your gauges and regulator.
Diving backward is comfortable
This is another reason why the backward roll is popular as the technique is easy on the body. Your scuba gear – tank, BCD, wetsuits, and so on – aren’t exactly light and diving forward means you have the entire weight of your scuba gear pushing you down. There’s also a risk of the diver getting injured when diving head first due to impact from any loose gear. And diving feet first can damage your leg in case your fins break.
On the other hand, the backward roll makes entry easier as the tank goes in first and your scuba gear remains in place minimizing the risk of injuries.
Your boat benefits from the backward roll
If you are diving from a small vessel, like a boat, the backward roll should be your method of entry. This is because small vessels have a low center of gravity and using other entry methods will cause the vessel to rock steadily which could make other divers on the boat preparing to dive fall and maybe get injured. You don’t want that to happen, do you?
Other Entry Techniques
There are other entry techniques such as:
The Seated Entry
The seated entry is another scuba diving entry that you can use when there is limited space or your entry platform isn’t stable. Put on your scuba gear and double check that everything is in place. Then sit on the edge or side of your boat. Your legs should be placed over the side and your arms should hold to the side of the boat.
After assuming this position, turn around so you are facing the boat as you lift yourself over the edge.
The Giant Stride
The Giant Stride is an alternative entry method that can be used if you have a stable platform on the dive boat. To know if this method is possible on your boat, check if you can stand safely on the edge of the platform with your dive fins over the edge. If you can do this, then the giant stride is feasible on your boat.
When you are ready to go into the water, hold your mask and regulator in place and do a final check to see if there are any obstacles in the water. If the water is clear, take a large step (or a giant stride) into the water. The step must be large enough to ensure you or your tank doesn’t hit the edge of the boat.