Once you are on the boat, it may take a few minutes or a few hours to get to the dive site. On arrival, the dive guide will give a dive briefing regarding the conditions, emergency procedures and general dive practices. They may do this while on the way out to the dive site, so stay tuned!
When putting on your gear, watch your balance when walking around a large boat, because it can be slippery and awkward as the boat moves around. When you dive from a large boat, you will enter the water by a giant stride, and from a smaller boat or RIB, you will enter with a backward roll. Make sure the water is clear before you enter!
It is best to descend on a reference line following your dive guide. If you are not following a dive guide and you and your buddy choose your own route, remember to begin your dive into the current (if there is one). Get your bearings when the bottom is in sight, and dive your plan, navigating back to the boat so that you are back at the planned time. If you surface a distance away from the boat, inflate your surface marker buoy (SMB), so your dive guide or surface support and other boat traffic will know where you are. Start swimming. In some areas, you will be collected with a RIB.
- When exiting the water to get back onto a large boat, you should hold on to the ladder firmly. Take your fins off, and pass them up along with any accessories, such as a camera or flashlight. The stern of the boat will lift out the water and plunge back down in the swells, so timing is important.
- When exiting the water to get back onto a smaller boat, you should hold on to the ropes on the side of the boat. Hand up any accessories. Then, give your weight belt and, lastly, your equipment. Do a full power kick, and at the same time, pull yourself up onto the boat. The dive guide or surface support will usually help you by gripping the back of your wetsuit and pulling you up. Sometimes, they have ladders that you can use. Once on board, stow you gear properly.
Ask your dive guide/crew if you are not sure of anything. Generally, follow the instructions of the dive leader because he or she may have particular procedures for the area or the boat. Follow the instructions you are given.