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Course Outline

Objective: Perform a controlled safe descent while equalizing, following all of the important steps, including equalizing early and often while descending.

Value: A safe descent is of vital importance to your safety and comfort. Following proper procedures means you are prepared for the dive before you leave the surface and you remain in control during the descent. During the descent, you will need to equalize. Equalizing your ears, sinus air spaces, and mask will make your descent comfortable and safe. Failure to equalize may cause injury or barotrauma.

How It’s Done: Descending is done in combination with equalization. On every descent, you will need to equalize your ears.

  1. Assume a vertical position while floating in deep water.
  2. Signal to your buddy that you are ready to descend.
  3. Orient yourself to the entry/exit point and also to where you will descend.
  4. Confirm that the regulator is in your mouth and breathing efficiently.
  5. Check that your instruments (PDC, depth timer, and SPG) are all set correctly and functioning properly.
  6. Hold the BCD power inflator above your head, and gently release air from the BCD bladder in a controlled manner.
  7. Start to equalize using one of the methods and techniques you learned from your instructor. Don’t forget to equalize your mask’s air space by gently blowing through your nose.
  8. As you descend:
    1. Breathe normally.
    2. Equalize every 1 meter/3 feet.
  9. Signal that you are OK, and confirm with your buddy.
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