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Course Outline

Surf- and rocky-shore entries can be difficult. However, here are some useful tips for entries and exits.


  1. Get familiar with the surf pattern, how often the waves are breaking, which direction the rip (outgoing water) is going. These rips will help you swim out.
  2. Get entirely outfitted, and enter the water backwards. Use each other for support, and keep an eye on the surf or waves. When a wave meets you, hold onto your mask, and maintain a good balance with legs astride and back facing the waves.
  3. Keep the mouthpiece firmly in your mouth in case you get knocked down. As soon as you can, turn and swim out.
  4. Do not have your buoyancy control device (BCD) full because this will make ducking under the waves difficult. Make your way through the surf zone and into deeper water as quickly as possible, establish buoyancy, and surface swim out to your dive site with your buddy or dive professional.
  5. Conditions and your dive plan may also call for you to submerge as soon as you get into deeper water, and start your dive from that vantage point.


  1. Upon surfacing from your dive outside the surf zone, establish positive buoyancy. Take a note of the wave pattern and rip currents. Rips pull out to sea, so you do not want to be in these while trying to swim back to shore!
  2. When you and your buddy or dive professional see an opportunity, swim as fast as possible towards the shore, holding your mask on and mouthpiece in your mouth.
  3. Avoid stopping until you are in shallow water, and walk or crawl out—whichever is easier for you.

Talk to your dive center about getting some experience—or possible specialty training—if you have never done any surf entries.

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