Practice Makes Perfect.

78-79-extraYou should practise basic safety skills such as clearing your mask and regulator mouthpiece whenever you can. Both are essential skills and a swimming pool is the best place to practise them. If you are a member of a diving club there are usually pool sessions once a week. 92-93-5Removing and replacing an mask successfully underwater is one of the most difficult tasks that a new diver has to learn. There seems to be a psychological barrier to overcome which is probably a result of the mammalian reflex that tells you to hold your breath when you feel water on your face. The trick is to do in easy stages. Start by lifting the skirt of your mask to let a little water in and then blow that water out with air from your nose. When you are confident with that stage, try half filling your mask and clearing it.78-79-extra3 Do not remove your mask under the water until you know you can clear it easily and even then for the first attempts try submerging from the surface with your mask in your hand rather than taking it off when fully immersed. Eventually, you will be able to take your mask off completely and swim around the pool, breathing the air from your regulator. You will be amazed how competent you become. The swimming pool is the ideal environment in which to practise swimming with neutral buoyancy because it is more difficult to do properly in shallow water. You would have been shown in your first wet lessons how to do fin-pivots. Achieving neutral buoyancy is the essence of good diving. 92-93-3Time underwater in the pool allows you to become totally familiar with your equipment. It is worth experimenting with different ways of rigging it. You can practice taking it off and getting it all back in place while you are still submerged. This may not have any practical application when you are diving in the sea but it helps build your confidence. Another good exercises is to try breathing from a free-flowing regulator. You do this by tilting your head to one side to allow access to escape while pushing the purge button fully to simulate an uncontrolled flow of air.84-85-extra Practise emergency swimming ascents by swimming horizontally, one arm outstretched while you exhale from your mouth all the way. Make sure to keep your regulator your mouth in case you get it wrong. A simulated swimming ascent is best done horizontally because it removes the hazard of pressure changes as you go up. Remember never hold your breath while breathing compressed gases.92-93-4 Remember that old golfing maxim: The more you practise the luckier you get. Practise your skills until they become second nature and you will enjoy your diving without anxiety. Happy Diving!

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