Long Island, New York Scuba Diving

Our Long Island Scuba diving adventures and events

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Who's Steering This Diver Anyway

Navigation is a diver’s best weapon against stupidity and one of the best tools for information. If the surf clouds up and you lose visibility the only thing you can really count on is your compass and it’s absolutely necessary on a night dive. I am surprised how many divers don’t know how to use it. The basics are simple. You need to know a direction to swim into your dive and a direction to swim out or back to the beach or boat.
This is how I do it on a beach dive. The first thing I do is set that needle to zero degrees North. I don’t rotate the bezel or use the lubber line. I find it’s just too confusing and I have used this simple method to teach two students with dyslexia and it worked for them.

So we have our needle pointing North and set to zero. Now stand on the beach facing out towards the water in the direction you want to dive. Look down at your compass. The needle is set to zero degrees. Now what number is facing the direction you want to swim out in? Let’s pretend you are going to dive straight north and the number is 0 degrees. That is all you need to remember. O, That’s it. So if 0 is your way out then the number directly on the other side of the compass is your way to get back. In this case the number should be 180 degrees. So when it’s time to come home put that needle on 0 again and swim in the opposite direction which is 180. All you had to remember is one number. Try it in your yard. You’ll see it’s about as simple as it gets. Being a good navigator is a great step towards being a confident diver. You can figure out the rest from there and I have some other tips to make you a great navigator. But, I’ll add to this later.


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