Diving in fresh water is surprisingly different from diving in salt water, so much so that it often takes first timers by surprise. Freshwater diving spots are actually great for beginners that are trying to grasp all the logistics that go along with diving in a different environment. When commercial diving Melbourne is a great place to get started.
Overall though, it is the environment that you need to account for when diving freshwater, above all, the lower density of the water which changes how you pack, carry, and dive. These 8 tips on scuba diving in fresh water will have you in the water in no time.
Understand the Environment Where You are Diving
Fresh water diving is incredibly different from salt water. The density is much lower, the underwater topography is going to be a lot different because of where freshwater dive spots are found, and marine life is going to look and behave differently as well.
Know the Hazards
In addition to presenting divers with an overall different environment, freshwater bodies present different hazards. Each type of freshwater body behaves differently from the others, and even bodies of water in the same category differ among themselves. Each has dangers and hazards, that include natural dangers as well as man made ones.
Know the Dive Altitude
The altitude where you are diving is going to play into your dive, because many lakes and freshwater sources can be found at high elevations. Make sure you know the altitude of the area where you will be performing your dive, so that you treat the dive as an altitude dive.
Include a Knife
One of the known hazards of diving in freshwater is the potential to be caught or tangled up in man made pollution, including fishing line. It is advisable to always carry a knife on you that is able to cut through line and other materials that you come across.
Bring a Light
Depending on the type of freshwater body you are diving in, chances are good you are going to need to bring a dive light with you. Lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water don’t move sentiment the same way salt water bodies do with the help of currents. For this reason, less light is able to get through the water and vision can be dimmed by murky water.
Wear Foot Gear
When diving in salt water most divers do not worry about bringing or wearing footgear, but they are also carried out by boat to the dive site. In fresh water locations, you often walk to the dive site, or walk into the water to begin your dive. The same pollution can be found on lake beds or hidden in the shoreline, so it is often expected and advisable that you wear protective foot gear.
Maintain Neutral Buoyancy
It is important to be extra aware of your buoyancy and that of the items you bring with you on a fresh water dive. Unlike saltwater dives, many items that you would expect to float will sink in freshwater bodies. Your buoyancy levels will be different as well if you are used to diving in salt water, because the new environment will require you to wear and carry different gear, making you heavier than normal. Make sure you complete a thorough buoyancy check when you begin your dive and maintain neutral buoyancy for a successful dive.
Keep Track of Your Surroundings and Starting Point
Unlike saltwater dives, when you dive in fresh water you are not going to be taken out by boat, but are going to enter the water from a fixed spot. Exploring an area will include keeping track of your underwater surroundings and your starting point so that you know how to get back to where you started. No matter what, you are going to need to find a way back, so whether it is underwater or by land, keeping a general idea of how far and in what direction you came from is key to returning safely. Mental notes and a compass are the best tools to get the job done.
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