Spearfishing safety is an important topic as without necessary training and caution, there are dangers that exist whilst spearfishing that can quickly change a fun weekend into a tragedy. Here are some important spearfishing safety tips to ensure you are safe whenever spearfishing or scuba diving. Remember spearfishing safety isn’t about eradicating all the risks, rather minimising them.
Never Dive Alone
This spearfishing safety precaution should never be overlooked or ignored as it is the basis for freediving safety. Diving with a partner helps minimise risk and greatly increases your chances of survival should something unexpected occur whilst spearfishing or freediving.
This doesn’t simply mean you enter and leave the water together...rather it’s important for spearfishing safety that you stay together whilst underwater. Most scuba diving accidents happen when someone else is in the water, however they aren’t paying attention or are off exploring another area. There is no point in having a dive buddy if they can not see you!!!
The Buddy System
The buddy system is a facet of spearfishing safety that involves two people, one underwater and one above water. The diver on the surface is responsible for looking after and protecting the diver who is currently underwater spearfishing. Try to keep the diver in sight whenever possible, however at times if visibility is poor then following the surface float marker is fine.
When diving at depths deeper than 20 meters, it’s good spearfishing safety practice to signal the surface diver with the ok signal so that your dive buddy knows that you are alright.
Becoming a Good Dive Buddy
What does it take to be a good dive buddy? Well at a minimum the basics including how to handle a blackout. Basic first aid training is a great addition to your spearfishing safety arsenal and could prove invaluable somewhere down the track. Not everyone feels the need to invest in one of these courses, however all divers must know what to do if their partner falls unconscious. Some of the quick basics include:
- Always keep your dive buddy in sight
- When your dive buddy reaches the surface, check that they are okay with a simple “okay” hand signal
- If your buddy does black out, they will likely do so in the last 10m of their ascent
- If you see your buddy unexpectedly halt, begin to fit, blow bubbles, or sink retrieve them immediately
- Always have a quick release weight belt
- Bring your buddy to the surface, remove their mask (do not throw it away, just sling it over your wrist as they will be wanting to know where it is when they come to!)
- Lightly blow on their face, tap their cheeks and calmly say their name – usually, this will be enough to bring them back
- Do not yell at them or show your distress as they will feel unsafe and less likely to gain consciousness
- Failing this, get your buddy to the boat or shore or somewhere you can administer CPR