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Top 10 worst diving habits you need to stop now


worst diving habits

Today, we’re looking at my Top 10 Worst Diving Habits. These aren’t necessarily my personal worst diving habits, although I have certainly done some of these in my diving career. These are just a handful of things I’ve seen around dive sites that really need to stop. While some might seem innocuous, in certain circumstances and combined, they can lead to divers getting badly hurt. There’s no shame here; we’re all here to learn and have fun. So, if you recognize yourself in any of these categories, just consider the effects and think about correcting that bad habit.


1. Skipping the Buddy Check

This is by far the most common bad habit that scuba divers do—or don’t do. Buddy checks are there for a reason. Yes, they can get repetitive real fast, but they play a crucial role in scuba diving. Think about it like this: You wouldn’t fly on a plane if they checked it as infrequently as you check your dive gear. Always run through everything with your buddy and ensure that your ABCs are working:

  • A for Air: Check your tank valve is open and you can breathe from your regulators.
  • B for Buoyancy: Ensure your BCD inflates and deflates.
  • C for Clips: Check that everything is secured properly and won’t fall off as soon as you jump in the water.
worst scuba diving habits
One of the worst scuba diving habits is skipping your buddy checks

2. Diving Beyond Your Training

This is the Dunning-Kruger effect or the modern ‘”‘F around and find out’. Thinking, ‘”‘I’ll just go a little bit deeper’, can lead to dangerous situations. There’s a reason for depth restrictions and specialty courses. Your introductory course qualifies you to around 18m, the next level to 30m, and so on. If you routinely go deeper without proper training or equipment, you risk getting hurt and voiding your insurance.

3. Bumping Into Things

One of the primary things divers should be taught is not to touch anything underwater. Yet, some divers still bump into or pick up things underwater, causing potential harm to themselves and the environment. Always be mindful of your surroundings to avoid damaging delicate marine life and putting yourself at risk.

4. Swimming Upright

Many divers swim head-up, causing constant changes in depth and more drag. Practice swimming horizontally by laying on a bench to get used to the proper position. Adjust your lead weight to help maintain this position underwater, reducing effort and increasing efficiency.

worst scuba diving habits
It is better to be more horizontal in the water

5. Diving as Deep as Possible

During the dive brief, you’re told the maximum depth for the dive. However, many divers dive straight to the maximum depth, leading to faster gas consumption. Instead, stay at a shallower depth if there’s nothing to see down deep. It’s warmer, brighter, and you’ll conserve air.

6. Letting Line Slack

Ropes and lines underwater can be hazardous. Keep your line taught when dealing with a reel or spool. Slacking lines can lead to tangles, especially around cylinder valves. When ascending with a dSMB, wind the line properly to avoid tangles.

worst scuba diving habits
Don’t let out too much line – it can be a serious snagging hazard

7. Surfacing ASAP

Some divers race to the surface as soon as their dive computer’s safety stop countdown ends. Dive computers are approximations and can’t account for individual differences. If you still have air, stay at the stop a bit longer to reduce the risk of decompression illness.

8. Gear Rejection

Many divers immediately remove their masks and regulators upon surfacing. This can lead to losing equipment and potential safety hazards. Keep your mask on and regulator in until you’re safely out of the water to protect yourself and your gear.

worst scuba diving habits
Don’t take off your mask and drop your regulator as soon as you hit the surface

9. Living Through the Viewfinder

While capturing underwater footage is great, don’t spend the entire dive with your eye glued to the viewfinder. It disrupts other divers and limits your experience of the underwater world. Enjoy the dive and take occasional shots instead.

10. Precarious Equipment Placement

Leaving heavy dive equipment standing on benches is dangerous. Cylinders should be laid down to prevent them from falling over and damaging equipment or injuring someone. Always place your gear securely to avoid accidents.


Most of these habits are about being diligent and prudent. Running through your buddy check, avoiding unnecessary risks, and properly handling your gear can prevent accidents and make your diving experience more enjoyable.

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Picture of Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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