Underwater navigation compass

Underwater navigation during diving

Divers who have not wet their equipment for years do not always understand the importance of refreshing their knowledge about underwater navigation. Although the “dive back” programs touch on the basics of navigation. The trend among divers returning to the water after a long time is actually to repeat the underwater orientation course. Because they believe it involves some of the most important skills they have ever learned.

Learn and understand underwater navigation

Like for many other diving skills, practice is what will make you a competent navigator and give you a wider choice of diving opportunities. But whether you learn these skills in the classroom or from time potentially risky mistakes is up to you. What we have is to give you a brief overview of things you may miss and try to prevent mistakes that could cost you dearly. 

Underwater navigation markers

When choosing natural navigation markers, it’s okay to be picky! Don’t choose one big feature like a huge brain-shaped coral or sand grooves. Use this great feature as a starting point, then find something small and inconspicuous like a stone with two tubular sponges on one side and a barrel-shape on the other. Spend some time to select the marker. You may think you’ve found a really unique feature, but then you start to see that feature everywhere, which is not good. 

heart shape reef

Don’t just rely on a compass for underwater navigation

Your diving compass is a great tool, but it is based on the assumption that the user places it and uses it correctly, which is often the cause of errors. Using a diving compass is not much different than blind-tracking a smartphone. Because, although the phone GPS relies on user input, it can still get us out of the way if we do not visually compare the environment to what the device tells us. Accordingly, we need to be vigilant in our underwater environment. 

Remember, digital compasses need to be recalibrated often

Just as our computers rely on us to install regular updates, so does the digital compass need recalibration. This must be done when the compass function is frozen. Less obvious data that indicates the need for calibration requires checking the compass settings, which is an easy thing to do before each dive. It is better to waste a few moments by checking it, than the rescue service to spend hours on finding a lost diver.

Set up your compass before diving!

You don’t want to get to the bottom and turn in the unwanted direction. To avoid this, set the compass point toward the shore before diving.

Monitor your air consumption

Consider monitoring air consumption rather than “shock cycles”!  Air consumption is the most important thing to keep an eye on. Tracking the impact cycles (counting each swing of your right or left leg) becomes much more difficult when sea current is involved in the dive. 100 swings when swimming down the current will not bring you to the same place as 100 swings swimming against the current. So try to keep track of how much air you are consuming. Of course, you also need to monitor the depth. Because at higher depths you will consume more air. 

With the realization that science is not always accurate, it is becoming increasingly clear that practice is extremely vital. But with the time spent in the classroom, the time it takes to acquire skills is drastically reduced.

Thanks for reading! Check out a few awesome tips for good care and maintenance of your diving equipment.

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