Pre-Dive Buddy Check is a Must for Every Dive!

It’s a beautiful day on Maui, just perfect for another lovely dive at Ulua Beach! My buddy Dale and I are all geared up and do our buddy check, the famous BWRAF “Begin With Review And Friend”. It is sometimes also referred to as “Big Whales Really Are Fun”, “Big White Rabbits Are Fluffy”, “Because We Really Aren’t Fish” and “Bruce Willis Ruins/Rules/Rocks All Films”, as well as many other fun renditions.

When Dale asks me if I have my fins, I say “Yep! They are leaning right there on the fence!” We get into the water and I realize that I have left my fins leaning on the fence!

To avoid having to delay the dive, or worse, to abort the dive, it is recommended that when doing a buddy check you each have everything on you, attached to your gear, in your hands, and ready to enter the water. I also end the check by looking around to make sure nothing is left on the ground, such as a flag, camera, or light.

Here is a review of BWRAF from PADI’s Open Water Diver Manual, and remember you are doing this check on your buddy:

Begin-B=BCD: Make sure it is adjusted properly, you know how to operate it, the low pressure inflator hose is properly connected to the inflator mechanism, and that the tank is firmly strapped in. Always hit the inflator button for a short burst to see that it is working properly. If it is not a negative buoyant entry, partially inflate the BCD. Check that visual and audio signaling devices are in place and in working order.

With-W=Weight: Ensure the amount of weight is correct, and is distributed properly. Also be sure that weight pockets and/or weight belt is secured, and can be easily released using the quick release system. You need to know how to release your buddy’s weights and they need to know how to release yours.

Review-R=Releases: Check all releases, make sure they are secure, and that you understand how they work. These can include sternum straps, shoulder straps, and belly bands. Don’t forget the tank release!

buddy check

And-A=Air: Have your buddy take several breathes from their regulator, in and out, as you watch the SPG (digital or analog) to ensure the tank is full and the valve is fully turned on. The needle on the SPG should not move, and if you’re looking at an air-integrated computer, the air pressure number should decrease by only a few pounds per breath.  During this portion of the check, it is very important that you combine the looking at the gauge with the breathing from the regulator.  If you do only one of these, it is possible that you could think your air is on when it isn’t. Test your buddy’s alternate, and practice with it so you know how to use the system properly if needed.

Friend-F=Final Check: Secure all loose hoses, consoles, lights, cameras, etc. Make sure wetsuits are zipped, hoses aren’t tangled.  See that your buddy is holding mask, snorkel, and fins, and ready to enter the water.

By following the BWRAF method before every dive, you can ensure that you and your buddy can enjoy a safe, fun dive!

And…if you’ve ever forgotten to do this, I bet you have some interesting comments to share (so put ’em here)!

Aloha, Teri