When getting certified for scuba diving there are often a lot of questions about the sport. These include, how deep can divers dive without scuba gear, what’s the best scuba gear to buy, and possibly one of the most common questions, why do scuba divers go in backward off of the boat.
If you have ever asked the common question highlighted in the title above, you may have heard the phrase/joke that experienced divers are quick to respond with of “divers roll backward so they don’t roll into the boat”
As funny as it is, it doesn’t really explain why all divers dive in backward, does it? If you are still feeling in the dark about the reasons why then stick with us as we look at this subject in a lot more detail.
Why do Divers Dive Backwards?
Why do Divers Dive Backwards?: There are a few reasons why divers dive backwards, it helps keep the boat stable, gives you more control over your dive gear and also is better for your body. In this article, we will cover how divers dive backwards and also the reasons why they do so.
Why is this the Popular Way to Enter the Water? There are a number of good reasons why divers use this method?
1. Helps Keep the Boat Stable
If you are diving from a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) or a similar small boat, backward rolling is the best option. The reason being that smaller boars like these have gunwales are less sturdy, which means you are unable to simply stand up and dive into the water.
Another aspect to consider is the effect getting off the boat is going to have on the boat. For a less dramatic and unsteady rock, use the backward roll.
2. Better for Your Body
Regardless of how far you are falling, falling onto your back is easier on your body. Especially when you have a heavy pack and tank too.
4. Gives You More Control Over Your Diving Gear
You can protect your gear and equipment when you are rolling in backward. It also means you avoid getting water in your mask, an all-too-common occurrence if you go headfirst into the water.
As diving is a hugely personal experience, it is important that you find the right method of entering the water that works best for you. In our humble opinion, like so many other divers, we recommend using the backward roll, and if you are not going to do the backward roll that you try the seated entry or the giant stride.
How to Dive Backwards from a Boat
Interestingly, the backward roll only works if the boat you are launching from is only three to four inches or less from the water’s surface. Any more than that and the physics just don’t work. After getting your gear on, you need to sit at the gunwale facing away from the water. You then need to make sure the area you are rolling backward into is completely clear.
You then use your right hand on the regulator to secure it while the fingertips hold your dive goggles or mask in place. That leaves your left hand free to secure any hoses that are dangling and loose or secure your facemask, any strapping you have over your head towards the back. Failing that, if you don’t need it for anything else you could just put it at your side.
Now tuck your head and chin into your chest and allow yourself to fall back into the water. Once you are under the water, let yourself acclimatize and then signal to the team on the boat that you are okay, using hand signals.
Going in backwards is probably the most common way for divers to enter the water, however, this isn’t the only way to dive off of a boat. Depending on the type of boat and water environment, diving access can vary.