How not to look like a beginner when you start diving

In life, starting something new is never easy. Whether it’s starting the flute, skateboarding, or speaking a new language, it takes a lot of practice, but practice is how we learn and improve. Making a mistake is part of the process and is often what allows us to learn faster since we can correct ourselves based on fixing our issues. Nobody is perfect and just remind yourself that everyone has to start somewhere. There is nothing wrong with being a beginner and, on the contrary, it’s good to explore new things and to get out of your comfort zone! Diving is not an exception to the rule and it takes effort to progress as a diver. No need to take yourself seriously, we can just dive and have fun. Believe me, there is nothing wrong with being a beginner, but in the meantime, here are some tips on how not to look it too much.

Avoid Putting Your Mask on Your Forehead

Putting your mask on your forehead is a little controversial because it’s a reflex, and PADI tries to teach its students during the rescue course and beyond to be alert to the signs of panic. Putting your mask on your forehead without necessarily being in a panic could lead to a DM or Instructor asking you to put it on your neck to see that you react and understand you’re in possession of all your means. Beyond that, having your mask on your neck rather than your head will make it harder for it to become lost in a wave.

Put your Cap on your First Stage

When you finish using your regulator, you should create a habit out of putting the cap on your regulator’s first stage so that it isn’t exposed to the outside. This means that no moisture, which can deteriorate the inside, can get in, and rust cannot form. That being said, some regulators are environmentally-sealed or waterproof and they cannot be damaged by water coming in, but it’s still worth it to put the cap on. It only takes two seconds. You may be told to do it by the store if you rent equipment and forget it.

Turn Your Wetsuit Out The Right Way

Putting on a wetsuit for the first time can be difficult, as it is not the easiest piece of equipment to put on. Unlike most of our clothing that have zippers in front, wetsuits have zippers in the back, so make sure it’s turned out the right way next time you take it off.

Remove Air from your BCD by Lifting the Direct System

In diving, there are many things to remember at the beginning and it’s normal to need some time to navigate. When you want to empty your BCD, the jacket that controls your buoyancy, it’s important to lift your Direct System, the hose on the left of your chest, to the highest point. Otherwise, the air will not come out because it will go back to the surface. If you put your Direct System down, you won’t be able to remove air from your BCD. Just remember it as you go, and it won’t be long before it’s a reflex.

Close Your Drysuit Zipper

Closing the zipper of your drysuit may seem silly to mention, but it’s happened often enough where a diver gets in the water just to end the dive immediately because it was open. That’s why it’s important to check with your partner to make sure everything is in order before jumping into the water. Just ask your buddy for help to close the zipper and be attentive to what’s going on.

Don’t Always Use Your Direct System

When I started diving, I tended use my Direct System to remove air from my BCD every single time I wanted to go up or down even a tiny bit. It’s not necessary! Once you have established your neutral buoyancy at the bottom, you can go up and down a little using only your breathing and propelling yourself with your fins. It’s not always easy, but it’s easier to dive and it’s worth trying to use your Direct System as little as possible.

Prepare your Mask Before Diving

When you start scuba diving, there’s a good chance that you’ll have bought a brand new mask. If you didn’t already know, you have to prepare it by treating it to remove a thin layer of wax that is used to preserve it. You can do this with rubbing it with toothpaste and your finger, or with a special product such as Sea Buff. Subsequently, you have to use an anti-fog, like Sea Drop, by putting a drop on each lens on the inside and letting it dry for a few minutes. When you get to the water, rinse your mask and put it on. Try not to remove it to prevent moisture from entering and fogging up your mask. You can still use your saliva, but it becomes it’s effective and if you use it make sure to rinse your mask after diving to prevent fungi from developing.

Empty Your Mask During Dives

If you’re diving and you have water or mist in your mask, don’t wait until it goes away all on its own. Just empty your mask by applying pressure on the upper part of your forehead, tilting your head upward, and exhaling through your nose. If you have fog in your mask and can’t see anything, just repeat the motion after letting a bit of water circulate in your mask to remove it.

Equalize Your Ears and Sinuses Early and Frequently

While diving, it is important to keep pace with your sinuses. Balancing both early and frequently helps avoid complications with your ears. You should get in the habit of equalizing on the surface as well, just before descending, to make it easier to dive. If your ears hurt or you can’t seem to balance them, do not force it! Stop, go up a little, and try again. If you still can’t balance, go back up. A failed dive is better than a dive-free month because of an injury that could easily have been avoided. When diving, it’s important to listen to your body and keep pace.

Never Empty Your Bottle

It’s also important to keep an eye on how much air is left in your tank while diving. But you have to keep in mind that you can’t plan to stop at 0 psi. You should follow the one-third rule. Use one third of your air to go down, and another third to come back, and the last third to get you out of any unforeseen circumstances. It’s a great habit to get into since safe divers always know their limits.

Absorb Everything You Can

When you begin your dive, you become surrounded by a new world. Remember your surroundings and experiences, and absorb information so that you know how to be a better diver on your next descent.


Since 1975, Total Diving has continued to provide exceptional services to the scuba diving community. We are the Canadian leaders in diving, and have been Aqua Lung and Apeks’ #1 retailer for the last four years. Our online store provides you with everything you need, without having to come by our signature flagship location in Montreal. As a diving school, we teach our students with great care, and as a world-renowned PADI Career Development Centre, we develop outstanding instructors and divemasters. Stay up to date with diving news, products, and the Total Diving community by reading our blogs. We aren’t just a store, we’re a family that only gets bigger with each new diver.

Alexandre Goudreau
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