What about the prevalence of seven-gill sharks showing up? They’ve been an increasing problem in San Diego County and often weigh several hundred pounds. In addition to inadvertently getting bit while retrieving your fish, they present the more likely danger of line entanglement; Ditto for sea lions. The bottom line is that it all plays into safety and you cannot underestimate the situation.

Think ahead
I can’t give you an absolute on how to handle each situation other than to think ahead, be mindful of the possibilities. Anticipate the dangers and have a mental plan in place on how you can minimize these threats should you encounter them. Remember, complacency kills!

Surface interval time
Very important issue; surface interval time. Before Suunto style watches, we simply held our hand across our chest and waited until our heart rate was sufficiently reduced. Today, I dive with a Suunto watch and carefully monitor my submerged and surface interval times. Everything else being equal, I like to keep my surface interval times at least twice my submerged time when diving below 30’. If I’m diving 50-60’, it’s around 5 minutes. This is MY comfort zone – You need to figure out what YOUR safe submerged and surface interval times should be based on your health, experience, and comfort level.

I hope some of these safety considerations have caused you to reflect upon how much you can improve the safety of your diving. Remember, your family, friends, and dive community do not want any of us to become another statistic. Be prepared, dive smart!

As always, DIVE SAFE!

John Carpenter
Current member and past president, Long Beach Neptunes

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