3) …KEEPS IN PRACTICE
Good divers are always alert for apparently minor events that might lead to more serious situations, and have the presence of mind to pause when they perceive an incipient emergency.
They then decide quickly if the apparent threat may be genuine and, if so, they have the discipline and courage to break the chain, call the dive team together and abort the dive, to live to do it again another day.
They do this even though they know this may lead to criticism from others in the dive-team, especially if it turns out, after the fact, that there was no significant threat.
Cave-divers have a useful rule designed to eliminate fear of recrimination, and it saves lives. This rule is that any diver can abort any dive at any time for any reason without having to explain themselves to anyone.
When one member of a dive-team gives the up signal or turn signal, the rest of the team acknowledges and complies immediately, no questions asked, either at the time or subsequently.
It doesn’t matter if the threat to safety was real or simply imagined. For example, a diver might abort a dive simply as a result of misreading a contents gauge.
The thinking is that if one member of the team believes there is a safety risk, then that belief in itself is enough to put the team in danger if the dive continues.
Good divers know that, the more frequently they dive, the more in tune they are with their equipment, their skills and the diving environment.
Divers operating well within their comfort zone are much more relaxed, confident and able to deal with any curve-balls that the gremlins of the sea might throw their way.
An easy way to stay dive-fit is to join a club or a local dive-centre that keeps divers active year-round by organising pool sessions or beach dives. These are often no-pressure, low-cost occasions where divers can hone their skills and improve.
There will often be more experienced divers and professionals around to offer advice if you ask, although, in some clubs, be prepared for well-meaning advice to be forthcoming whether you have asked for it or not!