WHY IT HAPPENS
When you first learn to dive, you are given a routine to follow in the form of the buddy-check system. It is usually presented as an acronym, which changes from training agency to training agency, designed to help you remember what to do to make sure your buddy has made all the necessary preparations for the dive.
At that point in your diving life, it seems inconceivable that anyone would ever go into the water without double- or even triple-checking everything.
However, for most people, it’s not long after your initial training before your confidence grows and the buddy-
You never forget the acronym but you quickly neglect the process that it was supposed to help you remember. You become comfortable with doing your own checks and you know that, as long as you concentrate, you’re completely capable of preparing for your own dive without help.
After a while, you stop concentrating because you assume that you’re now so experienced that the process has become instinctive. Then you get distracted, and that’s the moment you forget something.
Yes, you feel stupid and yes, you swear you’ll never repeat your mistake and, maybe, like Darren, you decide you need to replace the anxiety-driven attention to detail that made sure you were prepared in the early days with something else.
You may not go to the lengths he went to and write down the details on a slate, but you will probably end up doing what almost all experienced divers do and convert your pre-dive preparations into an established routine.
I see veteran divers and professionals doing this on dive-boats all over the world. Some might even claim, on being questioned, that they do not have a fixed routine. But they do. They have a list in their head and they follow exactly the same sequence of actions before every dive, minutely.
Adopt a routine: it matters!