Top 10 Pro Diver Skills & Traits

Last Updated on June 8, 2024 by Steve Weinman

Want to elevate your diving game? I just completed an HSE Scuba Course with Commercial Diver Training, and I thought it’d be fun to share the top 10 habits of pro divers that you can adopt to improve your skills both in and out of the water. Let’s dive into those skills and traits!

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Check Their Gear

The first thing that pro scuba divers do is check their gear, meticulously. Our breathing apparatus and buoyancy devices are the only thing that separate us from freedivers. Some of my best friends are freedivers, but one thing that you’ll find all top-tier divers do is check over and look after their equipment.

If you thought pre-dive buddy checks were long you should try the HSE commercial checks. But the pre-dive checks are there so that you and your buddy are 100% sure that everything is working properly, well before you even step towards the water.

Top 10 Pro Skills: Check your gear
Top 10 Pro Skills: Check your gear

It all starts with investing in their own equipment. The equipment that a diver uses evolves as they gain experience. Each piece of gear is carefully selected, not just for how it looks but for how it works. And when they do invest in gear, they look after it.

Equipment lasts so much longer and works better when you give it a good wash between dives. Store it properly, get it serviced appropriately and check it over between dives, right before a dive and after dives. There’s never a time when checking over your gear is a bad idea.

Always Honest

Honesty really is the best policy, especially when it comes to scuba diving. I’ve seen far too many divers signal that everything is OK when their pressure gauge says otherwise.

If you’re low on gas, then you’re low on gas. There’s no shame in it but, if your buddy or the rest of the group believe that you have much more gas than you actually have then, should something go wrong, you’re all in trouble.

Top 10 Pro Skills: Be honest
Top 10 Pro Skills: Be honest

Similarly, if you don’t feel up to a dive the most pro diver thing that you can do is to call it off. Best case scenario if you’re feeling rough or sea conditions are rough is that you’re going to have a rubbish dive. Worst case, you, or somebody else, could get into trouble because you’re not at 100%.

If you don’t like the look of a piece of equipment, mention it. Try not to hold anything in, unless you’re in a drysuit on a long dive, hold that in as best you can, but if you’re worried about something just tell somebody. Scuba divers are nice and honest about most things. Except peeing in wetsuits – divers will lie about whether they do that or not.

Clear Communication

Miscommunication can easily lead to mistakes and accidents. Both in and out of the water, it’s much better if you are very clear and concise about what you are trying to say. And slow down. You’re not the sign language person at an Eminem show. If you’re showing a hand signal, show it and hold it for a second or two so that your buddy can actually see it before you move onto the next sign.

Think about what your buddy can actually see. If you’re holding your black glove in front of your black wetsuit, they might not see the hand signal properly. Hold it out towards them or get some brighter gloves that contrast with what you’re wearing.

Top 10 Pro Skills: Communicate clearly
Top 10 Pro Skills: Communicate clearly

Another aspect is that messages received should be repeated to make sure that the recipient has understood correctly. It can feel a bit repetitive but when somebody says something important to you, just repeat the important part back.

The same with hand signals: repeat the message you see. That way if it’s different, the sender knows to repeat or get closer so you can actually see the signal. But, if you don’t know, don’t just throw up an OK and turn away – say I don’t know and they can try to say it again.

Always Prepared

As scuba divers, you can never prepare and plan too much. If you forget something you can’t just pop back to the surface to grab it. You either have to continue the dive without it, scolding yourself for the rest of the dive for forgetting it, or abort the dive because it’s critical.

A day or two beforehand, think about everything that you’re going to need and pack it. Go through the entire day in your mind and think about what you might need to bring, just in case that thing breaks. Plan your dive and share that plan with the group, or at least your buddy.

Top 10 Pro Skills: Be prepared
Top 10 Pro Skills: Be prepared

The old adage is ‘plan the dive and dive the plan’. Before the dive, tell Steven that we’re going to enter the water here. If you have a map, perfect, if not, at least point so that everybody has a reference. We’re then going to head over here, we’re going to do this, which requires this tool, then we’re going to do that, surface around here and exit the water there.

That way, should you get separated, as long as Steven was paying attention you’ll know where they might be and you’ll remember to bring the right tool.

Self-Sufficient

Pro divers will always dive, or be prepared to dive, as if they are going to be alone. Should something happen, a pro diver will have everything they need on them to fix the problem without relying on their buddy. If their buddy is right there with them, great – an extra pair of hands! However, in the unlikely event of a separation, you should be able to handle anything all by yourself.

Top 10 Pro Skills: Be self-sufficient
Top 10 Pro Skills: Be self-sufficient

That means carrying a range of equipment and back-up equipment as well. For some dives it can feel quite excessive to carry so much gear, but you need to bring what you might reasonably need. And be able to use it properly.

If your buddy is always the one who sends up a DSMB, ask if you can so that you get the practice in. Set up your own dive-gear. Try to do as much yourself as possible, because your buddy might not always be there to do it for you.

Routines

Routines are really useful to build a repertoire and help prevent you from missing anything out. That’s why acronyms like BWRAF [BC, Weights, Releases, Air, Final OK]. are drilled into you so much from the first course to try to get you into a routine of checking your and your buddy’s equipment.

When you do things automatically as part of a routine there’s less chance of missing something out. If you’re a list person, write that list down and tick it through as you go. Even something as simple as making sure that your mask and fins are ready before you put your BC on.

Top 10 Pro Skills: Be methodical
Top 10 Pro Skills: Be methodical

After you’ve had to kneel down when fully kitted-up to get your mask from the floor a half dozen times, you soon learn to make your own life as easy as possible and build some routines to prepare your kit.

Make sure that your BC hose is fitted before your pressurise the cylinder. Pressurise the cylinder well before the dive, before you’re in your wetsuit, to check that it’s actually full and you haven’t strapped an empty to your BC and now you have to swap it over in a sweaty wetsuit while everybody waits for you.

Calm

One of the most common characteristics of a pro diver is being calm under pressure. Now, this typically comes with experience. The more things that go wrong in front of you, the less likely you are to freak out the next time something happens, unless you’re the one that’s causing all of the problems.

But if you’ve seen an O-ring blow a bunch of times, you’re less likely to freeze and you’re going to jump to fix the problem. Or, better yet, see the signs leading up to it and prevent it from blowing in the first place.

If you can work to keep a level head when something goes wrong then you can think clearly and consider all your options instead of rushing to do the first thing that comes to mind. Stay calm and diagnose what you have in front of you and the best course of action.

A level head is a diver’s most important tool. And being able to control your breathing will make a big change to this. If you’re huffing and puffing, you need to slow down so you don’t reach hypercapnia.

Enthusiasm

One thing that will indirectly make you a better  diver is a bit of enthusiasm. Especially if you’re planning on becoming an instructor, you‘ll  notice that a lot of the best instructors, or at least the ones that students love, will be fun and bouncy, even if it is a bit of an act.

But if you‘re good fun to be around, then you’ll be  invited on more dive trips, you’re going to gain experience and grow to become a better diver. Just remember to have fun while scuba diving, it makes those early mornings and slipping into that soggy wetsuit on dive two a bit brighter if you’re more enthusiastic.

We’re still struggling with the diving community being viewed as only older blokes with beards, which can put off some new divers. But if they step on a dive-boat and find a bunch of fun people on  board, they’re more likely to come back.  

Frog-Kick

The frog-kick is probably the most practical and efficient fin kick style for scuba diving. If frogs are doing it, then it must be good. Unlike other fin-kicks, it keeps your fins nice and tight, so it s great in confined spaces. And it keeps your wash straight behind you, so you re less likely to kick up silt. It also uses powerful muscles in your legs and you get plenty of power.

Top 10 Pro Skills: use the frog-kick
Top 10 Pro Skills: Use the frog-kick

One of the better things about the frog-kick is that it gives you good control in the water and not just going forwards. With a frog-kick position you can rotate on the spot with a helicopter turn and also swim backwards.

Most divers when they start out use a flutter-kick, the most similar to what your legs do when you’re taught to swim. But you can look at a group of divers and pick out the pros because while everybody else is doing a version of this, the pros are just cruising doing frog-kicks.

Know Your Limits

A pro diver will know and stick to their limits. Diving just that little bit deeper, making your dive-computer less conservative, surfacing as soon as the timer is up on your computer, swimming into overhead environments without  the proper training or equipment – these are  really easy ways to find yourself in trouble and  pro divers know and respect their own limits.  

Top 10 Pro Skills: Know your limits
Top 10 Pro Skills: Know your limits

It can be right at the start of the dive during  the briefing. If there’s something you don’t feel comfortable with, voice it then and there. When you‘re in the water, if your buddy suddenly decides to swim into the wreck when that isn’t  part of the plan, have the confidence to tell them no. You could literally be saving their life.

What other pro diver traits and skills have you seen or adopted that have made you a better scuba diver? It can be something as simple as a particular knot you learnt to tie to  secure your cylinders from rolling around, or investing in more drybags to keep your kit dry.

Remember to check out scuba.com, because it has a huge amount of dive gear on its website. Safe diving.

This week, it looks like DPV manufacturer ScubaJet has begun insolvency proceedings. PADI has distributed half a million dollars in their Project Aware campaign. Dorset coastguard have called off the search for a missing diver. And the Pearl Fleet has commented on a viral video of a shark-dive that didn’t go so well
https://taucher.net/diveinside-insolvency_proceedings_at_scubajet-kaz9246
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/conservation/padi-aware-distributes-500k-in-mission-hub-grants/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/raid-launches-ots-full-face-mask-programme/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/dorset-coastguard-call-off-search-for-diver/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/search-for-diver-off-dorset-stood-down/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/pearl-fleet-hits-back-as-maldives-shark-dive-slammed/
Diving Into The Darkness Link:
https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/mzsd


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We partner with https://www.scuba.com and https://www.mikesdivestore.com for all your gear essentials. Consider using the affiliate link above to support the channel.

The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

This week, it looks like DPV manufacturer ScubaJet has begun insolvency proceedings. PADI has distributed half a million dollars in their Project Aware campaign. Dorset coastguard have called off the search for a missing diver. And the Pearl Fleet has commented on a viral video of a shark-dive that didn’t go so well
https://taucher.net/diveinside-insolvency_proceedings_at_scubajet-kaz9246
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/conservation/padi-aware-distributes-500k-in-mission-hub-grants/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/raid-launches-ots-full-face-mask-programme/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/dorset-coastguard-call-off-search-for-diver/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/search-for-diver-off-dorset-stood-down/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/pearl-fleet-hits-back-as-maldives-shark-dive-slammed/
Diving Into The Darkness Link:
https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/mzsd


Become a fan: https://www.scubadivermag.com/join
Gear Purchases: https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/dive-gear
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OUR WEBSITES

Website: https://www.scubadivermag.com ➡️ Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Scuba Gear Reviews
Website: https://www.divernet.com ➡️ Scuba News, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Travel Reports
Website: https://www.godivingshow.com ➡️ The Only Dive Show in the United Kingdom
Website: https://www.rorkmedia.com ➡️ For advertising within our brands
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FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/scubadivermag
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We partner with https://www.scuba.com and https://www.mikesdivestore.com for all your gear essentials. Consider using the affiliate link above to support the channel.

The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

YouTube Video UEw2X2VCMS1KYWdWbXFQSGV1YW84WVRHb2pFNkl3WlRSZS5GNzRBRjZBMTFFRDU2OERD

Missing Diver Search Called Off #scuba #news #podcast

@preethasebastian8921
Sharks and Yum Yum Yellow. What are your thoughts? #askmark
#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
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Website: https://www.scubadivermag.com ➡️ Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Scuba Gear Reviews
Website: https://www.divernet.com ➡️ Scuba News, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Travel Reports
Website: https://www.godivingshow.com ➡️ The Only Dive Show in the United Kingdom
Website: https://www.rorkmedia.com ➡️ For advertising within our brands
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We partner with https://www.scuba.com and https://www.mikesdivestore.com for all your gear essentials. Consider using the affiliate link above to support the channel.

The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

@preethasebastian8921
Sharks and Yum Yum Yellow. What are your thoughts? #askmark
#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
LINKS

Become a fan: https://www.scubadivermag.com/join
Gear Purchases: https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/dive-gear
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OUR WEBSITES

Website: https://www.scubadivermag.com ➡️ Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Scuba Gear Reviews
Website: https://www.divernet.com ➡️ Scuba News, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Travel Reports
Website: https://www.godivingshow.com ➡️ The Only Dive Show in the United Kingdom
Website: https://www.rorkmedia.com ➡️ For advertising within our brands
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FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/scubadivermag
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We partner with https://www.scuba.com and https://www.mikesdivestore.com for all your gear essentials. Consider using the affiliate link above to support the channel.

The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

YouTube Video UEw2X2VCMS1KYWdWbXFQSGV1YW84WVRHb2pFNkl3WlRSZS4zMzg4MjBBNzZCQzY5MDk4

Are Sharks Attracted to the Colour Yellow? #AskMark

Diving Into The Darkness Website:
https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/mzsd

@emilyZA460
#AskMark hi! I was hoping you could help me understand the interchangeability of a DSMB and a simple SMB if I only plan to use it when I deploy it during my safety stop at 5 meters. I used the simple version for this purpose during my last liveaboard and despite occasionally having to reinflate at the surface due to some air escaping while being deployed underwater, it didn’t seem to be too problematic and so I was wondering if it’s necessary to have a DSMB for this purpose? The issue for me is that somehow I tend to end up misplacing my SMB quite often and so the price difference between the two makes it a more acceptable loss when it’s replacing the SMB regularly rather than the DSMB at double the cost
#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
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Become a fan: https://www.scubadivermag.com/join
Gear Purchases: https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/dive-gear 
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OUR WEBSITES

Website: https://www.scubadivermag.com ➡️ Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Scuba Gear Reviews
Website: https://www.divernet.com ➡️ Scuba News, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Travel Reports
Website: https://www.godivingshow.com ➡️ The Only Dive Show in the United Kingdom
Website: https://www.rorkmedia.com ➡️ For advertising within our brands
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/scubadivermag
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We partner with https://www.scuba.com and https://www.mikesdivestore.com for all your gear essentials. Consider using the affiliate link above to support the channel.

The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

Diving Into The Darkness Website:
https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/mzsd

@emilyZA460
#AskMark hi! I was hoping you could help me understand the interchangeability of a DSMB and a simple SMB if I only plan to use it when I deploy it during my safety stop at 5 meters. I used the simple version for this purpose during my last liveaboard and despite occasionally having to reinflate at the surface due to some air escaping while being deployed underwater, it didn’t seem to be too problematic and so I was wondering if it’s necessary to have a DSMB for this purpose? The issue for me is that somehow I tend to end up misplacing my SMB quite often and so the price difference between the two makes it a more acceptable loss when it’s replacing the SMB regularly rather than the DSMB at double the cost
#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
LINKS

Become a fan: https://www.scubadivermag.com/join
Gear Purchases: https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/dive-gear
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OUR WEBSITES

Website: https://www.scubadivermag.com ➡️ Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Scuba Gear Reviews
Website: https://www.divernet.com ➡️ Scuba News, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Travel Reports
Website: https://www.godivingshow.com ➡️ The Only Dive Show in the United Kingdom
Website: https://www.rorkmedia.com ➡️ For advertising within our brands
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/scubadivermag
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/scubadivermag
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/scubadivermagazine

We partner with https://www.scuba.com and https://www.mikesdivestore.com for all your gear essentials. Consider using the affiliate link above to support the channel.

The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

YouTube Video UEw2X2VCMS1KYWdWbXFQSGV1YW84WVRHb2pFNkl3WlRSZS4yOUY5MUNBMTM5RDMyREQ5

What's the Point of Fancy dSMBs? #askmark #scuba

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