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How to do a proper safety stop

A fantastic dive with two whale sharks and incredible abundance of fish is coming to an end. You can't wait to tell about the dive of a lifetime. But before you can climb to the surface, there is still this safety stop to be completed. Does that really have to be?

What you will find in this Blog

  • Why we do a safety stop

  • The perfect depth for a safety stop

  • What you have to think about

  • Oops - Missed my safety stop. What to do now?

Why we do a safety stop

During the dive, your body becomes saturated with nitrogen. As long as we stay within the no-decompression limits, this isn't a big problem either and we can go straight to the surface at any time. The safety stop gives us additional security to further reduce the risk of DCS. Basically, we make a safety stop as soon as the dive takes place at a depth of more than 10 meters. Today we always have a dive computer with us, which tells us when we should make a safety stop. Therefore a very simple rule: stick to your dive computer.

The perfect depth for a safety stop

During your training you learned that the safety stop is made at a depth of 5 meters for 3 minutes. But is this always true? Or are there other recommendations? Of course there are. In technical diving, the last stop is usually made at a depth of three meters. This is the depth at which the body desaturates most effectively. So why are we doing the safety stop at 5 meters? This has to do with the fact that many divers struggle to maintain the depth at 3 meters and drift to the top during the safety stop. Therefore, it was determined that it is better to make the safety stop at 5 meters instead of 3 meters and then only part of the divers can complete the safety stop. In principle, however, the following applies; Follow the guidelines on your dive computer.

What you have to think about

In order for your body to desaturate in roughly the same way from head to toe, it is advantageous to perform your safety stop in a horizontal body position. Otherwise, your upper body will desaturate faster than your lower body. However, you do not necessarily have to perform the safety stop on the spot. Is there anything to dive at 5 meters deep? Then use your safety stop to explore the underwater world. However, if you are forced to do the safety stop in open water, be sure to use a rope or your DSMB to maintain depth.

Oops - Missed my safety stop, what should i do now?

It happens again and again, especially to new divers, that they drift up at the safety stop. But what should I do now? The correct behavior is to inflate your BCD and if possible contact your buddy and signal him that everything is ok. Your buddy should get his safety stop ready and then you'll meet at the water surface.

Do you want to improve your buoyancy control?

Then the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course is for you

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