Great Barrier Reef Scuba Diving Etiquette

Robbie Wyckoff on May 30th, 2018

So I’ve never been much for table manners, but my mother made sure that I had them.

She kept me focused on where not to put my elbows, don’t scrape my fork across the plate, don’t chew with my mouth open, and don’t blow bubbles with your straw in the drink.

Now as I mentioned in my last blog, staying focused helps you mind what you are doing and even more so, your surroundings when it comes to scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

So just like table manners are implied while eating with others, the same goes for scuba diving

Focus on where you are and who you are with while trying not to be rude to those around you during your recreational dive no matter where you are diving in the world.

Yes, divers, true hardcore scuba divers, have proper diving etiquette and if you wanna dive with them, you better mind your manners.

Now, what I mean is that when diving, there is an invisible bubble that surrounds each diver, metaphorically speaking.

The bubble is a diver’s personal space. It’s rude to get inside the bubble unless invited or necessary in order to assist.

Basically, when diving, it can be scary, as well as funny, when something touches you, even if it’s just another diver.

So bumping into other divers, kicking them, grabbing their fins, etc. would be considered bad etiquette in the diving world.

I was once kicked in the face by a very rude diver who swam right in front of me as I was observing a very beautiful honeycomb moray eel.

In my fit of rage, I grabbed him by his fin, pulling back, face to face, and gave him a few choice words with my hand signals.

He apologized and swam on. Bad response from me but that was in the early days!

Now much like angry drivers using hand signals to show their displeasure with others, divers can do it too. Yes, it’s rude but it’s also a form of communication. And when diving, it’s always better to keep in constant communication weather good or bad.

So can divers be angry at other scuba divers? Well try laying down on a bed of corals and see just how many divers will pick you up.

The marine life in the ocean are why we dive in the first place, unless you’re just a fan of wreck diving.

So when touching any of it, that being coral or fish, it’s considered very very rude and or crazy, and many divers seriously hate seeing that.

I once saw an underwater photographer put her entire body on top of a bed of beautiful hard corals just to get a picture of a few crabs that lived within them.

Our dive guide, flipped out on her at 15m below the surface and then again above the water. It was a long argument.

While some people are just plain rude, it’s always important to have good etiquette whilst scuba diving.

Being focused, aware of your surroundings, polite to others as well as the environment, is all a part of what it means to be a good diver.

People don’t want to dive with bad divers. It’s bad for business, bad for health, and that includes your safety as well as sanity.

Just like you should never drive angry, one should never dive angry.

And there’s nothing more that can make you angry as to see someone sitting on a bed of corals or being kicked in the face with a flipper that may just hit your regulator which is your oxygen and, if you are new to diving this could turn into a very bad, bad situation at 12 – 15 metres under water!  It’s just rude.

Be respectful of the environment and others around you.

Dive businesses and regular divers don’t want to dive with those who have bad scuba diving etiquette much like you wouldn’t want to sit at dinner while someone is chewing with their mouth open or blows bubbles in their drink. 

Happy day see you on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia for your next diving adventure! stay tuned.

If you missed any of my previous blogs you can find them all here and if you need some help with planning a dive trip give Barrier Reef Australia a call on 1300 231 118.

Happy diving!

Robbie Wyckoff

Robbie Wyckoff

Hi my name is Robbie Wyckoff and I am a full time PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Instructor who now works all over the world teaching people how to scuba dive and discover the amazing underwater world on our planet.

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