BWRAF: A Check Buddies Cannot Skip
Bottom Line: Conducting a Buddy Check (also known as a Pre-Dive Safety Check) should never be considered an option for dive buddies. The check can avoid needless problems during a dive and offers familiarity with your buddy's gear in case unusual circumstances occur.
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We have concealed the identity of this veteran diver so he does not suffer deserving embarrassment among his esteemed diving colleagues for failing to complete a Buddy Check! At a top foreign dive destination, this diver was far too excited to get into the water to waste time checking his buddy’s gear and visa-versa.
A standard Buddy Check—also known as a Pre-Dive Safety Check—would have caught this issue (*a loose cylinder strap) at the very start using the PADI Buddy Check acronym BWRAF.
With a little patience, a Buddy Check can eliminate potential problems before a dive’s start, and the example list is endless: Tangled hoses; no weights; weights not secured; leaking BCD; air valve not turned on; no mask; no fins; octopus dangling, or primary second stage not accessible.
On a recent dive trip, an inexperienced diver jumped into the water only to discover her low-pressure inflator (LPI) was inoperable. Rather than calmly inflating her BCD orally, she panicked and kicked-off her fins. Her equally inexperienced dive buddy didn’t know how to make her positively buoyant either and the screams for help quickly followed. A proper Buddy Check would have discovered her LPI hose was not properly attached to the valve and this emergency could have been avoided.
And finally, a Buddy Check gives you familiarity with your buddy’s dive equipment, such as BCD and weight pocket releases, and redundant air supply operation—all important information in case of an emergency. (You can learn more about handling emergencies in PADI’s Rescue Diver Course.)
Whether you are a veteran or student diver, conducting a proper Buddy Check, be it BWRAF, SEABAG, or BAR, is not optional! If you can’t remember the finer points of the Pre-Dive Safety Check, head over to YouTube where Utila Diver Centre Course Director Andy Phillips shows you how to conduct a thorough Pre-Dive Safety Check. (By using this link, the 14-minute instructional video starts automatically at 5:22, but you are encourage to watch it in its entirety). This video is Part 1 in a series designed for PADI Pros, but any diver can benefit from watching Andy do the IDC skills circuit. Check out more videos from the Utila Dive Centre on their YouTube Channel.