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Safety Stop done !! How fast do YOU get to the surface ?

What are you suppose to do after your safety stop ? 

As last weeks blog touched on this subject in the comments on FB, I thought it needed a better explanation. 

Everyone knows that on every dive, you should do a 2-5 minute safety stop at 15 feet. That is taught to every open water diver. You hover motionless during your stop while you are staring at your dive computer. Your computer says that you are clear !! It is time to go up. What do you do ? 

I can tell you what I do and why. I go up 3 feet per minute.That means 5 minute till I surface. I do this for many reasons. 

The closer you get to the surface, the more nitrogen you off gas. So you off gas faster between 15 feet and the surface, than 30 feet to 15 feet.  Just because you are done your safety stop doesn't mean you can bolt for the surface. In fact you need to go way slower because you are not done off gassing. This slow ascent will help to reduce the chances of decompression sickness. 

I also find that my ears need the extra time to equalize going up. Perhaps it's scar tissue, cold water or small Eustachian tubes but if I come straight up, my ears hurt and I can get a head ache after my dive. I have always been this way. My solution is to ascent very slow, listen to my ears crackling and as they stop crackling, I ascend a foot or two more. 

It gives me a chance to get all of my equipment put away properly for a clean, quick and efficient  exit out of the water. This is especially helpful during boat dives. 

It's fun !! The first time you try it , it's harder than you think. You need to really fine tune the air in your BCD, lungs and perhaps drysuit. It's an excellent way to practice buoyancy !! Also look around. I have seen some pretty cool things during my deco / safety stops. I have seen sparkling jelly fish mid water !!! Or if I can see the bottom, I saw things that I didn't see before. You can watch creatures that you thought were stationary are really mobile. You can watch interactions between creatures and maybe see creatures that are hiding !! How exciting is that ???

One more note. You should be horizontal when you are doing your safety/ deco stop and ascent to the surface. The reason is because you off gas more efficiently in that position compared to being vertical. I can't find any proof that this is true and I don't know where I learned this, but I feel better when I ascend horizontally. 

So on you next dive, give it a try !! I would love to hear if you experience or see something cool that you would have missed if you popped to the surface. Maybe you do something different for a really good reason !! 

Thank you reading and watch for next weeks blog !!! 


  • Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

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