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Buddy check

The buddy check is a procedure carried out by SCUBA divers using the buddy system where each diver checks that the other's diving equipment is configured and functioning correctly just before the start of the dive.

The wide variety of types of buoyancy compensator, diving suits and types of SCUBA equipment, means that it is important for each buddy to understand the other's equipment configuration in the event that one has to help or rescue the other.


There are several mnemonics for the buddy check:

Begin with review and friend

There are several forms of buddy check, but almost all cover five definite principles. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors BWRAF formula is as follows: B - Begin - BCD : Check function of BCD. Operate inflator and deflator to ensure that BCD can accept and release air. Test oral inflator. Operate all dumps to check that air can be dumped quickly. Ensure straps (shoulder straps, cummerbund) have no slack, and are lying flat. W - With - Weights : If a weight belt is worn, check that the belt is secure, and the strap arranged so that it can be released with the right hand of the diver. Ensure that weights on the belt are not likely to shift during movement, and are suitable for the diver. If a weight harness is worn, or the BCD possesses an integrated-weights system, test system for adequate operation. A secondary aim is to ensure that the buddy is familiar with the weight system of the diver being checked, and is able to operate them in an emergency R - Review - Regulator : Test operation of primary and secondary regulators. Both should breathe comfortably, and not 'free-flow' when purged. Check hoses for damage. Ensure that the secondary regulator (the 'octopus') is attached in the triangle between the chin and the base of the ribs, and can be released easily: this ensures easy access for a buddy in the event of an emergency. A - And - Air : Open air valve on tank. Most divers then close the tank a quarter turn for an added element of safety. Breathe the air through the regulators to ensure that it is fresh and dry: impure air is extremely dangerous underwater, but can usually be recognised through an unpleasant, often oily, taste or smell. F - Friend - Final Check : Conduct a final check of the diver. Ensure that hoses are clipped to the diver neatly, and are in the correct configuration. Make sure the diver has fins and a mask, and any other accessories (cameras, reels, knife, compass, torch etc.) needed for the dive. Check that these are secured to the diver, or else placed in a spot where they can be handed down once the diver is in the water. Correct anything else that needs doing.

The PADI mnemonic (Begin with Review and Friend) is the standard one taught by the agency, but many divers have their own; Burger with Relish and Fries is one of the more popular. Bangkok Women Really Are Fellas is a Ko Tao favourite.


BAR is another acronym for the parts of a buddy check: B - Buoyancy : Test and demonstrate how each buoyancy device, such as a buoyancy compensator or dry suit is inflated or vented. It is important to test common failure modes, for example, that the device remains inflated when required and that the inflation stops when required. Rebreather divers may test the breathing loop to ensure that it does not leak under a positive internal pressure and negative internal pressure. A - Air : Test that each air source has its pillar valve open, has sufficient gas, is functioning and tastes good. If the indicating needle of the contents gauge vibrates when the diver inhales that may indicate the diving cylinder pillar valve is only partially open and will not provide enough gas at the higher ambient pressures at depth. An oily taste to the gas may indicate a contaminated gas fill. Some rebreather divers breathe from the loop for 2 or 3 minutes before entering the water, to check that the soda lime of the carbon dioxide scrubber is active. R - Releases : Demonstrate how to operate the releases that can be used in an emergency to separate the diver from the weighting system, buoyancy compensator and SCUBA unit.


The National Association of Underwater Instructors uses the acronym SEABAG to address all pre-dive preparations: S - Site : Is the chosen site diveable under the prevailing weather and tidal conditions? Are currents, riptides, or other hazards present? E - Emergency : What are the established emergency procedures? Is emergency oxygen available? Where is the closest deco chamber? A - Activities : What is the purpose of the dive? Are there any special risks or concerns that must be addressed? B - Buoyancy : check negative and positive buoyancy control devices, this includes environmental suits and equipment, know where your buddies weights are in case you have to drop them. A - Air : Both buddies check each other's first and second stages, confirm the locations of their octopuses, and proof check by breathing from each other's equipment.Know SAC rates and how much air you and your buddy have before you get wet. G - Gear- check your gear! Then go.

DIR equipment check

The equipment check is the DIR diving equivalent of a buddy check procedure. At the beginning of the dive, all members of the diving team in turn examine and announce to other team members the

  • presence,
  • configuration,
  • functionality,
  • place and form attachment

of each item of their standardised diving equipment. This is a part of the check.
The complete dive plan review is: SADDDDD

  • Sequence: Who leads, who follows, what are the responsibilities of the team?
  • Air: Turn pressure, actual deco, bailout deco.
  • Distance: penetration of a cave/ wreck, how far from boat/ shore, etc.
  • Depth: max and average depth of the dive.
  • direction
  • dive

SADDDDD has been replaced with GUE EDGE which stands for :

  • G : Goal, dive objectives
  • U : Unified team, team strategies
  • E : Equipment match
  • E : Exposure, depth/time
  • D : Decompression strategies
  • G : Gas strategies
  • E : Environmental issues


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