Diving Into Water

Most young people like to jump and dive into water.

The keys to safe diving are knowing the answers to these questions:

1. What is the depth of the water?

2. What is on the surface of the water?

3. What is under the surface of the water?

4. What height you are diving/jumping from?

5. What is the surface from which you are diving from?

Safe Techniques for Entering the Water.

When you know these facts and you can act appropriately, you have a much better chance of making safe dives.

1. Depth.

  • The shallowest water a trained competitive swimmer doing a shallow dive to start a race is 5’ deep.

  • The shallowest the water should be under a 3 meter diving board is 9 feet with wide enough bottom depth so the diver does not hit a shallower area away from the diving board.

  • Diving off the side of the pool should only be done at the deep area near the diving board.

  • Beware that on a floating dock, waves or people on the deck can lower the raft so the dock height from the bottom is no longer a safe depth for diving.

  • One way to know the safe depths of lake areas is to use a depth finder and/or explore to see if the area is object free.Once you find that it is safe, jump feet first into the water a few times before diving head first.

2. Surface obstructions.

Before you jump or dive look for people or things which are in the way (above or beneath the water). If there are any, wait for them to move or be removed. If you are doing a back dive, have another person watch for objects behind you. Whenever you dive, always swim to the nearest ladder to the diving board or to the shallow end of the pool. Never swim near or under a diving board when there are divers using the area.

3. Submerged obstructions.

Before diving, know what is under the surface of the water. Even if you have been diving there for a long time, check for submerged objects before your first dive. On rivers, obstructions can be carried by the current, thus a diving area could be safe one day, deadly the next.

4. Height of dive.

The higher the dive, the deeper the water needs to be to prevent you from hitting the bottom. The following shows safe depths to dive into.

  • From the pool deck - nine 9 feet

  • From 1 meter above the water- nine 9 feet

  • From 3 meters above the water - 16 feet

  • The higher the dive the harder that water, thus the higher you dive, the more you need to use correct diving technique to enter the water safely.

5. Diving Surface

Ask these questions and get the answers about the diving surface before diving:

• Is the diving board or deck firm service firm? - Will I slip when I walk or run down the deck, dock, or diving board? If you will slip, either walk, or clean the deck or don’t use the surface.

• Is the diving board stable? When I dive off a boat or raft, will it dip when I push off? Are the bolts of the diving board safely intact? Do I have the diving board fulcrum at a proper spot to give me safe bounce? If not adjust these variables or adjust your diving to make conditions safe.

6. Safe Diving Techniques

The safest techniques for entering the water are: wading out to deep water; and using a ladder or easing into the water. These are the first techniques you should use for entering unknown waters. It helps you determine depth, bottom conditions, and water temperature. Once you know the water and the diving surfaces are compatible for safe diving you can dive.

• Your first dive should be a feet first jump to make sure your feet don’t hit the bottom.

• Your second dive can be a head first dive with your hands out in front of you to protect your head if you do dive to the bottom.

• If your first two dives did not take you to the bottom, you can do dives that are safe for your individual ability.

7. General diving rules.

• Don’t run on the diving board, deck or dock.

• Only one diver on the board at a time.

• Dive only after you KNOW that the area around and under the diving board or deck is clear of obstructions and people.

• Do backward dives and other competitive dives starting with basic dives and slowly add to your skills.

• Do backward dives and other competitive dives only when you have a support person there to watch for other swimmers and help if there is a problem with the dive.