Managing multiple freedivers on a buoy can become an unorganized mess if rules are not set in place beforehand. Even with 4 freedivers training together on one buoy, there should be a flow that everyone adheres to in order to prevent an unnecessarily long training session or a session where everyone only dives a few times. Whether it is 2, 3, or 4 freedivers training together, guidelines should be established in order to keep training sessions smooth and organized for everyone’s benefit. Here are 10 tips to keep your training sessions efficient and feel effortless.
Talking during the dive session
Some freedivers may not want to chat in-between dives at all, or they might want to speak only about their dive and exchange tips on how to improve the next one. It is best to discuss what everyone prefers before beginning the training session.
Decide the rotation and assign who safeties whom
If you have 4 people on the buoy, it is important to keep the transition from one freediver to the next as smooth as possible. Before the session, ask each person what they want to work on and their safety capabilities, so that each freediver knows when they go, who they are doing safety for, and what is the maximum depth of safety their buddy needs.
Announce your dive
It is always important that your safety knows what dive you are doing so they can meet you at the right depth at the proper time. No one wants to safety blindly and has either a long hang or rush down to meet you only to catch you near the surface. Make sure to tell your safety the type of dive you are doing, the depth, the dive time if you know it, and at which depth to meet you, unless you only need safety from the surface, in which case you need to let them know that as well.
Do your relaxation breathing while the person before you is diving
Don’t waste time fidgeting around or speaking to the freediver next to you if your turn is coming up. As soon as the person before you descends, you should already be preparing for your turn and entering the relaxation phase of your dive, so that you can descend in a timely manner when it becomes your turn.
Do not take over the top of the buoy
Unless you just came back from a dive and need extra time to recover above the surface, avoid laying across the buoy or having your arms across it while someone is doing their relaxation breathing. They may want to lay across it to relax and might be too shy to tell you or want it to stay stable, or need to put their snorkel in before they dive.
Check for lanyards
Sometimes freedivers can get caught up in the excitement after a dive or nervousness before a dive, and forget to clip or unclip their lanyards from the line. Do them a favor and clip their lanyard to the line if they are doing their relaxation breathing and forget, or unclip their lanyard if a freediver came back from a dive and is taking their time and not realizing they are still clipped in.
Stay out of the way of the ascending diver
During a freediver’s dive, the other people on the buoy should be watching for the freediver as they ascend and swimming out of the way when they are close to the surface.
Give the descending diver room, especially for Constant Weight (CWT) or Constant Weight No-Fins (CNF)
When you hear a freediver announce their dive, give them room to descend, and remember that if they are doing a duck dive, they need extra space in front of them. Adjust your position accordingly.
Have someone watch for boats or jet skis
Depending on the body of water that you are using for the dive and the number of divers on the buoy, it may be a good idea to assign someone who is not diving yet to look out for oncoming boats or jet skis, or at least do frequent checks.
If the buoy is crowded, use an extra buoy or a surface line to rest
If you have 4 or more freedivers, it can get a little crowded on the buoy, making it hard for everyone to adjust for their dives. If you have an extra buoy on hand, attach it to the surface line so that the main buoy has extra space, or if you do not have an extra buoy, hold on to the surface line when the next turn is not yours.
The number of freedivers on a buoy does not have to affect how well or efficient the dive session goes. With a little bit of organization and some guidelines set in place, a dive session that seems crowded can still run smoothly, efficiently, and leave everyone feeling happy.