How to Use a Dive Watch

How to Use a Dive Watch
Scuba diving watches are part of the safety equipment underwater. Basic dive watches are water-resistant to deep depths (such as 200 m or 660 feet). A dive watch enables divers to monitor dive times in order to stay within no-decompression limits and the time needed for a safety stop. More advanced functions are available on wrist mounted dive computers, which can assist a diver in optimizing her depth and monitoring air consumption underwater. Dive computers have proprietary algorithms programmed into the device, which calculates safe dive parameters and alerts the diver when approaching depth, time and air limits.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Basic Use

Things You’ll Need:
  • Dive watch or wrist computer
  • Dive watch or wrist computer
Step 1
Check the time before descending to mark the start of your dive. Many open water divers learn the acronym, "SORTd" (the process with a buddy to signal that he's ready to descend, point to orient that he knows the direction of the dive plan, put the regulator in his mouth, check the time and deflate/descend to go underwater).
Step 2
Keep your dive plan and your dive buddy in mind during your dive which means monitoring your depth and time, which can usually be achieved with your dive computer or dive watch.
Step 3
Check the time before ascending to mark the end of your dive. Use your watch to monitor the time needed for your safety stop, which is usually three minutes at 15 feet.
Step 4
Write the starting and ending times, along with depth that you dived to, in your dive log.

Advanced Use (Dive Computer)

Step 1
Check your depth and time periodically using your wrist dive computer. Some hoseless dive computers are air-integrated, so it will also tell you the amount of air in your tank and depth.
Step 2
Ascend accordingly, based on alerts from your dive computer. For example, if your maximum dive time is nearing for a certain depth, ascend at least five feet for the computer to recalculate the time for a no-decompression dive.
Step 3
Begin the trip back when your dive computer alerts half-tank or a predefined dive time. Your settings can remind you of your air status and time so that you can safely return to your pickup point.
Step 4
Listen for alerts from your dive computer regarding your speed of ascent when you move to shallower depths, and adjust your buoyancy or finning accordingly.
Step 5
Watch the countdown timer on your dive computer for your safety stop. Dive computers will more accurately calculate the necessary time to complete a no-decompression dive.
Step 6
Access your dive log history on your computer to record your dive times, depth and air consumption in your dive log.

Topside Use

Step 1
Add or change your home time to match your destination's regional time zone.
Step 2
Set your alarm to use your watch as an alarm clock.
Step 3
Adjust your dive computer to calculate Nitrox or percentage of enriched air to be used during your dive. It is important that after you initiate Nitrox as your air source, you must change the percentage of the air mixture before every dive. If you switch to air, the Nitrox percentage must be changed to 21 percent.

Tips & Warnings

 
Insert the quick reference sheet or manual for your computer into your dive log. Check the battery status of your dive computer or watch before leaving on vacation and replace it with a fresh battery if needed.
 
Insert the quick reference sheet or manual for your computer into your dive log.
 
Check the battery status of your dive computer or watch before leaving on vacation and replace it with a fresh battery if needed.
 
Familiarize yourself with the functions of your dive computer before taking it on vacation.

Article Written By Regina Edwards

Regina Edwards has been a freelance writer since 1990. She has penned video scripts, instructional manuals, white papers and abstracts. She has also ghostwritten diabetes journals. Edwards is a scuba instructor and Usui and Karuna Reiki teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Saint Joseph's University.

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