‘Begin With Review And Friend.’ ‘Beans With Rice And Fries.’ ‘Burger With Relish And Fries.’ ‘Big White Rabbits Are Fluffy.’
The buddy check must be performed before every dive and every diver should know how to perform it.
However I am not here to condemn you if you don’t know it, rather I am writing this so that those of you who don’t know it can learn it for future dives and those who do know it can revise it.
There are 5 main steps for the buddy check:
- B – BCD – Check that it is snugly adjusted to the diver. Tank should be at the correct height, attached firmly and in the correct place. Check the inflator and oral inflator works properly and if appropriate for entry, BCD should be partially inflated.
- W – Weights – The weight belt should have a right hand release. If either you or your buddy doesn’t wear a weight belt and has, instead, other means of weighting make sure you are both confident as to how to ditch these in an emergency
- R – Releases – Check the releases are firmly secured and done up as necessary, make sure you are both confident with your buddy’s equipment and they with yours.
- A – Air – Smell the air to check if it’s alright for breathing. Comfirm you have ample air for the dive, that the tank is actually OPEN (yes it has happened before where my buddy had forgotten to open their tank, it happens to all of us) Check the alternate air sources work and you both know where to find them.
- F – Final ok – The final inspection, not to be forgotten! Look for equipment that is dangling and out of place, any missing gear? Does your buddy have their mask, fins etc…?
After having completed this check you are ready for your dive. PADI give the mneumonic ‘Begin With Review And Friend’ to remind divers the order in which to do the buddy check. However I don’t really like this. My instructor taught me ‘Beans With Rice And Fries’ yes a rather unhealthy meal, but to this day it has stuck. Children are taught ‘Big White Rabbits Are Fluffy’ and one of the most used is ‘Burgers With Relish And Fries’. Of course you can come up with your own mneumonic to remember the order.
It is good to do an initial buddy check on the boat, however last summer I would then do a further check in the water. This is a very good way to find any leaks in your equipment. Check the tank valve, SPG, and regulators. Any leaks from these places will be clearly visible in the water due to a trail of bubbles coming from the leakage area.
A small leak doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the dive, a small trail of bubbles means your O-Rings need a good looking at when you return to the surface and possibly changed. You won’t loose much gas, especially if you have a good air consumption normally. If you’re still unsure about the amount of air you’re loosing, point it out to the dive master or instructor.
After all of this, if everything is ok and you’re both happy, go for your dive! 🙂 Enjoy and stay safe. The buddy check is simply to get a fresh pair of eyes to look over your equipment. Studies show that divers in the pre-dive check often fail to recognise their own equipment faults, but are able to spot them on others. It also gives you a chance to become familiar with each others equipment. In the end if you’ve done something wrong finding out at the surface is preferable to finding out at 30m, half way through your dive. Its better to be safe than sorry.