Spearfishing is a popular and widespread pastime around the world, but it is not without its risks and hazards. You are in an alien environment, surrounded by species that are used to it. You are often relying on special spearfishing equipment to keep you alive. It is essential that basic safety rules are followed to ensure that you don’t endanger yourself or those who may be diving with you. There are a few aspects to consider, but these ten tips on spearfishing safety will serve as a handy guide, helping you to continue to enjoy your pastime safely.
The Top 10 Spearfishing Safety Tips
1. Safety in numbers – always avoid diving alone whenever possible. This increases your chances of rescue if things go wrong. If you do go alone, always advise somebody of your dive plan. In fact, this is good practice anyway, even when diving with a group.
2. Watch out for boats! – depending on where you dive, there may be boats in the area. There is a real danger of being hit, or, worse still, getting caught by a propeller which could prove fatal. A float-line, float and flag will increase your chances of being seen by boats.
3. Respect your speargun – always keep it well maintained, keep the safety catch on until you are about to take the shot, and never point it towards other divers. Do not bring your loaded speargun into the boat.
4. Make positive identification of your prey – it is vital that you are 100% certain that your target is clear and that you know what it is. This can’t be stressed strongly enough. Never take that shot if there is any doubt.
5. Don’t tether yourself to your catch – while it is tempting to do so, you risk serious injury, or worse. Your belt has a quick-release button, which is there to allow you a better chance of escape in the event of an emergency. By attaching the catch to the belt, you can make a quick getaway should you be approached by a predator who has been attracted to your prey.
6. Be aware of ocean predators – obviously linked to the previous tip, this is a common-sense step in spearfishing safety. It pays to do some research of the dive area so you have some idea of what other wildlife to expect. It isn’t just about sharks; seals, sea lions, large groupers – all of these can be attracted by your activity and present a hazard. It is a great idea to carry a spearfishing powerhead.
7. Keep yourself fit – diving requires a lot of physical effort. Being out of shape could put you at serious risk. Make sure you have a regular fitness routine that keeps you fit and healthy. Your life may well depend on it. The fitter you become, the longer you will be able to hold your breath under the water.
8. Keep yourself hydrated – this may seem a simple thing but it can be overlooked. By staying hydrated you lessen the chance of becoming light-headed due to the changes in pressure underwater.
9. Learn basic first aid and CPR – in the event of an emergency, you’ll want to be able to help your diving buddy. Having the knowledge to do so will increase your confidence, along with their chances of survival. Also, a freediving course will equip you with the skills to help someone who experiences difficulties, such as blackouts or samba (loss of muscle control due to lack of oxygen).
10. Prepare for the conditions – check the weather, tide times, and the topography of the dive area. Strong currents can be a real danger, so look out for places where they will be more likely. The better prepared you are, the less chance there is of something going wrong.
While there are many other factors to consider, these top ten tips are a good starting point to keep you and your diving partners safe. The main thing is to remember that spearfishing safety is always your responsibility. Always be prepared, and always be aware of any potential hazards. Also, remember that you may present a hazard to others. Never engage in spearfishing close to public areas such as beaches or places where people are swimming.
Once all of these points are covered, you can go and enjoy your dive!