Common Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Hand Signals
Protecting Your Ears While Scuba Diving
Running a Liveaboard Checklist Prior to Scuba Diving

Ascending Slowly While Scuba Diving

When you're ready to end a dive, do the following:

1. Signal your buddy and begin the ascent together.

2. Begin your ascent when you still have sufficient air remaining in your tank. (Never wait until your air supply is exhausted.)

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Go slowly. Check your watch and depth gauge or dive computer and ascend no faster than one foot per second. Make sure you take at least 10 seconds to ascend 10 feet. It's a lot slower than you think.

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Breathe continuously as you ascend. Never hold your breath.

3. Extend one hand over your head, look up at the surface and slowly rotate 360 degrees as you ascend.

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Looking up and rotating as you ascend allows you to see everything above and behind you. Watch out for boats or any other overhead obstruction.

4. Whenever possible, make a safety stop when you reach 15 feet.

A safety stop allows you a little extra time to eliminate nitrogen from your body, further decreasing your risk of decompression sickness. To do this, stop, hang in the water column, practice your buoyancy control, and check out conditions on the surface. Wait three minutes at 15 feet before you surface.

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