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The importance of the safety stop:

Divers making a safety stop after their Zenobia Dive

I was recently asked if it was mandatory to make a safely stop on dives like the Zenobia.  The Zenobia is an extremely deep dive site off the coast of Larnaca, Cyprus and it is best enjoyed using Nitrox to allow you more time to explore this metal giant.  You will remember your open water lectures which cover the Recreational Dive Planner or R.D.P.  – or at least I hope you do! If you recall the RDP I hope you also remember the safety stop requirements and the three situations in which you are required to do one. First is when you make a dive to 30 meters or more, the second is when you come to within 3 pressure groups of your No-Decompression-Limit, and the third is when you reach any other limit on the RDP. This is when a safety stop is REQUIRED. However, PADI is recreational scuba diving – and has the approach of no stop diving.

 What does this mean? Well it means that throughout your whole dive it is possible to return to the surface without stopping. Does this include the safely stop? Yes – but it is exactly what it says it is – A SAFETY STOP – NOT A DECOMPRESSION STOP.  It is possible to return to the surface without stopping, but why would you? Providing you have ample air in your cylinder the safety stop adds another layer of safety to your dive and gives you some extra time to start releasing some of that troublesome nitrogen out of your body. I love the safety stop – especially on the Zenobia – I love to watch all the divers come together and the collective bubbles that they exhale turn the trapeze into a total emersion Jacuzzi experience! Try popping the expanding bubbles with your mask next time, the bubbles tickle you as they pass through your hair and over your face.  It is also another chance to perfect your Buddha  position while hovering – and it makes a great photograph!

Scuba Monkey Michelle Finlay enjoying her safety stop

So, to answer my diver’s question. Yes,  It is possible to miss out the safety stop, but do one whenever you can.  I personally do a safely stop every time I go in the water with my scuba gear. It forms good habits which will keep you safe and allow you to continue diving for many more years to come.

Happy diving monkeys!!

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