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Shore or Beach Diving

Tips and Suggestions for diving from shore

by Terry Sovil

Shore Dive Location Photo

I hear it with some regularity. I don't like to dive from shore. And some folks have had bad experiences with long, hard walks to the dive site lugging heavy dive gear. If you are able, spot the "best" beach dives and use those. Get there early before the recreational swimmers and beach folk arrive. I've done a lot of diving from shore in my career and it isn't that bad. We have one really excellent shore dive here in Manzanillo. It is in my Top 10 favorite dive sites. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your shore or beach dive.

I think one of the biggest benefits to diving from shore is the freedom from a schedule. The dives are also usually a bit more shallow which means longer bottom times. You can dive that 60,70 or 80 minutes dive!

  • Before you ever get in the water make sure you can get out once you are in. Some areas may be an easy entry but a tough exit. Make sure you know where you will get out.
  • Plan ahead to keep the work level low. I generally like to wear my tank from the vehicle to the water. Much like a heavy backpack. But plan based on the beach / area you at.
  • A dive from shore means sand. To help avoid it suit up away from the sand; the car, the parking lot. Carry your mask/snorkel and fins and head straight to the water.
  • When you reach the water, rinse and put on your mask. Put the regulator in your mouth. If you get "splashed" you want to be ready. Wade out until chest-deep. Try to keep your feet under you. Lean on a buddy. Strap on your fins.
  • Keep a wary eye on waves. If a big wave comes in, maintain your feet under you. If the wave lifts you off the bottom, keep your toes pointed down and as soon as you can feel the bottom, get your balance back.
  • If you are knocked down by a wave, do not attempt to stand up—especially if your fins are on! Crawl on all fours. If the water is deep enough, kick hard for deeper water.
  • Past the surf line, roll onto your back and surface kick out to calmer water. Look at a fixed point or use a compass bearing to help get you to the dive site.
  • While on your back get a sighting on shore depending on big the beach is. A small cove, no problem, a big long beach sight on two in-line objects to help find your way back.
  • After the dive, surface before you get too close to the surf zone. Keep your regulator in your mouth. Keep your mask on. Get some air into your BCD. Kick for shore while keeping a wary eye on the waves coming behind you.
  • If there are no waves and it is calm, stay down as long as possible. It can be easy to come up in 3 feet of water and take your fins off.
  • If your timing is good you can reach the same chest-deep water, remove your fins and walk in before the next wave.
  • When you get to the water's edge, don't stop! Remove your mask as you walk. Walk all the way back to the car or parking lot to avoid sand.
  • Simple? Yes. Beach diving isn't all that hard!
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