In diving, we often talk about checklists. They’re incredibly valuable tools for safety. Most dive agencies have a pre-dive checklist for ensuring that your equipment is ready to dive and pre-descent/pre-ascent checks. One checklist that’s rarely talked about outside of closed circuit and technical circles is the preparation checklist.
If you’d like to use our checklists as a starting point for your own, they’re available on our pre-dive checklist page
While I have a checklist, today I fell prey to it not being as readily available as I needed it to be. I was exhausted night last night and only managed to get batteries charged rather than fully packed, leaving the packing for the morning. Still, I had an hour to prepare in the morning which is usually plenty of time. As happens, some family events intervened and I was feeling a bit rushed when I got back to finishing packing my gear. My checklist, on paper, was not easily reachable so I did a mental checklist instead. BCD? Check. Regulators x 2? Check. Fins? Check. And so it went through my gear.
Everything seemed in order, so I put my bag in the back of the car and headed off to meet the friends I was planning on diving with. It was early afternoon by the time we ready to leave and, feeling a bit rushed, we threw all our gear into the boat with the intent of assembling on the way out. Once we’d pushed off, I started to put my gear together. The first thing: sidemount bands so I could setup my cylinders. Digging through my gear bag, I had a sinking feeling that they weren’t there. 30 seconds later I was asking the skipper to turn around. I was not diving. So, I handed the snacks over to the skipper, unloaded my gear and kicked myself repeatedly as I drove home.
Despite years of sidemount diving, I had managed to leave a critical item at home. Being slightly rushed and not having my checklist easily available, I’d taken the shortcut of relying on my memory. As we all know, mental review is fallible and today was my turn to be reminded of this fact.
So, reminded of why I should be using digital checklists instead of paper ones, I’ve created some.