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Plan Your Dive: Steer Up

Plan your dive: steer up. What’s that mean? Read on, and we’ll tell you.

Diving is a sport that almost everyone can enjoy, either as a participant or spectator. But, as with every other sport, injuries can spoil the fun. So to get the most pleasure from diving and to avoid serious injuries, don’t take needless risks.

As a pool owner, it is your responsibility to enforce these basic rules for safe diving.

So, let’s get to it. Here’s how to plan your dive.

Think Ahead.

Once you’ve started your dive, you don’t have time to think. Know the depth of the water, the configuration of the pool bottom, and the upslope. Plan your dive path. Never dive where you don’t know the water depth or where there may be hidden obstructions.

Steer Up.

When you dive, you must be ready to steer up. As you enter the water, your arms must be extended over your head, hands  at and aiming up. Hold   your head up and arch your back. This way, your whole body helps you steer up, away from the bottom.

Plan a shallow dive, immediately steering up.  Don’t try the straight vertical-entry dives you see in competitions.  These dives take a long time to slow down, and must be done only after careful training and in pools designed for competitive diving.

Head and Hands Up.

Your extended arms and hands not only help you to steer up to the surface, they can also protect your head. If a diver’s head hits bottom, major spinal cord injury to neck and spine can result in paralysis.

Control Your Dive.

Sometimes divers lose control through improper use of hands and arms. Practice holding your arms extended, hands flat and tipped up. Like learning  to swim or ride a bicycle, you have to know how to make the right moves automatically. Carefully rehearse the proper diving techniques before you dive.

Entry—Diving and Sliding.

Do not allow any diving or head first entry into any pool until you are sure the pool is designed for diving and meets all standards for diving pools, such as the ANSI/APSP (Association of Pool & Spa Professionals) standards. Consult the diving board manufacturer, your pool builder, or a local APSP member if you have any doubts.

Do not allow diving into a pool, or any part of the pool, that is not deep enough for diving. It is recommended that “No Diving” signs be placed at all areas of the pool where diving is not appropriate.

Never dive into a non-diving pool. It isn’t deep enough for you to dive safely, and you may be seriously injured.

Your first entry into a pool should be feet first, so you can determine water depth and pool configuration. Head first entry into the water can lead to very serious, life-threatening accidents. 

The chief danger for divers or head first sliders is serious spinal injury.  They may hit their heads against the bottom or side of the pool, or against some object or person. Injuries to the spinal cord may result, causing temporary or permanent paralysis or death. Never use alcohol or drugs while diving or swimming.

Members of The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) are committed to the safe use and enjoyment of pools, spas, and hot tubs, and adhere to a code of business ethics. To maximize your enjoyment, deal with an APSP member firm.

Article reprinted from The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals.
Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik via VisualHunt / CC BY