Mapping a Dive Site – a skill for a new Dive Master to master
A dive guide must be familiar with the sites to lead safe, enjoyable dives. A good guide will be able to navigate effortlessly, give correct briefs, and act decisively in emergency situations.
Mapping a dive site can be a fantastic and rewarding exercise. Creating an accurate map requires the use of navigational skills and equipment at the same time, allowing divers to practice multitasking. If an Emergency Assistance Plan is made to supplement the map, they must also consider dive logistics and will be able to conduct their own dives in the future.
There is a shore site called Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand. In Thailand, the hazards of a shore site are many – longtail boats, swimmers, changing currents, and plenty of heat.
Mapping Kata Beach was the task given to two SSI Dive Guide candidates at Blue Label Diving. Kata did not have a readily available site map, so the divers were challenged to make conduct their own dives with the goal of creating a working, professional-quality map. If the product was good enough, it would be posted online and the divers would make a real contribution to diving.
The buddy team planned several dives at Kata Beach, using slates and navigational equipment to create a map. Because of boat traffic and surf affecting visibility, the divers practiced using SMBs and had to utilize touch contact during part of the dives. It forced them to use their equipment and prior training in real scenarios.
The afternoon of the first dive, the divers created a site map – first on a whiteboard and later electronically. Species were identified in the pictures from the site and an Emergency Assistance Plan was created, all of which would be refined after each dive at Kata Beach.
Making a real contribution to diving feels great, and the map created by the team was posted for other divers. The dive guide candidates ended with real experience conducting dives, mapping a site from start to finish, and getting to know a local dive site – all valuable skills for an aspiring dive professional.