SAFE DIVING IN HONG KONG

SCUBA diving activities are generally safe. Like any other sport or activity, one should always be aware of any potential risks or danger that may pose a threat to safety. On this page are a few things we’d like to share about safe diving in Hong Kong.




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Note
Anyone thinking about engaging in scuba diving activities should first complete formal training and obtain valid diving qualifications. Always dive within your limit, and if you have not been diving for 6 months or more, it is advisable to take a scuba review/ refresh class before you re-enter the water.
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Ghost nets, marine trash
& fishing nets

Diving in Hong Kong is great fun with a seemingly endless potential for new discoveries. However, Hong Kong’s underwater visibility is not always the best. For some days throughout the summer, visibility can be as low as three meters, or even less (be warned)! This can be alarming for divers who descend without being briefed or prepared, and cases in the past have shown that the consequences can be highly dangerous, or even fatal.

Having said that, low visibility can also have its perks when handled with caution. For instance, it can be easier to approach and photograph some of the shier species, such as some gobies or dartfishes. If you find yourself in murky waters, stay calm and close to your buddy. Switch on your torch, and make sure you’ve worked out a plan with your buddy before descending about what to do if you lose sight of each other. If you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to call off the dive. Safety first!

If you decide to pick up trash as you dive, remember to take safety precautions. Look closely at each item for potential hazards (e.g. sharp edges) and residents before reaching out to pick it up!
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Visibility

Diving in Hong Kong is great fun with a seemingly endless potential for new discoveries. However, Hong Kong’s underwater visibility is not always the best. For some days throughout the summer, visibility can be as low as three meters, or even less (be warned)! This can be alarming for divers who descend without being briefed or prepared, and cases in the past have shown that the consequences can be highly dangerous, or even fatal.

Having said that, low visibility can also have its perks when handled with caution. For instance, it can be easier to approach and photograph some of the shier species, such as some gobies or dartfishes. If you find yourself in murky waters, stay calm and close to your buddy. Switch on your torch, and make sure you’ve worked out a plan with your buddy before descending about what to do if you lose sight of each other. If you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to call off the dive. Safety first!

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Surface Traffic

Hong Kong’s dive spots can get quite busy, particularly during the weekends and holidays. You may find yourself sharing the dive site with windsurfers, yachters, parasailers, banana-boaters, snorkelers, swimmers, fishers and others out to enjoy the sea. Divers should always ascend with caution. Ascend slowly, listen for sounds of approaching speedboats or other vehicles, and deploy your surface marker buoy (SMB) before you ascend, and particularly during safety stops.

If you did not bring your SMB with you on the dive, you may also consider using the free flow/purge button on your emergency regulator (alternate second stage/octopus) to produce continuous bubbles, which can help to send a signal to the surface that you are ascending. Do ensure that you have enough gas remaining before using this method. Avoid diving in areas with busy traffic.


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Marine Life
There are many marine species documented in Hong Kong waters that can be potentially dangerous to divers who do not know what they are dealing with. While we love to see all sorts of marine life underwater, it is also important to be informed, and to know how to behave around wildlife.Treat all marine life with respect and never try to provoke them. Some fish species, such as stonefishes, moray eels, lionfishes, surgeonfishes, and barracudas may warrant more caution than others. Even the Clark’s anemonefish can deliver quite a bite! Divers should also look out for other animals, such blue-ringed octopuses, sea urchins and jellyfishes. Take the time to learn more about different species. Extra note: If you spot marine mammals in distress, please call 1823.
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Always dive with a buddy
Last but not least, always dive with at least one buddy. Make sure that you have communicated with your buddy about each other’s capacities, hand signals and potential discomforts before entering the water, and make clear plans for search and recovery in case you lose sight of one another. Stay close to each other underwater, and have fun! Check the weather/water forecast before each trip, including information on wind force, water temperature, and tidal information, and define a dive plan with your buddy with an agreed path, time, maximum depth and emergency procedure.
In cases of emergency
At each dive you should take note of at least the following information, to facilitate efficient communication with emergency services in the unfortunate case of an accident:

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Vessel number
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Location(s) of your dive site(s)
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Total number of divers
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Extent of insurance covered on board
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Location of First Aid Kit and Emergency Oxygen
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Note

If you find yourself in an accident or in need of rescue, dial the Hong Kong Emergency Services Hotline 999.
If you are out of the Hong Kong mobile phone network coverage, please dial 112.