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Safe Diving Info

Safety of Guests and Staff is our Top Priority

a person swimming in the water

Dive Kauai has implemented many safety practices that are even above the PADI Standards to ensure safety is provided for all of our guests and our staff.  We all know there’s some risk involved in diving, however, our goal is to do our best to minimize potential problems by planning ahead for each and every dive.

All of our staff are trained through the rigorous standards of the PADI Professional Development  when they achieve the professional level of Divemaster, Open Water Scuba Instructor or Master Scuba Diver Trainer.  When a new member joins our team, we also have an additional 2-4 weeks additional training period of which they are required to participate in to fully understand our operations, our systems, our safety guidelines and ultimate our guest services.  So you can rest assured that when choosing to dive with Dive Kauai, you are in fact diving with the best trained dive team on Kauai.

Because diving is as much a individual sport as a team sport, many safe diving practices need to be remembered by all to ensure a safe dive experience for all.  We want to remind you of a few of the most important safety standards when it comes to diving:

Elevation & Diving Safety

As a reminder, divers should NOT participate in ANY activity above 1000 feet or 300 meters in elevation within 18 hours after a two tank dive in the ocean or 12 hours after any single tank SHORE DIVE (Max depth of 40’) in the ocean. On Kauai, this includes driving to and hiking in Waimea Canyon, Taking a Helicopter or Airplane tour of the island, as well as departing the island in a commercial aircraft (yes, even if just flying to Oahu as you will go well above 1000’ in elevation for the short flight.)

This guideline is industry standard and information you would have been trained when obtaining your Open Water Certification. Our staff will have your safety in mind and may have to prevent you from participating in a scheduled dive should we find out you will be flying without proper time after diving.

a large body of water with a mountain in the background

a rainbow over a body of water

Weather & Safe Diving in Kauai

Diving in Kauai, especially in the summer months, can have “Bigger” water conditions than most people are accustomed to.  We are the furthest island out west in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, so we are never going to have the calm flat bathwater-like conditions of the Caribbean.  Likewise, our dive tours happen rain or shine.  Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth.  If we cancelled every time there was some rain, we would never run a tour.  “Poipu” in Hawaiian means “Hole in the sky”.  This is because it can be raining like cats and dogs 9 miles away as the crow flies in Lihue, and up North, but it will be sunny and blue skies in Poipu.  Likewise, the most famous statement about the weather is absolutely true here on Kauai:  “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.”

We do take weather and safety very seriously, but we do ask you for some trust in allowing us to make the decisions based on 25 years of operations here on Kauai and not just blindly trust your weather app on a phone.  Anymore, those weather apps are all about revenue generation and changing the information every five minutes so you come back and check the app as frequently as possible therefore increasing your odds of viewing an ad that the app has sold.

With that being said, our guides and instructors are properly trained for our water conditions and have a set criteria for making a call due to weather/safety.  We are the only company that require our staff, when safe of course, to physically get in the water to evaluate conditions beneath the surface before making a call. This allows us to have the first hand knowledge of what conditions are actually like.   The very first question for our staff to answer is “Can we provide a safe experience for all guests?”  The second question to answer is “Can we provide a good experience for all guests?”   When the answer to both of those questions is “No” we will cancel the dive tour and help to reschedule or offer a full refund for your tour.  However, there are times when the conditions may be less than ideal (AKA a sunny blue sky day) but we know we can still provide a safe and enjoyable dive.  There may also be times when the divemaster or instructor feels confident to take confident divers, but will allow less confident divers or beginners to back out and reschedule.  Finally there are times that a morning dive may have very different weather from the afternoon dive and our instructors have to make a cancellation call last minute.

Please know our decision to make a call one way or another is always done with safety in mind.  We do attempt to cancel as early as we know the dive won’t be possible, however, many times this won’t be until the actual day of the tour because our experience shows mother nature likes to try and confuse us all and the best method is to see what conditions are in the day of the day.

Select Appropriate Dive Tours and Dive Within Your Limits

Above all, remember that diving should be fun.  Never put yourself in an uncomfortable situation by choosing a dive you were not trained for or are not prepared for.  If you aren’t physically or mentally capable of a dive, call it.  It’s easy to succumb to peer pressure, but you must always decide for yourself whether to dive.

We are not in the business of stopping someone from making a reservation for a particular dive tour, however, if our team sees that you or anyone on your reservation are struggling or showing signs that they have been added to a dive that is beyond their experience level, we do have full authority to prevent someone from diving on a tour with us and at that point there is no eligibility for a refund.  (*refer to our cancellation policy for cancelation guidelines)

Through much of the year, Kauai has “Bigger” water than most people are accustomed to.  Therefore, we STRONGLY encourage people who haven’t been diving recently OR those with limited dive experience to participate in a Refresher OR at the very least a SHORE DIVE before joining us on our boat or scooter dives.

Ultimately as PADI Open Water Training says: “Never dive outside the scope of your training”.  If you want to push limits or try something new, ask our reservations team about classes or continuing education courses to help you properly achieve new training to try new types of dives!

a man swimming in the water

a group of people on a beach

Gear And Equipment

Underwater, your survival depends on your equipment.  Don’t be lazy when it comes to checking your gear before a dive. Conduct your buddy-check thoroughly – if you or your buddy’s equipment malfunctions it could cause a life-threatening situation for you both.  Make sure that you know how to use the gear.  The majority of equipment related accidents occur not because the equipment breaks but because of diver uncertainty as to how it works.  Don’t ever hesitate to ask for clarification from your divemaster or instructor.

  • Know exactly how your integrated weights release and how to deploy your DSMB safely
  • Know where all dump valves are on your BCD
  • If diving with Nitrox, have you made sure to calibrate your computer to your new air mix?
  • Know safety protocols in using SCUBA equipment
    Being sufficiently prepared is the key to safe diving.

Dive Kauai does provide all gear/equipment needed for each particular dive at no additional charge.  This includes: BCD, Regulator, Mask, Snorkel, Booties/Fins, 3mm Full Wetsuit for all dives.  Depending on the dive we will also provide:  Dive Computers, DSMB, Flashlight.  So if you want to save airline baggage fees and just use our equipment you are more than welcome to!  Our team will have everything properly set-up for you, however, you should be prudent and double check that everything is as it should be.

All of our gear is routinely and rigorously inspected, cleaned/sanitized and maintained in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations.  Many pieces of our gear are inspected and maintained above and beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations for additional safety.

Equipment Sanitization and Cleaning:

Due to the worldwide pandemic of COVID, we want to highlight our cleaning and sanitization procedures for your peace of mind

  • All Scuba & Snorkeling equipment, will be cleaned and disinfected after every tour.  This includes: BCD, Regulator, Wetsuit, Fins, Booties, Masks, DSMB’s, Dive Computers, Flashlights, Tanks, Scooters & Boats.  Call cleaning and sanitization will be done using the procedures and products verified by the CDC and FDA.
  • Boat will be thoroughly cleaned between every trip
  • Regulators, specifically 2nd stage mouthpiece and internal surfaces, snorkels, BCD Oral Inflator & Masks will face extra protocols for sanitization due to their use.  Including soaking in a chemical compound tested to kill 99.9% of virus and bacteria (including COVID) for 10 min before a thorough freshwater rinse.
  • Brand new mouth pieces will be available for purchase if guests would rather have a brand new mouth piece on regulators and snorkels ($8)

If you have any of your own gear/equipment, you are more than welcome to bring and use your gear provided you follow maintenance protocols for all life saving equipment such as BCD’s and Regulators.  Most manufacturers require you take your gear to a licensed technician to inspect, test and repair your gear on a yearly basis at least.  If you have not performed routine maintenance on your gear, please don’t plan to use it on a dive until you have done so.  We will be happy to provide our gear which again is routinely and rigorously maintained.


Keep Yourself Physically Fit

Diving is deceptively physically demanding; although much of our time underwater is relaxing, long surface swims, diving in strong current, carrying gear and exposure to extreme weather all combine to make diving a strenuous activity.  Maintaining an acceptable level of personal fitness is key to diving safely.  Lack of fitness leads to overexertion, which can in turn lead to faster air consumption, panic and any number of resulting incidents.

Obesity, alcohol and tobacco use and tiredness all increase an individual’s susceptibility to decompression sickness, while 25 percent of serious dive accidents are caused by pre-existing diseases that should have excluded the person from diving in the first place.  Always be honest on medical questionnaires and seek advice of a physician as to whether or not you can dive.  Be mindful of temporary impediments to physical fitness – while a cold may not be dangerous on land, it can cause serious damage underwater.  Recover fully from any illness or surgery before getting back in the water.

  • Maintain good mental and physical fitness for diving
  • Avoid being under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs when diving
  • Keep proficient in diving skills, striving to increase them through continuing education and reviewing them in controlled conditions after a period of inactivity
  • Dive Kauai has a weight capacity of 300lbs for our gear and ability to safely perform rescue techniques should they become necessary

For some of our dive experiences, you may be required to complete a medical questionnaire.  Again please be completely honest in your answers to ensure the safest possible dive experience.  Due to safety concerns, we may have to prevent you from participating in a scheduled dive should we find out there are any medical concerns.