By Jonas Samuelsson PADI Regional Manager and TecRec Instructor Trainer.
We already discussed trim and propulsion in a previous blog here on PADI TecRec. Today I am going to review an acronym I created to make it easier for my students to remember what to check prior to each descent. I call it the BELL Check.
- Bubble check.
- Equipment matching
- Long hose
Bubble check. Each team buddy up and run through the check one by one. We start with the Bubble check which includes checking any air leaks you might have, behind you if diving with doubles or in front of you if diving with sidemount. The buddy confirms that there is no leak. The next step is to open and close the deco cylinders. Don’t purge the tanks. You always want the system to be pressurized to avoid any problems during the dive. Next, you make sure there are no leaks from the SPG or the hose. Then you check the inflator systems. You inflate and deflate the wing and if diving with a drysuit, do the same while checking that the system is in intact
Equipment matching. The reason why you want to conduct an equipment matching check is to check functionality and as a reminder for your buddy where you are carrying your equipment and that you and the other divers in the team are having a very similar configuration. This check will also serve as a reminder if you forgot any of the required equipment prior to descending. Your students start from the top and run through all the equipment they are carrying while their buddy is verifying each step. If diving in cold water this step could be conducted at the surface just prior to get in.
Longhose. The long hose has to be easy accessible and always ready to be quickly deployed if needed, regardless of whether you are diving back or sidemount. Show your buddy that the long hose is free to be deployed and make sure that you pull the complete hose out holding the second stage in one right hand and the length of the hose in the other.
Lights. I recommend divers always carry three lights. I prefer to have the two back up torches to be attached on each side of the harness and one main light attached to the lower right part of the harness and carried with a ‘Goodman handle’. Turn on/off the backup lights. Turn on the main light and leave it on during the complete dive. You don’t usually carry any lights in your pockets . The reason is that if the light(s) switch on during the dive you can’t identify the problem and in the event you might need that backup light the battery may have run out.
Surface Air valve. If diving with a fullface mask you can add this step to the BELL(S) Check. Both buddies confirm that the surface valve on fullface masks is completely closed and that the regulator systems are intact.
When all buddies have completed this step and signalled ok, the team are ready to start the descent. You stop at 5 meters where you conduct a final descent/bubble check where you check once again for any leaks in the system. Open and close all the deco cylinders to ensure they are pressurized. Check that the long hose is free to be deployed and that all feels ok in general. The team signal ok to each other and now the dive starts.
The BELL Check works in other languages as well. Spanish for example:
L Latiguillo Largo
Can you make the BELL Check in other languages? Next blog is going to discuss the importance of having a team approach in technical diving.
Jonas Samuelsson PADI Regional Manager and TecRec Instructor Trainer
[This article expresses the techniques used by one TecRec Instructor Trainer. It is the responsibility of any instructor to ensure the techniques they choose meet all standards and control requirements and allow students to meet performance requirements.]