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How To Make a Safe Scuba Diving Ascent After Your Safety Stop

BY PATRICIA WUEST

The greatest risk of DCS or AGE might occur after your safety stop. Here are some tips on how to stay safe on the final portion of your ascent.

Extend your safety stop. Every moment here is an investment in your safety. So why not spend five minutes instead of the traditional “three at 15,” as DAN’s Neal Pollock suggests? Bored? Practice some basic safety skills like clearing a flooded mask to pass the time.

Be neutral at your safety stop. It’s the same as when you test your buoyancy at the surface before your dive — you should sink when you exhale.

Travel 30 feet per minute to the surface. If you’re at 15 feet for your safety stop, that means it should take 30 sec- onds for you to break the sur- face of the water. Remember, there’s no rush. Try counting the same way you did playing hide-and-seek as a kid: “One Mississippi, two Mississippi ...”

Float on the surface for five minutes. Of course, this isn’t always practical, but when conditions are calm and the water is warm, why not take a few moments to pause at the surface before climbing the boat ladder or exiting from a shore dive?
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