Any responsible freediver will ensure they have a qualified freediving buddy with them at all times – one who is trained and able to rescue them from any scenario they might find themselves in, while extending the same level of safety and reassurance in return to their freediving buddy.
When a student chooses to do a RAID freediver course, while their primary objective in most cases, is to become a safe freediver, they will also be expected to learn how to be a safe freediving buddy too.
This responsibility begins before either divers even enter the water. There should be a robust dive plan, risk assessment and emergency plan in place, and they should have told others when and where they are diving.
Equipment and bouyancy should be checked to ensure it is safe and suitable for the conditions being diving in.
You cannot predict what may happen to your body or the environment whilst you freedive, and so you must always dive with every possible safety angle covered. It does not matter how capable a freediver you are; freak accidents can and do happen, and without obeying basic safety rules you cannot guarantee your personal safety.
I liked having a freediving buddy – knowing someone was there. We didn’t get into any difficult situations, but it does make you appreciate that if you are going to mess around at lower depths get buddied up or just don’t, don’t go there.
What makes a good freediving buddy?
A good freediving buddy is someone who understands their role and responsibility for the diver. That includes:
- Checking the diver’s mask, hood and equipment (for example making sure the mask skirt is inside the hood)
- Knowing what the diver intends to do
- Understanding what the diver wants them to do
- Clear communication at all times
- Meeting them at a pre-agreed depth if doing a depth dive
- Being able to rescue them if needed
If you are a regular freediving buddy for a diver you will develop a pre-dive routine that is efficient, effective and safe. The requirements of a freediving buddy will vary depending on the freediving discipline being performed. For example:
Static apnea requires intense concentration and multi-tasking – clock watching, communication, observing the diver, coaching, physical support.
Dynamic apnea requires physical effort to keep up with the diver, give them room to turn, coach them through post dive procedure.
Depth disciplines requires the freediving buddy to descend to a pre-agreed depth to meet the diver and surface together, ready to intervene if something goes wrong, ensuring you are no more than a hand’s grab away at any time.
Recreational diving requires both divers to obey the ‘one up, one down’ rule, whereby one of you dives whilst the other one becomes the buddy. Your risk assessment should determine whether a line and a lanyard, either secured to a boat or a large freediving buoy should be used.
Spearfishing is safest when the dive is with one gun between two divers. The diver would be classed as the one being attached to a line running to the buoy.
Having a freediving buddy is reassurance that when you are pushing yourself at depth and you are coming up and taking those recovery breaths there is someone there keeping an eye on you. It encourages you to be confident to push that extra bit.
What freeediving buddy safety techniques does Go Freediving teach?
Go Freediving follows the RAID learning programme for our freediving courses. As well as classroom input regarding how to prepare a dive plan and risk assessment, students are also expected to complete a number of practice safety and rescue scenarios. Here is a list of the skills each student must master to be considered a safe freediving buddy.
Correct freediving buddy safety system
Here the student must have mastered the buddy safety system for freediving by always freediving with a buddy present & displaying the correct direct supervision techniques of the one up one down freediving code of conduct at all times.
Perform a correct rescue scenario for dynamic
For this skill they must have mastered rescue and safety skills for black out, hypoxic fit, mastered rescue underwater & rescue on the surface using the Rescue Response Revive protocol during Dynamic Freediving skills.
Perform cramp removal on freediving buddy
The student will have performed and mastered techniques used to relieve leg/foot cramps on a buddy.
Perform the tired or injured diver tow technique
Towing a tired freediving buddy by using a pushing technique and a pulling technique using head support in case of an unconscious diver is another skill they are required to have mastered.
Perform a correct Shallow Water Blackout rescue of freediving buddy scenario from 10m
To pass this test the student must have mastered rescue and safety skills for shallow water blackout, due to hypoxia, mastered rescue from depth & subsequent rescue on the surface using the Rescue Response Revive protocol while remaining calm and in control using proper techniques.
Check Out Our Latest Freediving Course Students
Class 17th – 18th June 2019
RAID Freediver Course
Date: 17 –18 June 2019
Location: Vobster Inland Dive Centre
Water temperature: 16 degrees
Weather: cloudy, 16 degrees
Visibility: Excellent (15m+)
Instructors: David and Tom
Students: Luke, Matt, Graham, Simon and Sean
Want to know what this weekend’s students thought of their course with us? Read on!
I want to get into spearfishing and I just thought this would be the safest way, because I need to learn how to be able to stay underwater long enough and go deep enough safely before I can start to think about spearfishing! There are definitely mistakes I would have made, like hyperventilating, and I would have dragged someone else into it as a buddy, and neither of us would have known any of the safety and coming up and doing proper recovery breaths and all that sort of thing, and I wouldn’t have known how to save someone if they were having a blackout.
I did a reasonable amount of research online and went down to Portland first because I have climbed down there and know there are dive clubs down there. I had a look around and talked to a few people and they just seemed very nonchalant and disinterested. So, I started researching online, found Go Freediving, looked at the Google reviews and they were all amazing, looked through the website which seemed to give a lot of information and they seemed very positive about doing it right.
This course has made me realise that I am doing a lot of things wrong and I know that I need to relax more. I think I have relaxed more today and that was from just having some time to reflect on it. I think I need to practice.
Learning to be a freediving buddy was good – getting them to breathe correctly. It was good to learn the techniques for turning people over, because that is actually difficult in the water if you don’t know what you are doing, because your automatic reaction would be to pull them over by their shoulder, but actually it’s not efficient, it’s not quick and it is not going to put them into a position where their head is out of the water.
The part of the course I liked most was this morning where things clicked a bit more with the equalising, and that I am recognising the mistakes I am making. So, as I am going down, I will tuck my chin in. It’s not necessarily fixed but at least I am recognising it.
The benefits of doing this course is that you have safety – which from what I could tell other people really didn’t have in place. Vobster has nice clear water and it’s not choppy with currents or tides which I imagine could get you tired quite quickly fighting it. The key thing is the safety. Everything is all thought out. It is pre-planned, people know what to expect which means you can get the most out of it as you possibly can.
Freediving is a dangerous sport. I would recommend this course for the safety side of things. You read through the theory and realise it can be very dangerous. This course helps you be aware and know how to progress dives correctly.
I decided to do a freediving course because Luke was into it, told me about it and I thought it was pretty cool and something new to try. We had a look around and the reviews for Go Freediving were really, really good.
I have discovered that the pressure and depth is quite a challenge for me. I wouldn’t want to do it on my own! A freediving buddy is essential!
It’s been a nice, fun group and vibe. Everyone was quite relaxed and you guys were really good. It was nice that you were laughing and joking around to keep us relaxed.
I would recommend this course because of the quality of teaching, the general vibe and the relaxation.
I’d wanted to do a freediving course for a while. I Googled it and Go Freediving came up and was widely regarded as having good ratings, there was a small number of divers to instructors, so if something goes wrong you just want to know someone is there.
I have done a sort of freediving before, but because of confidence haven’t gone deeper. This course has made me appreciate that you can go deeper quite easily, but probably want to have someone else around!
For me, on the second or third dive when I went down and relaxed at 10 or 11 metres and levelled off I really enjoyed it. It felt good! When you go down you worry whether you have enough oxygen, but when you get there you are wow! This is pretty cool! So when we were going around the plane, I had some time down there for looking around – I enjoyed that.
I liked having a freediving buddy – knowing someone was there. We didn’t get into any difficult situations, but it does make you appreciate that if you are going to mess around at lower depths get buddied up or just don’t, don’t go there. I would definitely want to dive with someone if I was at depth – that made me wake up. It’s also useful to understand how you can help someone. It was quite different because when I have done swimming CPR, the biggest problem is that the person is in distress so you almost have to fight them. But here the person has already gone through the distress and has already flipped out and you’re trying to rescue them.
I think it’s been good doing the course with you guys. I think the venue here is good – you have a variety of things to dive on. I didn’t mind not diving in the pool on this course – I actually think it made me more relaxed. There has been no pressure to dive deeper. You just think, right, just do your dive – which makes quite a big difference mentally – just enjoy this.
I would definitely recommend this course. I’ve enjoyed it! It’s done what it advertised! It is so different to a scuba dive and it is about having the confidence to hold your breath – that is definitely something I can do a lot longer, but you want to have the faith, have a few people around you when you do it – that makes all the difference. So for me, it has definitely done what I wanted.
Being a scuba diver I’m used to being underwater, but relying on equipment to keep me safe. Going around under my own steam whilst freediving, enjoying myself, and being a lot quieter attracted me – I just fancied seeing what it was like.
I know Emma already through work, and it was a very easy thing to book. But I am very aware of all the good work she has been doing and I would have probably chosen Go Freediving anyway!
Having come into the course managing 5 maybe 6 metres on a breathhold and then managing 18 – 20 metres by the second day, just by making a few tweaks is pretty amazing really!
Having a freediving buddy is reassurance that when you are pushing yourself at depth and you are coming up and taking those recovery breaths there is someone there keeping an eye on you. It encourages you to be confident to push that extra bit. Towards the end when we were all playing around, one was diving, one was at the surface. It just all made sense.
I liked doing the whole course in Vobster, because that is what you are actually going to do. I want to go on to do spearfishing so doing it all there was a benefit.
The benefits of doing the course, for me, are personal development – that’s always good and learning all the breathe-up techniques.
I would recommend freediving to anyone. It’s low cost, easy to do, accessible and good for body and mind. I’m not sweating but my body knows I’ve had a workout!
I did this course because I wanted to become more competent at breath hold and understand those sorts of things. Also, I am in a bit of a unique position because I sell freediving equipment, so I wanted to gain more knowledge and understand from a sales perspective what freedivers need.
For me, the thing I am going to take away from this course is the recovery breaths. That, I wasn’t doing previously. So to recover quicker and be ready to go again, that’s really quite useful.
The banter on the course has been good fun and to actually push my limits was really good. I’m really pleased with it so overall it has been very positive.
The benefits of this course is locality – it’s a nice, central location, you guys are all fairly laid back which makes for a nice situation to come into, and finally, being able to get some visibility in the water makes it a controlled environment.
This is a good course, you leave feeling a lot more confident than when you arrived and the feeling during the course is nice.
Freediving Courses With Go Freediving
Go Freediving is the longest established, most experienced and friendliest freediving course provider in the UK, led by world class freediving instructor trainer Emma Farrell, and her team of personally trained instructors. No other course provider has such a good instructor to student ratio, safety record and personal touch.
Whether you’re a beginner dipping your toes into the world of freediving, a seasoned pro looking to turn professional, or simply a freediver of any level who wants the best freediving holiday in the world, we’re here for you!
Also check out our online guide, The Beginners Guide to Freediving by clicking here!
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