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Reef Tip #5

New Divers

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New divers may be nervous and flail around when startled. Inexperienced divers kicking wildly clip off coral tips, whip sand onto the reef and dislodge coral heads. Scuba tanks can turn into battering rams when unthinking divers try t o swim through small openings in the reef. Snorkelers may puzzle over the deep scratches in their fins and mucous scraped from living corals which covers their diveskins.

New snorkelers and scuba divers have not yet discovered how much fun and how easy diving should be. Ideally they would be guided around the reef by a dive master who demonstrates his respect for the coral reef ecosystem.

Most of the work in diving is self-imposed and unnecessary. The freedom of weightlessness is the sum of many factors: correct positioning of the tank in the BCD, the correct weight belt position, the least amount of weight, and the smallest fins appropria te to the task. The more comfortable the new divers is, the less likely he or she is to injure the corals.