Freediving and scuba diving

Freediving and scuba diving: how to safely combine the two activities

Freediving and scuba diving are two popular methods of exploring the underwater world. Both offer unique experiences and require a special approach to preparation and safety. However, combining these two types of diving can lead to an increased risk of decompression sickness due to residual nitrogen in the body's tissues. To minimize this risk, certain precautions must be taken.

Decompression sickness and residual nitrogen

Decompression sickness (DCS) occurs when nitrogen dissolved in the tissues forms gas bubbles as pressure decreases. This can happen during a rapid ascent after scuba diving, as well as during freediving if the body's tissues are saturated with nitrogen from previous compressed air dives.

According to recommendations from the International Association for the Development of Apnea (AIDA), one should refrain from freediving for 12 hours after scuba diving. If multiple scuba dives have been made, a break of at least 24 hours before freediving is required. This is necessary to allow the body time to eliminate excess nitrogen.

After freediving, especially after deep dives beyond 30 meters, it is also advisable to refrain from scuba diving for 12 hours to prevent the possibility of DCS.

Dive planning

One of the key points for safely combining freediving and scuba diving is proper planning. The order of dives and the time intervals between them should be determined in advance. This allows the body to adapt and reduce the nitrogen content in the tissues.

Physical condition and medical control

Before combining different types of underwater activities, it is important to assess your physical condition and undergo a medical examination. Certain diseases or conditions may increase the risk of DCS.

Training and awareness

The key aspect of safely combining freediving and scuba diving is training and a conscious attitude towards diving. It is recommended to take courses and training to improve your skills and knowledge about the features and risks of each type of underwater swimming.

Awareness of how different factors, including depth, time, and the sequence of dives, affect health is indispensable for safety.

Diving with experienced partners

It is best to combine freediving and scuba diving in the company of experienced divers or under the supervision of a professional instructor. This provides an additional level of safety, as experienced partners can assist in unforeseen circumstances and offer valuable advice.

Using dive computers

Dive computers are indispensable devices that help track dive time, depth, and calculate necessary decompression stops and surface interval times between dives. Using such devices can significantly increase safety when combining freediving and scuba diving.

In summary

Freediving and scuba diving are two fascinating ways to explore the underwater world, which, with the right approach, can complement each other. The main thing is to observe safety measures, including sufficient time intervals between different types of dives, as well as adherence to the recommendations of professional organizations such as AIDA. Careful planning, respect for your own body, and knowing your limits are the keys to a successful and safe combination of these types of underwater swimming.
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