Backroll entries are a fun-filled way to get in the water moments before the dive, but there is a certain fineness to throwing yourself in the water backward, equipped with heavy scuba gear.
Backroll entries should be as easy as suiting up in dive gear, rolling backward off the boat and letting the cushion of water envelope your body and flood your wetsuit.
Almost anyone can do a backroll into the water, but like anything, it does take a few tries to indeed perfect this type of dive entry. Backroll is not a skill that is generally taught in the Open Water course, and while it may be second nature to some, for first-time scuba divers it can be intimidating.
Whether you’re backrolling from the bouncy sides of a RIB or high up off the railing of a dive boat there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for a backroll dive entry:
Determining if you are doing a positive or negative entry will dictate if you BCD should be inflated, so you bob up to the surface after entering the water and signal the captain or if you should dump the air so you can negatively descend into the current and regroup with your dive buddy underwater.
Sometimes on drifts, the captain will place the boat in a perfect position to reach the dive site utilizing the strong current. On these drifts, there is no time to dally at the surface and divers roll off the boat in unison, executing a negative entry regrouping as they drift underwater. In these instances, it is essential that when the captain counts down, all divers roll together and not a moment before or after. Roll too soon, and you might get clobbered by a dive tank, roll too late, and you might land on top of someone else.
Alternatively, when conditions are friendlier, divers can inflate their BCD and roll off the boat one-by-one, as they finish their dive preparations, coming together at the surface before starting the dive.
The scuba backroll is the best water entry technique for getting into the water from a RIB, zodiac, or small boat. While you can use the backroll entry for larger vessels, sometimes the sides are too high from the surface of the water, making this type of entry unsafe. Some bigger boats might not have appropriate platforms for divers to enter the water via giant stride, in which case the backroll is the go-to entry method. In general, use your common sense and training knowledge to determine what method is the best fit for your situation.
Once you’ve established the dive logistics with the group, it’s time to roll into the water, literally! Here is a step by step guide for acing you backroll dive entry:
As with anything in life, mishaps do happen, and scuba diving entries are no different.
During backroll entries, we’ve seen many-a-diver lose their mask, bash their legs on the side of the dive boat and even land on top of another unsuspecting person. Don’t let that be you! Here are some tips to help you avoid backroll catastrophe:
Backroll scuba entries are a mixture of practice, self-aware and general common sense.
For those who have done them, they can be a breeze. For those who have yet to try this entry, it can be nerve-wracking.
The first time you backroll enter into the water it can be a little disorientating. Relax and trust in your gear. With your regulator in you can breathe underwater, and if your meeting the group at the surface, the air in your BCD will get you there in no time.
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