The coronavirus threat has spread across the planet. It is deeply impacting the economy and social life in a way that we have never seen before. The scuba diving industry in the world has also been widely affected. Many divers are asking in the forums what additional measures we should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the diving world.
While it is true that a large number of dive centers are closed, there are many operators in lower risk areas that keep operating. Also, there are many divers who are still able to go out for a dive.
Therefore, we want to share some important measures to follow, especially when you are planning to borrow equipment or rent it from a dive shop.
Measures to follow to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in scuba diving.
The first aspect to remember is that the cleaning and disinfection of the scuba equipment should be a regular practice. Although the coronavirus represents a current threat, there are also a number of more common viruses and bacteria, such as the cold or flu, to which we are also exposed. A good cleaning of the equipment will contribute to our health. Either by preventing us from getting COVID-19 or any other disease.
Cleaning and disinfection of regulators
The most important parts of the equipment to be disinfected are:
- Oral inflators
To properly disinfect the equipment, you can immerse it into a 10% chlorine solution. Also you can use Steramine tablets, or any other Ammonium compound in suitable concentrations.
Warm soapy water is always effective. But it is important to use a small brush to clean the parts of the equipment to increase effectiveness.
Cleaning your equipment
Some products like antibacterial sprays don’t seem to be very effective in this case. It is best to wash and disinfect the equipment directly, using the mentioned solutions with soap and water.
Once you have finished disinfecting the equipment, it is very important to rinse with fresh water.
If you are renting the equipment from a dive shop it is very likely that they are already applying cleaning protocols and disinfecting all important pieces of the scuba gear. However, it is always good if you do additional cleaning. If you have a disinfecting wipe, you can thoroughly clean the regulator mouthpiece, breathing tube, interior of the mask, and generally any piece of equipment that has direct contact with your face. You can also use a soft towel with a little alcohol to perform the disinfection. This article from DAN Network provides additional information about cleaning your equipment.
Small groups to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in diving
One of the challenges that dive centers and tour operators are facing today is how to keep their tours with the minimum of participants and at the same time assure profitability.
Scuba diving tours may vary between 4 and 15 participants, depending on diving spots and boats used. By reducing the number of participants in each Tour, it is possible to keep the recommended distances and minimize close interaction (at least out of the water). That is why it is recommended that, at least for now, you avoid participating in tours where the number of divers is very high.
However, one of the advantages in the case of scuba diving is that it is an activity with a high degree of exposure to the open air and the sun. This factor does not favor the spread of this and other pathogens.
Other steps to follow
We know that there are tons of information regarding the coronavirus. So we would like to focus on those aspects related to COVID-19 in scuba diving. We cannot finish this article without mentioning the basic measures that make a difference for everyone, and through which we will succeed together in this pandemic:
- Frequent hand washing (with soap for at least 20 seconds)
- Regular cleaning of objects and high traffic areas (bathrooms, door handles, tables, etc.),
- Avoid contact with sick people
- Respect the 2m distance between people.
- Stay home and report if you have suspicious symptoms.
If you have more questions or would like to know more about scuba diving in Costa Rica, please send us a message. We will be happy to help you.