skip to main content

How to Stay Safe when Diving


With care and appropriate training diving is a safe and enjoyable activity – but for those who take risks it can quickly become life threatening.

Always investigate and confirm that conditions are safe before diving. Consider currents, wind, tides, swell, boat traffic, alternate/emergency exits, and ability to obtain medical aid/evacuation in an emergency.


Think DEEP and follow these safety rules for every dive:


D stands for Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs when you’re thinking of going diving.

E is for Equipment always needs to be good and in good working order.

E also for Exercise and keep fit if you’re going diving. Always have a health check to ensure you’re fit for the task.

P is take a pal, partner or other person! Never dive alone.


Be prepared when you go diving:

  • Get professional training

  • Plan your dive and dive your plan

  • Check the forecast 

  • Carry a signalling device i.e. safety sausage


Dive flags

It is a legal requirement that a dive flag is displayed. It must be able to be seen and identified from 200m away. The minimum legal flag size is 600mm high by at least 600mm long. It must be clearly visible even when there is no wind.

A watch keeper or boat person left on the dive boat must be instructed to wave the flag so that it can be seen by any approaching vessel. A three dimensional rigid mounted flag is necessary if no watch keeper stays on board.

The flag means a diver is in the water, it informs other boat users to keep well clear and move at a slow speed. All other boat users must maintain at least 200m distance from the flag or keep their speed to less than 5 knots.


New Zealand Underwater Association has more information here

How to Stay Safe when Diving

+ Text Size -