We partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) to come up with tips to help you host a safe diving experience. These are best practices, but you’re the expert on the activities you lead. A great Host always thinks about what more they can do to keep everyone safe.
Match your guest to the right trip
If there are health, fitness, or other requirements needed to safely enjoy the experience, make this clear in your experience’s description. This includes providing details about the length of time, exertion and fitness required, and skill levels needed.
Here’s a guide from the ATTA to help you communicate to guests what skill level is needed for your diving experience:
- Beginner: Expect floating and observing the underwater world. It is easy to get familiar with the snorkelling gear. Floating effortlessly on a calm surface.
- Intermediate: Expect floating and observing the underwater world. It is easy to get familiar with the snorkelling gear. Floating downstream rivers or in the presence of potentially aggressive aquatic life.
- May range from a discovery dive where a host instructs all steps required to a more independent dive, within the scope of certified guests.
- Beginner: Dives to a recommended maximum depth of 12 meters.
- Intermediate: Dives to a recommended maximum depth of 20 meters.
- Advanced: Dives to a recommended maximum depth of 30 meters and a maximum depth of 40 meters.
- Wreck dives are for certified Scuba Divers only. Guests holding specific certification on wreck diving may be granted access to wreck penetration dives, and scuba divers can participate in dives that do not include penetration of wrecks.
- Beginner: Pleasure dives navigating on the outside of the wreck.
- Intermediate: Small penetrations with easy access to open water and few entanglement and navigational hazards (e.g. doors that might close, silt, falling parts).
- Advanced: More challenging navigation inside the wreck with narrow passages and navigational hazards. Guests may lead these dives.
- Cave dives are for certified Scuba Divers, and guests shall be already trained and certified on cave diving in order to engage in any cave diving activity.
- Beginner: First level of cave diving is called cavern diving where guests stay within the light zone of a cave and at a linear total distance of 40 meters from the surface. The light zone of a cave is defined as that part of the cave from which natural light illuminating the entrance is visible at all times.
- Intermediate: Limited to a depth of 30 meters but guests may go further inside the cave, losing sight of natural light. Navigation is simpler and limited to following the main line inside the cave.
- Advanced: Depth limit of 40 meters and cave navigation may involve jumps, gaps and circuits, and traverses.
Once someone books, you can use Airbnb’s messaging system to introduce yourself and help your guests feel welcome and prepared. Let them know that you’re available to answer any questions.
It may seem obvious, but confirm in advance that all guests are qualified to dive, as applicable, and describe any requirements for certification in your experience listing details. Snorkelers may not have a formal certification or experience, so you may need to match your level of assistance to the guest’s needs. For scuba divers, always check for certification. If available, also check for a record of experience (log book).
You should create an experience where your guests feel comfortable asking questions at any point. Try to anticipate common points of concern (such as how to use the bathroom on your experience, expectations for interaction with others, etc.). Address any concerns outright–and make yourself available to attend to these and any others questions throughout your experience.
Listen with patience and authentic concern, and try to put yourself in your guests shoes. This could include practical matters like if there will be food, snacks, or water provided, if they should bring their own water bottle, and what bathroom facilities are available. Try to address these concerns before guests have to ask. What may seem normal to you may be difficult or fear-inspiring for your guests, so your communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience.
Follow local regulations & check forecasts
You should have the local knowledge (or do the research) to know if and when it’s acceptable for you to guide at your dive site and what rules or regulations apply to areas in which you may dive. Check the weather forecast, tide table, and know the site well enough to be able to anticipate dangerous conditions for a particular diver or group of divers.
Set expectations with a pre-dive briefing
Before you head into the water, take some time to brief your guests with any important information. Depending on your experience, you may want to discuss local laws and regulations and points of concern, agree on a gas turning point, and review emergency procedures such as what to do in case of buddy team separation. In the water, review skills with beginners as needed, like buoyancy control. Make sure guests of any level are comfortable before you carry on with the dive.
As a dive host, you should be constantly assessing your guests’ skills–while talking on land, during briefings and debriefings, and in the water. Once you’re in the water, keep checking in: ask guests how they’re feeling and closely observe them to see if they’re comfortable and their skills match the conditions.
Provide the right gear
Confirm with your guests that they’re comfortable on the specific set of gear they are carrying, have rented or own and what you’re providing before the experience. You and your guests should be extra careful with borrowed equipment. Guests should have well-fitted masks, fins and wetsuits.
If you provide rental equipment, make sure each piece of gear fits your guests properly and is in working order. Always have a comprehensive first aid and emergency oxygen kits easily accessible at your support station on shore or boat.
Choose the proper conditions
Before the dive, talk to guests about conditions they may encounter, such as currents, surf and surge, any aquatic life or underwater features they should be aware of. Clearly communicate expectations from the start about where and how the dive will be carried out. Keep an eye on conditions throughout the experience in case they change and you need to act accordingly.
You should be able to tell when conditions are too dangerous for each particular guest’s diving level. Don’t get in the water or continue your activity if there is an unreasonable or unexpected risk to your guests.
Keeping the tank valve opened: Always choose safety
As a diving host, you should have water rescue skills, including up-to-date First Aid, CPR, and emergency oxygen provider certifications. You should have extensive diving experience in the areas and conditions you lead guests. If you are leading Scuba Divers you must hold at least a Divemaster certification issued by a recognized Training Organization. Leading Cave and Wreck diving also requires specific training and qualifications.
You should also have an emergency action plan and share it with your guests before the experience starts: let them know what they should do in case of emergency and where the emergency equipment is stored. Find out more about making an emergency plan.
Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA): Courtesy of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. ©2021 Adventure Travel Trade Association. All rights reserved.The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) name and logo are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement or vetting of, express or implied, of any product, service, person, company, opinion or political position. The ATTA does not select or approve, and is not involved in the selection or approval of, Airbnb Experiences or hosts. For more information about the Adventure Travel Trade Association, visit adventuretravel.biz.