Diving is a sport that almost everyone can enjoy, either as a participant or as a spectator. But, as with every other sport, injuries can spoil the fun for everyone. So to get the most pleasure from diving and to avoid serious injuries, don't take needless risks. Learn some basic rules for safe diving.
Once you've started your dive, you don't have time to think. Know the depth of the water, the configuration of the pool bottom, and the upslope. Plan your dive path. Never dive where you don't know the water depth or where there may be hidden obstructions.
When you dive, you must be ready to steer up. As you enter the water, your arms must be extended over your head, hands flat and aiming up. Hold your head up and arch your back. This way, your whole body helps you steer up, away from the bottom.
Plan a shallow dive, immediately steering up. Don't try the straight vertical-entry dives you see in competition. These dives take a long time to slow down and must be done only after careful training and in pools designed for competitive diving.
Your extended arms and hands not only help you to steer up to the surface, they can also protect your head. If a diver's head hits bottom, major spinal cord injury to neck and spine can result in paralysis. So always remember, head and hands up!
Research studies have shown that you cannot rely on the water alone to slow you down sufficiently to avoid injury. Protective action must be taken by the diver or headfirst slider. Serious spinal injuries can occur even at very slow speeds, if the head strikes firmly against the pool bottom or side.
Sometimes divers lose control through improper use of hands and arms. Practice holding your arms extended, hands flat and tipped up. Like learning to swim or ride a bicycle, you have to know how to make the right moves automatically. Carefully rehearse the proper diving techniques before you dive.
Do not allow any diving or headfirst entry into any pool until you are sure the pool is designed for diving and meets all standards for diving pools, such as the International Aquatic Foundation (IAF) standards. Consult your pool builder or APSP member if you have any doubts. Do not allow diving into a pool, or any part of the pool, that is not deep enough for diving. It is recommended that "No Diving" signs be placed at all areas of the pool where diving is not appropriate.
Your first entry into a pool should be feet first so you can determine water depth and pool configuration. As a responsible pool owner, pay special attention to headfirst entry—diving and sliding. Both activities involve headfirst entry into the water at high speed—a situation that can lead to very serious, life-threatening accidents.
The chief danger for divers or headfirst sliders is serious spinal injury. They may hit their heads against the bottom or side of the pool or against some object or person. Injuries to the spinal cord may result, causing temporary or permanent paralysis or death. Never use alcohol or drugs while diving or swimming.