Why do Scuba Divers Dive/Fall Backwards off Boats into the Sea?

Whether you’ve dived before, watched someone else dive or are receiving instructions for scuba diving, the default method of entering the water is backwards. Basically, you sit on the edge of the boat then slowly fall back into the water.

The main reason for this is safety. Falling backwards is the safest way to enter the water given all the gear on your body. Jumping into the water either headfirst or with your feet, belly or side will likely damage the gear and even injure you as well.

While there are other styles of entering the water when scuba diving, the backwards method is the most favored owing to the ease of controlling the gear on your body. In this position, you can control the various pipes and tubes and other parts of the scuba diving gear while having little impact on them as you go into the water.

Reasons for the Backward Roll

Some the reasons the backward roll is favored over other methods when scuba diving include the following:


The primary reason for the backward roll is safety. Scuba diving entails hauling some very delicate gear which can easily get damaged or injure you if you subject it to heavy impact. Falling backwards exposes the tanks on your back to the impact of the water. These tanks are the toughest part of the gear and won’t get damaged easily. Even with that, it’s a roll into the water not a fall.

Back roll entry
A diver ready for a back roll

Normally, the jump is backwards with one hand holding the face mask while the other one holding any other part of the gear. If you jump in feet first, you’re likely to damage the fins on your feet as they’re not used to heavy impact. Diving in head first is even more dangerous as it can damage the face mask. You’re also likely to damage other parts of the gear with the last two options.

Boat Stability

For smaller boats, the exit of the scuba diver can rock the boat enough to topple it over. As such, the backward roll is used in stabilizing the boat since it reduces on the rocking motions. While these motions won’t be an issue when the diving is done from a lager boat, it’s a good safety precaution.

Other Entry Techniques

Besides the backward role, other methods you can use to enter the water when scuba diving include the following:

1.      The Seated Entry

When you have limited space to enter the water, the other method to use is the seated entry. As the name suggests, you seat on the edge of the boat with your feet dangling over the edge. As you do this, simply lift yourself with your hands into the water. Make sure you land when facing the boat. As such, you’ll need to a do a little twist midair once you come off the boat and into the water.

2.      The Giant Stride

The giant stride is simply a big stride into the water for when you have enough space to do so. With your scuba diving gear on, stand with your fins off the platform. You then take a big step forwards and into the water. Don’t jump into the water as it defeats the essence of safety. Also, step far enough that the tank doesn’t hit the platform and get damaged.

Keep one hand on the face mask and the other on any loose gear on your body.

3.      Wading Entry

If you don’t have a platform to jump from and you’re on a beach or shore, simply wading into the water with your scuba diving gear is another option. This, however, differs from the other entry methods in a few ways.

First, you’ll wade into the water without your swimming fins as you can’t walk in them. Simply have them in your hand ready to wear them when you reach the right depth. This will require that you wear dive boots to keep your feet safe from cuts and stings.

Secondly, you’ll partially inflate your BCD as you wade into the water. When you reach a diving depth, you fully inflate your BCD, put on the fins then dive.

4. The James Bond Roll

The James Bond roll is named after the famous fictional British spy whose movies have wowed many audiences. In the films, Bond has a way of getting into the water with scuba diving gear in a rather unconventional manner.

Rather than using the above methods, Bond usually jumps off a platform be it a low-flying chopper or fast-moving boat then still lands on his back with the gear first.

To do this, one has to somersault forwards such that they land on their back with the gas tanks hitting the water first.

These methods of entry are the safest you can attempt. Make sure other safety measures such as having a partner and flags are there to stay safe.

Why do scuba divers fall backwards joke: Video

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