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Check3GPS Readiness Quotient

Your supervisor may use the following checklist to determine if you have adequately addressed the risk factors for cliff diving.  If you can answer “yes” to all the questions below, you should be good to go!

  1. Do you have some experience and/or training in cliff diving?   

  2. Do you only dive at a cliff with a significant amount of water underneath it?

  3. Do you dress appropriately?

  4. Do you always have a dive partner close by in case of an emergency? 

  5. Are you always familiar with dangers in your dive zone (such as hidden rocks, branches, limbs)?

  6. Do you have a guide to accompany you when diving in an unfamiliar area?   

  7. Do you check the cliff for dangerous obstacles before diving?   

  8. Are your knees in good enough condition to propel yourself off the cliff? 

  9. Do you ensure there is a cellular phone/marine phone available to use in an emergency?   

  10. Do you know the proper landing technique (landing perpendicular to the water, with arms and legs stretched out and back arched) to avoid a fractured back? 

 

This checklist has been adapted from the Pacific Air Forces High Risk Activities Guide.

Courses

TOP HAZARDS AND HOW TO MITIGATE THEM

1. DIVING BEYOND YOUR ABILITIES 

Mitigate: Pros may make cliff diving look easy as they leap from 100-foot heights, performing elegant aerial gymnastics on the way down. But if you are new to the sport, you should start out jumping or diving from no more than 20 feet. Even at that height, you will hit the water at 25 mph!  (Check out the “Splat Calculator” to find your speed at impact from even greater heights.) Forgo the twists, tucks and flips at first, and stick to the classic pencil dive (feet first, in a straight, upright position). Hitting the water at angles other than perpendicular to the surface will not only hurt, but increase the likelihood of serious injury, including dislocated shoulders and broken backs and necks. 

2. DIVING ALONE 

Mitigate:  Cliff diving is one of the most dangerous extreme sports. Both amateur and professional divers can lose consciousness, break bones or otherwise become incapacitated after hitting the water. Even if not seriously injured, you could become disoriented and panicky. If something does go awry, it is critical to have a buddy nearby to initiate rescue operations and/or call for emergency assistance. 

 

3. SHALLOW OR OBSTRUCTED WATERS 

Mitigate: Before diving, be sure to strap on a pair of goggles, take a big breath, and explore the water under your landing area for rocks, branches or other underwater obstacles.  You should also check the water depth with a tape measure, stick, avalanche probe or rope. To dive safely from heights of 20 feet or less, you will need 8 to 10 feet of water; if diving from heights of more than 20 feet, you will need  16 feet of water.

 

4. RIP CURRENTS

Mitigate: Learn how to spot rip currents, which lurk, counterintuitively, under dark, flat waters. In general, avoid jumping or diving into waters with strong currents. If you do get caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore, stay calm, and immediately call or signal for help.

5. FATIGUE OR INEBRIATION 

Mitigate: Cliff diving is an extreme sport that requires the diver to be of sound mind and body. One wrong move—like slipping on takeoff, jumping before a previous jumper has exited the water, or being less than vertical upon impact—can result in serious injury or death. Since both alcohol and fatigue can impair your judgment and performance, only dive when you are sober and well-rested.   

BASIC PRECAUTIONS

Choosing a Cliff

  • Start off with cliffs with a 20-foot or lower drop.

  • Ask locals or anyone who has cliff-diving experience in the area if there is anything you should know about the particular cliff you want to dive from.

  • Check the water depth out for yourself by swimming around in the water below the cliff before you dive.

  • Make sure the water you will be jumping into is at least 8 feet deep; for every 10 extra feet of cliff height, add 2 feet to water depth, up to 16 feet.

  • Avoid jumping near waterfalls.

 

Swimming Safely

  • Make sure you have strong swimming skills prior to cliff diving. Sign up for a swimming class, if necessary.

  • Practice swimming, as well as jumping feet first, at a local pool before heading out on a cliff-diving adventure.

  • Use the buddy system to take turns watching out for swimmers below.

  • Just before jumping, make sure no one is swimming in the water beneath you.

 

Preparing for Emergencies 

  • Make sure someone in your party has a cell phone that gets good reception in case you need to call an emergency responder.

  • Never cliff dive alone; make sure someone is with you in case of emergencies, especially one with cliff diving experience.

 

User Proper Form 

  • Keep your body tight and streamlined while jumping, with arms close to your sides and legs straight but not locked.

  • Keep feet directly below your spine when you jump.

  • When you hit the water, breathe out through your nose.

 

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