As a dive center, we receive many questions about the safety stop, is it mandatory? Can I skip it? Why do we do it?
What is the safety stop?
As its name suggests, it consists of a non-mandatory, but highly recommended stop, normally 3 minutes at 5 meters deep, whose main function is to reduce the risk of decompression illness. What we achieve with this stop is to give the body more time to release the nitrogen by making a less abrupt change in pressure than what would be supposed to ascend directly to the surface.
One of the concerns of divers is decompression illness, which becomes important when we break the rules of safe diving. This occurs when the Nitrogen that is dissolved in our blood and tissues forms bubbles in the blood vessels when the pressure decreases, that is, during the ascent.
In this regard, the diving world takes Henry’s Law into account, which tells us that the amount of gas that our tissues absorb is directly proportional to its partial pressure. Therefore, as we descent the pressure increase causes us to absorb a greater amount of gas.
Luckily, there is hardly any risk of suffering from this type of disease when we make slow and controlled ascents, since we give the body time to release part of the nitrogen through breathing, this being the correct way to ascend to stay within the rules of diving. insurance.
When do we have to do it?
Although this stop is not mandatory, it is advisable to do it on all your dives, except in emergency situations.
It is important to differentiate between the safety stop and the DECO stops. The latter are mandatory and are carried out when you exceed the no decompression time, varying their duration and depth depending on the time you have passed over the limits.
Under current spanish regulations, voluntary entry into DECO is prohibited in recreational diving. This means that our bottom time will be shorter at a greater depth, since here the pressure increases and our tissues saturate more quickly. The no-decompression stop time increases as we ascend. To know what our time limit is at a certain depth, we can use both the tables and the dive computers.
Legally, in order to enter DECO you must be a technical diver. This type of diving involves a longer bottom time or a greater depth, so you need a lot of experience and specific training. In addition, technical divers maintain acceptable levels of safety through redundancy, that is, the use of several regulators, buoyancy devices and other pieces of equipment per person, even using different types of gases in the same dive.
It is all these characteristics that allow them to exceed the limits of recreational diving.