Diving in the time of Covid-19
During this unfortunate crisis, we had the time to prepare for new challenges and to adapt to our new ways of diving.
Since diving is a social activity, we dive to meet and share with people. We are in fact communities around the world, and we have to be aware of the today's do's and don'ts of our new life style.
PADI, DAN and all associations related to the activity, worked hard to provide us with guidelines regarding the new risks of our sport.
We at Get Wet have kept ourselves busy reading up about the coronavirus COVID-19.
We trained ourselves and will follow all protocols when it comes to social distancing and equipment cleaning to reduce the risk of infection, in order to keep us safe while doing what we love the most, diving.
Adapted procedures for Cenote diving
Organisation of your Day:
- No more than 3 pax (unless traveling together) per outing so we can maintain proper social distancing in the car.
Cenote guides are not allowed to lead more that 4 divers. Super convenient 4 pax plus the driver/guide is the number of people who can fit in a pick up truck. During these times though, we better limit the number at 3 px so we can comply with social distancing rules.
*Only divers will be allowed on the trip, non- divers would not be able to accompany us*
- Body Temperature will be check before each trip.
This is becoming a pretty common safety measure around banks, supermarkets and most other public spaces. In the morning of the dive, we’ll check everybody's temperature to make extra sure that nobody is running a fever.
- The use of PPE (Personal protective equipment).
Our guides will be wearing face masks during the car ride as well as briefings, and it’s mandatory that all divers wear it too. Reusable masks will be available for sale if you forgot to bring yours.
- The car will be disinfected before and after our activities.
You can be sure that the car will be properly disinfected by the team with Lysol, one of the products accepted and recommended by the EPA that can also be easily found in Mexico. All handles, boards, seats... inside the car will be sprayed.
- When possible, we can meet at the dive sites, the Cenotes.
Having a car for your holidays has always been the best way to move around as it gives you considerable freedom of movement and it’s way cheaper than grabbing a taxi each time, as apps such as Uber are not available in the Riviera Maya, and local taxis can be tricky and not worth the hassle. If you have your own car and are willing to drive to the cenote, we will agree on an easy to find meeting point near the cenote, and avoid sharing the car altogether. This will also give you the freedom to continue with your day.
- Bring with you only the necessary.
Personal belongings (including clothes) should be stored in such a way as to avoid contact with common surfaces. To minimize the risk of contact, please store personal items in plastic bags, or keep everything neatly in your backpack.
- Cenote appropriate facilities.
Most of the cenotes we propose have bathrooms with sinks and soap that allows us to properly and regularly wash our hands.
- Each diver will be in charged of their own equipment.
This is not new for Cenote diving. We always clarified that Cenote diving is a very independent kind of diving, meaning, you have to be able to assemble and handle your own equipment, be also able to carry it yourself all the way to the water; sometimes you have to do a little bit of heavy lifting to be able to blow bubbles in a cenote.
But as usual, we are always there to help and very happy to do it, we would never compromise your safety and will intervene only when necessary. However, to avoid touching your equipment, we will require you to assemble your own equipment. We will also require everyone to disinfect theirs hands before assembling the equipment.
*If you are unable to carry your equipment, you can let us know and a “Sherpa” will be hired at an extra cost. He’ll be asked to follow protocols and advised in how to handle your equipment.
Handling of your Equipment:
- Tank filling and handling.
All our tanks are filled professionally by a dedicated service provider, who follows all safety protocols regarding the Covid-19. In any case, during the compression process the air is heated over 120 Celsius, guaranteeing the destruction of the virus, even if the virus could enter the compressor. The only contamination risk is the valve, that will be sprayed and cleaned with chlorine just before is handed to you.
*In any case, please avoid touching the tank valve (other than the handle) while assembling your equipment*
- Rental equipment will be fully disinfected.
Being a small team we will do this personally at the end of each diving day.
No general rinse tanks will be used. Equipment with high risks of transmission (regulators, masks, snorkels and BCD’s LPIs) will be disinfected in individual buckets.
We’ll be following DAN EUROPE’s (Divers Alert Network) advice / precautions in how to disinfect equipment.
Use of a solution containing 0.1% of active ingredient sodium hypochlorite bleach.
Perform disinfection operations wearing gloves, mask and eye protection.
Mix solutions in well ventilated areas.
Prepare solutions using cold water, as hot water damages the active ingredient.
Never mix bleach with other products or chemicals.
Avoid splashes during cleaning.
Rinse with fresh water and allow to dry before use.
Chlorine water will be left under the sun for 24 hours after disinfection in the hope that chlorine will be de-activated before disposal of the water.
Lysol will be sprayed on the fabrics of the rest of the equipment (neoprenes, BCD’s and fins) after water rinsing.
After drying, high risk transmission equipment will be stored in well sealed plastic boxes. *No plastic bags or plastic raps will be used. *
Equipment will be rotated as much as possible, so the same equipment won’t be used two days in a row.
We of course encourage you to bring your own equipment, especially mask and regulator. The same procedures will be used to rinse and disinfect your equipment or you can handle this yourself if you prefer.
The whole process will be as eco-friendly as possible, we will not be using any plastics bags or raps to protect equipment. We are 100% against producing non recyclable waste as much as possible.
- Mouthpieces available for purchase.
According to DAN, although it is perceived by customers as a synonym of special care and good service, replacing mouthpieces may not be enough to prevent contamination. An infected user would not only contaminate the mouthpiece, but the entire second stage unit. This is why it is necessary to disinfect regulators as described above, even if the mouthpiece is replaced.
But if it makes you feel safer, we will have mouth pieces available for purchase at $10 US a piece. You are of course more than welcome to bring your own and we will place it on your rental regulator before the dives.
- Liability releases.
All the necessary documents will be sent to you ahead of time, so that you can sign them electronically and send them back to us.
We intend this way to eliminate the handling of pens and documents, a potential transmission factor. *We also avoid printing and save paper*
- Available defogging products for masks.
We’ll have available for you for free defogging product so you won’t have to spit in your mask.
This will be rinsed with running water (not buckets) before heading to the Cenote, by no means it could be rinsed in the Cenote!
*Please help us keeping our water systems clean*
- Buddy checks are to be done at distance.
Each diver will check their own equipment with the help/ supervision of his/her buddy. Alternate Air sources will no be tested by breathing.
- Different timetables.
This is another long-term benefit of diving with us! Because we are a small structure, we can adapt our schedule easily and avoid the crowds of larger dive shops who all go to the cenotes at the same time, reducing thus the risk of infection.
Like equipment, all snacks will be properly washed and disinfected by a member of our small team.
Our healthy snacks, usually being fruits and granola bars will be disinfected and packed in individual paper bags.
After washed, fruit will be soaked in water with ionized silver, that comes in drops, a pretty common practice here in Mexico, for extra precaution.
The packages of the granola bars will be sprayed with a mixed of water and chlorine.
- Airborne Pathogens at the Workplace certification.
Catching up with the new “normal” we’ve got certified with the “Fist Response Training International” course “Airborne Pathogens at the Workplace” and with "IMSS - Instituto Mexicano del seguro Social" course "All About Covid-19 prevention" so we are well trained and aware on new procedures and what to have in mind.
We are constantly informing ourselves with protocols and procedures this follow during this crisis. We also follow the rules established by the state of Quintana Roo to handle tourism related activities.
If you have concerns or questions you can always let us know and we will figure something out together. It is one of the benefits of diving with a small shop, we will strive to adapt ourselves to your needs!