Freediving Lessons During a Pandemic: Safeguards to Implement

At first glance, conducting or participating in freediving lessons would appear impossible during a pandemic. A  freediving lesson typically entails a lot of direct contact between instructor and student. There’s plenty of strong breathing in proximity before and after a breath-hold, and rescue scenarios where an instructor plays the role of the victim.

At a time when we are all expected to follow safe-distancing guidelines, both teachers and students might consider it too much of a risk. However, some countries have done a far more effective job of containing the spread of the coronavirus. Some cities and municipalities have never had an outbreak at all.

In these areas, the gradual resumption to normal are also encouraged. Thus, it makes more sense to consider the conditions for offering freediving lessons again.

A group of international senior freediving professionals provided some useful guidelines for operators and instructors. Here are snippets from the joint document Freediving in the Time of Novel Coronavirus .

“...Before diving, buddy teams should openly discuss the risks of COVID-19, and decide whether they accept the risk of rescuing another diver, and of being rescued. Divers not accepting those risks should refrain from freediving.

Each instructor must unequivocally accept the risk of rescuing students before teaching each course. Instructors not accepting that risk should not lead in-water activities.

Each diver should also consider the possibility that, due to fear of COVID-19, he/she may not perform a rescue, or may not be rescued. Diving conservatively has always been important and is now imperative.

Persons who recover from COVID-19 may suffer long-term health effects, including damage to

heart and lungs, and increased risk of DCI and barotrauma. COVID-19 could leave you less

fit to dive, or permanently unfit to dive.

Based on present research and current knowledge, it does not appear possible in most

countries to reasonably mitigate the risks SARS-CoV-2 presents to freediving.”

Finally, parents who will be enrolling their kids in freediving lessons should have a thorough understanding of the risks and security measures involved. They should help/supervise their kids in homework pertaining to performance breathing, equalizations, visualizations, and a review of safe  freediving practices.

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