Diver Safety

Diver Safety Policy for Ocean Frontiers. Minimum certification, age and experience requirements to participate on dive boat trips and classes.
 
 
 

Diver Safety

At Ocean Frontiers we take diver safety very seriously and ask that our divers do too. 

Required For Certified Divers: 

Upon Check-In at the dive shop, diver certification verification is required by showning of your c-card and photo ID if your c-card does not have a photo on it. You should bring your highest ranking card, such as Open Water or Advanced Open Water, plus your Nitrox card if you intend to use Nitrox on your dives. 

The minimum certification required to participate on a 2 tank dive is Junior Open Water Diver or Equivalent. PADI Scuba Diver or CMAS 1 Star is not considered a full Open Water Scuba certifiaction and requires supervison by an instructor at an additional charge of US$99 per half day. 

Date of last dive will be requested during the reservation process and verified upon check-in.  

Before participating in any of our Specialty Trips; Night Dive, Lionfish Dive, X-Dive, Kittiwake or the 3-Tank Safari, we recommend taking one other dive prior to orientate yourself for your safety and maximum enjoyment. 


Required For Student Divers: 

All divers participating in a certification class at any level will be required to complete a medical questionaire to assess.  It is stongly recommended that you complete this medical form prior to arrival. If you answer yes to any of the questions you will be required to obtain written medical clearance from a physician. Medical clearance can be obtained in the Cayman Islands, but could cause considerable delay and would need to be completed at the divers expense. 

Visit our downloads page to get your copy of any forms needed. 


Dive Skills:

All divers on any of our boat diving trips for certified divers are expected to be current with their dive skills. We treat our customers as adults and offer more freedom than some dive operations and it is therefore important that our divers are comfortable and proficient in the water.

We are here to help you enjoy your dive vacation to the fullest and all of our dive trips have 1 dive master in the water to enhance your experience.

To make sure your that every dive counts and your first dive isn't just a warm up, we encourage all divers to conduct a Pool 'Self-Check'. This service is free of charge to our customers and provides you with use of tanks, weights and access to our 10 foot deep, on-site training pool. The only requirement is that you have signed in, shown your C-Card and have a buddy. Solo 'Self-Checks' are prohibited.


Diver Freshness:

If it has been 12 months of surface interval since your last dive, but not longer than 24 months a 'Pool Self-Check' is required. We also recommend signing up for either a 1-tank or 2-tank shallow reef dives for your first boat dive trip with Ocean Frontiers.

If you haven't been diving in the last 2-4 years an Orientation dive is required prior to participating on any other boat diving trip for certified divers.

If your last dive was 4-9 years ago you will need to complete a full refresher class. Divers with 10 more more years of inactivity will need to complete a Full PADI certification class.

Please visit our Refresher page by, clicking here.

Required:

  • 12-24 months since last dive = 'Pool Self-Check'
  • 2-4 Years since last dive = Orientation Dive
  • 4-9 Years since last dive = Full Refresher Class
  • 10+ years since last dive = Re-Certification

Recommendations:
All divers are recommended to conduct a 'Pool Self-Check' before diving, even if it has only been a few months since your last dive. If it has been 12-24 months since your last dive, we recommend taking an orientation dive or shallow dive in addition to the required 'Pool Self-Check'.

The above policies are general guidelines and can be changed, modified or altered at the discretion OF management for the safety and enjoyment of our customers and staff.


Junior Divers:

Due to depth restrictions Junior Divers 12-14 are able to participate in the following dive trips:

  • 1-Tank Boat Dives
  • 2-Tank Boat Dives*
  • Night Dives
  • Kittiwake Wreck Dive
  • SilverRush
  • 3-Tank Safari*

*Additional Supervision or private guide may be required for a fee, ask for details.

Junior Divers 10-11 restricted to a maximum depth of 40 feet.  Participation in any of the above dive boat trips is as the discretion of Ocean Frontiers. 

Note: Junior Divers are not able to participate on the Lionfish Hunt and X-Dive trips.


Frontier Style Diving:

Ocean Frontiers is the home of diver freedom in the Cayman Islands. All dives are computer profile dives. Unguided Buddy Team diving is welcomed and encouraged. All boats operate with at least 2 dive staff, where one guide will always be in the water and the other will remain on board as a 'look-out' and to lend assistance to divers entering and exiting the water.

We cater to all experience levels. The more advanced divers will take advantage of the detailed maps the crew will draw for each dive site and explore the reefs in their buddy teams. Newer divers will enjoy the comfort of a guided dive with a personal tour of the dive site by one of our dive masters.

Experienced divers often opt to take a guided tour for the first half of a dive and then split off with their buddy at the end of the tour and explore within proximity of the boat to extend their bottom time.


Nitrox:

Nitrox Diving is available on all dives with Ocean Frontiers. Nitrox divers are typically grouped together on the same boat. Our standard Nitrox gas mix is 32% oxygen and is placed on our dive boats in advance and will be at your station when you board the vessel. All Nitrox divers are required to be Nitrox Certified unless participating in a Nitrox class or experience program. All Nitrox divers will be required to analyze and verify the oxygen mixture in their tanks and sign a log sheet. A Nitrox Analyzer will be provided for you on board the dive boat.

Nitrox is strongly recommended for divers conducting multiple dives over multiple days. Using Nitrox while diving on air profiles will reduce your risk to decompression sickness.


Photographers:

Ocean Frontiers is photographer friendly and is host to many underwater photography events and workshops. When Nat Geo, Discovery or the BBC come to Cayman, they choose Ocean Frontiers to make it happen on the screen. All boats are equipped with camera tables, camera rinse tanks along with a dedicated camera rinse tank at the dive boat dock. Our dive crew are very familiar with handling camera equipment of all sizes and budgets.

Photographers are notorious for pushing the limits of safety to get 'that shot' and laying on the reef- neither are tolerated at Ocean Frontiers nor worth the cost just to get 'that shot'.


Self Reliant:

Ocean Frontiers offers the use of Pony Bottles (Air) with regulator and gauge free of charge to divers who are certified as PADI Self Reliant or higher, such as a tech diving certification. Many experienced divers feel that if they are diving from the same boat, on the same day and in the same ocean, then they are buddies. We feel it is important for the more independent diver to equip themselves to be Self-Reliant. Traveling with a pony bottle is a pain, so we've removed the need. Just let us know prior to arrival and will saddle her up.


Rules of the Road (Sea): 

Just so it doesn't end it tears, we have a few rules in addition to the standard buddy diving procedures:

  • Return to dive boat with a minimum of 500 PSI / 35 Bar
  • All dives are No Decompression dives
  • All divers are required to have a BCD with auto inflate, octopus, depth gauge and timing device
  • All divers are required to complete a Safety Stop after every dive
  • Any diver suspected to be intoxicated or otherwise impaired will be refused boarding


Supervision Ratios:

At Ocean Frontiers we pride ourselves on diving with small personal groups with 5 star Green Short Service. In order to deliver this, we operate with the following service ratios:

  • Certified Divers = 2 Divemasters to 10 Customers (1 in the water on one one the vessel)
  • Instruction for students aged 12 years and up = 1 Instructor to 4 Students
  • Instruction for students aged 10-11 = 1 Instructor to 2 students
  • Instruction for students aged 8-9 = 1 Instructor to 2 students
  • Snorkeling = 1 Divemaster to 10 Customers


Conservation Laws:

There are many and numerous laws in the Cayman Islands to protect our coral reefs and marine life, here are the few you need to remember as a diver:

  • No Gloves are allowed for diving or snorkeling
  • No Feeding Marine Life (except at Stingray City / Sandbar)
  • No taking of anything from the ocean dead or alive whilst on scuba

For a full list of our Marine Conservation Laws, click here.


Ocean Frontiers Dive Boats carry the following safety equipment:- 

  • VHF Emergency Communications Radio
  • Emergency Oxygen Units with demand regulators 
  • First Aid Kit (verified and stocked weekly) 
  • Life Vests
  • Life Ring
  • Emergency Throw Line
  • Flare Gun Kit
  • Signal Mirror 
  • Signal Horn Device
  • Neck Brace
  • Emergency Backboard Stretcher

Ocean Frontiers vessels inspected annually by the Cayman Islands Port Authority and comply with local laws and regulations. 


Recommended Buddy Diving Guidelines:

In the interest of safety Ocean Frontiers had developed a simple set of guidelines to keep you out of trouble and diving safely:-

  •  Never dive alone: Always dive with a Buddy
  •  Plan: Agree on profile, navigation and safety procedures
  •  Gear Up: Always dive with a Computer and Alternate Air Source
  •  Buddy Check: You check mine and I'll check yours
  •  Monitor: Be aware of your air, depth, time and location at all times
  •  Team: Start the dive together and finish the dive together
  •  Communicate: Use hand signals and carry a slate
  •  Track: Always log your dives

The above list is not a complete list and does not substitute advice and directives detailed by your doctor. The above code assumes you are a current and certified diver who is fit to dive.  


Dive Accident Insurance:

We recommend that all divers use DAN Insurance (Divers Alert Network). The local Hyperbaric Chamber is located at George Town Hospital, approximately a 45 minute drive from the Ocean frontiers Dive Shop and dock.  All Ocean Frontiers Dive Staff are fully trained in CPR, First Aid and participate in rescue training exercises. 

 


The above policies are general guidelines and can be changed, modified or altered at the discretion of management for the safety and enjoyment of our customers and staff.