Entry – Getting into the Water (Scuba Diving): Shore, Boat, and Other Entry Techniques

Scuba diving is a popular water activity that allows people to explore the underwater world, observe marine life, and experience weightlessness. Before a diver can enjoy these wonders, they must first enter the water. There are various entry methods used in scuba diving, each with its own unique characteristics and requirements. This article will discuss the most common techniques for entering the water, including shore entries, boat entries, and other specialized methods.

Shore Entries

Shore entries are a common method of entering the water when diving close to the coastline. They are often used in locations where there is easy access to the water, such as beaches, rocky shorelines, or tidal pools. There are several techniques for shore entries, including:

  1. Wade-in entry: This is the simplest form of shore entry and involves walking into the water until it is deep enough to begin diving. It is important to wear appropriate footwear to protect the feet from sharp rocks, shells, or other hazards. In some cases, divers may need to swim a short distance to reach a suitable depth for diving.
  2. Surf entry: This method is used when there are waves or surf along the shoreline. Divers must time their entry correctly to avoid being knocked over by waves. It is crucial to maintain a firm grip on the mask, regulator, and other equipment while entering the water.
  3. Rock entry: This technique is employed when entering the water from a rocky or uneven shoreline. Divers should be cautious of slippery surfaces and always maintain three points of contact (two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot) when moving across the rocks.

Boat Entries

Boat entries are often used for dives that take place farther from the shore, as they provide a stable platform from which to enter the water. There are several types of boat entries, including:

  1. Giant stride entry: This is the most common boat entry technique. The diver stands on the edge of the boat, with their fins hanging over the side. They then take a large step forward, plunging into the water. It is essential to hold onto the mask and regulator while performing a giant stride entry.
  2. Backroll entry: This method is often used on smaller boats or inflatables, where space is limited. The diver sits on the edge of the boat with their back to the water, wearing their fins and holding their mask and regulator. They then lean back and roll into the water, immediately inflating their buoyancy control device (BCD) upon entry.
  3. Seated entry: This technique is employed on boats with a low waterline or diving platforms. The diver sits on the edge of the boat or platform, facing away from the water. They then slide into the water, feet first, maintaining a grip on their mask and regulator.

Other Specialized Entry Techniques

In certain diving situations or locations, specialized entry techniques may be required. Some of these methods include:

  1. Ice diving entry: This method is used for diving under ice, where divers cut a hole in the ice and enter the water through it. It is crucial to have proper training and equipment for ice diving, as the environment is significantly colder and more challenging than in typical scuba diving.
  2. Cavern or cave diving entry: This technique is used when diving in underwater caverns or caves. Divers may enter through small openings or tunnels, requiring specialized equipment and training for confined spaces and overhead environments.
  3. Blue hole diving entry: Blue holes are underwater sinkholes or vertical caves, often found in ocean waters. Divers may enter these unique formations through their openings at the surface, requiring specialized training and equipment for deep diving and decompression procedures.

Safety Precautions for Water Entry

Regardless of the entry method, divers must follow certain safety precautions to ensure a successful and enjoyable dive. These precautions include:

  1. Pre-dive equipment checks: Before entering the water, divers must ensure that their equipment is functioning correctly. This includes checking for air leaks, ensuring the BCD inflates and deflates properly, and confirming that the regulator is delivering air smoothly.
  2. Buddy checks: In addition to checking their own equipment, divers should also perform a buddy check with their dive partner. This involves verifying that each diver’s gear is functioning properly and that they are both familiar with each other’s equipment in case of an emergency.
  3. Communication: Clear communication between dive buddies is crucial during the entry process. Divers should establish hand signals for various situations, such as confirming readiness to enter the water or indicating that assistance is needed.
  4. Environmental awareness: Divers should be aware of the surrounding environment and any potential hazards before entering the water. This includes checking for strong currents, waves, or other conditions that could impact the dive.
  5. Controlled descent: Upon entering the water, divers should descend at a controlled pace, equalizing their ears frequently to prevent barotrauma. It is essential to monitor depth, air supply, and no-decompression limits throughout the dive.

Exit Techniques

At the end of a dive, divers must safely exit the water. The exit method depends on the type of entry used and the surrounding environment. Some common exit techniques include:

  1. Shore exit: Divers can walk or swim back to the shore, similar to the wade-in entry method. It is crucial to be cautious of hazards such as sharp rocks or slippery surfaces when exiting the water.
  2. Boat exit: Depending on the type of boat used, divers may use a ladder, lift, or platform to exit the water. It is essential to maintain communication with the boat crew and other divers during the exit process.
  3. Surface swim: In some cases, divers may need to swim on the surface back to their entry point, boat, or another exit location. It is crucial to inflate the BCD and use proper surface swimming techniques to conserve energy and remain visible to boat traffic.


Getting into and out of the water is a critical aspect of scuba diving, requiring divers to be knowledgeable about various entry and exit techniques. By understanding the appropriate methods for different environments and conditions, divers can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Additionally, adhering to safety precautions, maintaining proper communication, and being aware of the surrounding environment are crucial factors for a successful dive.