Diving in the time of Corona
As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads we have witnessed deep changes in our lifestyle and daily routines. The virus is here to stay and the world is finding new ways to integrate this new reality in our lives as we go back to the so called “new normality”. Tourism and traveling has suffered a big setback, but it has also learned along the way. As countries ready themselves to allow free roaming of people across their borders, businesses are also preparing to build a new tourism industry that keeps people safe.
In the last couple of months the diving industry has come together to develop procedures and systems that would allow divers, snorkelers and tourists to take again on their passion in a safe manner. At Blue Nation we are changing things to meet these new requirements, and we have summarized them here for you:
- SOCIAL DISTANCE will be enforced. Our 27 feet boat can easily accommodate 8 passengers, but we will keep groups respecting the recommended 1.5 meters in between people. People living in the same household can stay in proximity without any restriction, and allow even more space between the rest of the passengers. In the picture below this text there is one example of passenger distribution.
- Our staff will use FACE BARRIERS such as masks, in meet and greets, in our shop, during boat rides and at the beach stops. Logistics of the activities might force us to remove masks briefly during some interactions, but they will be reduced as much as possible.
- For the safety of each passenger, our work team and out of respect for other passengers, it will be the responsibility of each person to bring their own INDIVIDUAL FACE MASK. This will be mandatory according to the health standards established at national and international levels, although this may change with the time.
- We will provide FOOD AND DRINKS in personal boxes and cups as per usual. These will be clearly marked per person to avoid accidental sharing. All will be clean and disinfected after every trip, including cutlery. We recommend bringing your own water bottles and cutlery to decrease risks even further.
- RENTAL GEAR is washed with soap and disinfectant after every trip. Sensitive gear like masks and regulators are always washed in separate rinse tanks. These items will be disinfected even further by rubbing alcohol in critical contact parts, like mouthpieces and nose pockets. Water on the rinse tanks is changed frequently. Dive and snorkel equipment is normally left to dry a day ahead before every trip, increasing the chance for any possible virus to disappear from the materials. You can also buy a personal mouthpice during your stay with us.
- The BOAT is washed every day too. We use disinfectant to clean the most sensitive parts, like door knobs, railings and seats.
- There will be temporary GEAR CONFIGURATION restrictions that apply to everyone, including staff. In order to avoid any possible contagion, every diver must count with an alternate air source (“octopus”) that can be shared safely. This means that integrated BCD inflation + second stage systems won’t be valid, like the “Air2” system. If that is your case, you only need to attach an extra hose for your alternate air source. If you don’t have any, you will be able to rent it from us. Long hose divers will need to breath from their necklace second stage, leaving the long hose one clipped and ready to share. We encourage using a break-away system in this case. Sidemount divers will be required to have an extra second stage installed in one of their tanks that is reserved exclusively for gas sharing and is not breathed from by the user during the dive. Another alternative that is valid for all these configurations is to carry a pony tank with a long enough hose for gas sharing.
- The RESERVATION AND CHECK-IN PROCESS will be conducted by telematic ways (mail, phone, online) as much as possible in order to minimize prolonged contact in confined spaces. Although we realize this won’t always be possible, it will be encouraged by the staff.
- The SHOP AND CLASSROOM will have air conditioning and/or fans to enhance ventilation. Surfaces such as desks, items, etc., will be disinfected after each interaction. Our staff will encourage customers to avoid touching surfaces as much as possible and to avoid handshakes between people. The shop’s capacity will be limited to a maximum of 2 people per group plus one employee at a time.
- We use only EPA recognized cleaning products.
- The DIVE COURSES and classroom sessions will be conducted in open spaces when feasible, or via online platforms like Google Meet or Skype, to name some.
- STAFF will take daily temperature levels to determine the risk of COVID incidence.
- We will keep RECORDS of the sanitization of the facilities, including our boat, that will be accesible to the public.
- We will install CLEAN POINTS in shop, workshop and boat where you can find sanitizer gel and/or wipes and washable face masks.
- Every staff member will take related COVID FORMATION to enhance safety and understanding of this issue, including but not limited to the following courses:
- IMSS “Care of people before COVID”
- IMSS “Recommendations for COVID-safe work environment”
- IMSS “COVID Prevention”
- WHO “COVID Infection prevention”
All these measures and guidelines are extracted and in compliance with the studies and recommendations of the leading health organizations in the world, like the World Health Organization (WHO), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); SCUBA diving specific guidelines from Diver Alert Network (DAN) and the Mexican Government an Instituto Mexicano de Seguridad Social (IMSS).
- WHO “COVID prepared workplaces”
- OSHA “COVID Guidelines for workspaces”
- DAN “Dive operations COVID management guidelines”
- IMSS “COVID guidelines in public open spaces”
- IMSS “COVID guidelines in public closed spaces”
We would like to stress the fact that although this measures are temporary, we don’t know how long they will be in place for. Protocols might change with the time according to current health guidelines. We honestly believe that diving is one of the safest activities there is in these times. We mostly spend our time underwater, in open, well ventilated spaces and permanently washed by salt water and sun (UV radiation). Nonetheless, we will always do our best to reduce any possible chance of contagion, and are willing to hear any comment or suggestion you might have. If this is the case, please reach out via e-mail or social media!
See you all soon and happy bubbles!