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.
Loreto counts with places where you can get a quick COVID test. If you need a negative test to travel, the following labs count with quick tests with same-day results:
Laboratorios Núñez – +52 613 135 0191 – www.laboratoriosnunez.com.mx
Laboratorios Medelab – +52 613 135 2797 – http://medelab.com.mx
The tests have an approximate cost of 1100 mexican pesos (55 USD), although this price may change over time. At Blue Nation we are happy to assist and arrange an appointment for you.
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 is still recommended. Our 27 feet boat can easily accommodate 10 passengers, there is plenty of space and we are in an open, air-fresh space. People living in the same household can stay in proximity without any restriction, and allow even more space between the rest of the passengers if needed. In the picture below this text there is one example of passenger distribution.
- FACE BARRIERS such as masks, are not mandatory anymore in open spaces. You may or may not wear it at your own leisure. If you do, logistics of the activities might force us to remove masks briefly during some interactions. Masks are still encouraged in many closed spaces.
- 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. 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.
- When it comes to GEAR CONFIGURATION, you may follow the following recommendations if you deem it necessary: dive with an alternate air source (“octopus”) that can be shared safely. Systems such as Scubapro “Air2” integrated BCD inflation + second stage systems force divers to share the same second stage. 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 can 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 can 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 can be conducted by telematic ways (mail, phone, online) if you prefer to minimize prolonged contact in confined spaces. Bear in mind that doing so might cause some issues with gear sizes as you won’t be trying it on beforehand.
- The SHOP AND CLASSROOM have air conditioning and/or fans to enhance ventilation. Surfaces such as desks, items, etc., will be disinfected after each interaction. The shop’s capacity will be limited to small groups.
- We use only EPA recognized cleaning products.
- The DIVE COURSES and classroom can be conducted in open spaces when feasible, or via online platforms like Google Meet or Skype, to name some, if requested by the customer.
- STAFF will monitor their own health and report daily.
- We keep RECORDS of the sanitization of the facilities, including our boat, that will be accesible to the public.
- We have installedl 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 meant to be 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!