Why Do Scuba Divers Dive Backwards?

Scuba Divers
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Have you ever wondered why scuba divers occasionally dive backwards? Depending on the conditions, different entry techniques can keep you safe. Although it may seem strange to see a diver enter the water backward, there are times when it’s the best move.

Scuba divers enter the water backward to protect their bodies and to help keep their masks and regulator in place. The diver’s head and arms are less affected by the impact by having the tank and BCD hit the water first. Backwards entry is also used on boats with no rear deckor when multiple divers want to enter quickly.

Every diving situation is unique, and every dive boat uses a different set of tools and procedures. Continue reading for information on other water entry techniques and the rationale behind divers entering the water from the back. 

Why Do Scuba Divers Underwater Back Dives?

Diving back into the water is a common safety measure, just like using a diver down flag. Although jumping in feet first or head first might not seem like a big deal, it can be hard on your body. To prevent losing a mask or getting lines tangled, scuba divers can enter the water backward while still holding onto their equipment.

Understanding The Backward Roll

Why do divers fall backwards? This frequently asked question has a very straightforward solution. It’s the most efficient and secure way to get into the water. As soon as you step onto the boat’s deck, all of your equipment will be put on. After that, you’ll have your back to the water as you sit on a platform.

Your right hand should be placed over the regulator after making sure the area is clear. Additionally, stabilize the mask using your fingertips. Any loose hoses should be held at your side or in place with your left hand. It is possible to fall back into the water as you tuck your chin into your chest.

It is easier on your body to fall backwards because it can be difficult to enter the water from just a few feet away.

Reasons For This Different Dive Style

A backward roll is the preferred method of entering the water for three main reasons. The following vital areas are shielded from harm or injury when you choose to roll backwards:

  • Your body
  • Your boat
  • Your gear

Injury risk can increase if you dive into the water either feet first or head first. This holds true whether you’re jumping from a small or large boat. The force of a feet-first dive is harsh on your joints, and if you don’t hit the water precisely, you risk injury. Similar injuries can result from a headfirst dive’s impact or from loose equipment.

Your boat is shielded from excessive rocking by a backward roll. Any other dive usually causes a boat to rock, which could result in other divers falling as they are getting ready to dive. Your equipment, especially your mask and fins, may also be harmed.

Back Roll Benefits

The back roll is not only very safe, but it also has a lot of benefits, so it is worthwhile to learn how to do it.

You Have More Control

And finally, a back roll is incredibly easy to execute. Compared to other rolls, it involves less movement. Additionally, there is no need for any walking, which is a relief because wearing all that scuba gear makes it difficult to move around. In order to prevent any equipment from loosing on impact, you are free to use both hands to secure any loose items.

It Keeps The Boat Stable

You might be doing your diving from an unstable small boat, such as a rigid inflatable boat (RIB). Even if you wanted to stand completely upright for a dive, it’s possible that you couldn’t without violently rocking the boat. Particularly as you approach the edge of the gunwale and prepare to exit, you will notice that the boat is violently rocking.

A back roll is the most secure maneuver in this circumstance for the sake of everyone on the boat. You and the boat will both have a lower center of gravity if you stay low and dive from a seated position, keeping both of you on your feet.

It’s Not As Painful

The belly flop, where you painfully slap your face and stomach against the water’s surface while carrying an additional 40 pounds, is another advantage of the back roll. You’re welcome to attempt a forward roll once, but we can almost guarantee that you won’t want to try it again.

It’s crucial to hold the mask in place with your hand because it’s common for water to get inside the mask or for the mask to smack your face. It is less likely that you will lose equipment or fill your mask with water by letting the tank take the majority of the impact during a back roll.

Scuba Divers

How Do I Roll My Back?

Let’s go over the steps for performing a back roll in a safe and effective manner. First, you should only perform the back roll at a maximum height of three to four feet from the surface of the water. Any further and gravity will cause you to roll too far, possibly landing on your head. If the boat is higher than this, use a different diving technique described in the section below.

Pre-dive Check

The pre-dive check is a requirement regardless of the diving technique you use. Ensure that all of your equipment is in working order. All of your equipment should fit snugly and be securely fastened, and your scuba tank and dive computer’s batteries should be full.

To reduce the amount of subsequent walking, you will put on all of this gear on the boat deck. When you’re ready, sit on the gunwale with your back to the water to get ready for entry.

Secure Your Gear

Make sure there is no obstruction in the space behind you. For added security, double-check it. Now press your fingertips against your mask with one hand still over your regulator. Any hoses that are loose should be held in your free hand to prevent them from coming apart when you hit something. Additionally, you can use that hand to hold the strap behind your head, further secure your face mask, or simply keep it by your side.

Roll Back!

Finally, tuck your chin and lean back over the edge of the boat. The remainder should be handled by gravity. Leaning back, straighten your legs so they don’t strike the side of the boat. After you’ve made an impact, pause for a moment to gather your thoughts. Clearly indicate that you have entered the water safely to the boat’s crew. Simply put, a back roll consists of that. A quick dive into the water like this one is efficient and secure.

When Should You Avoid Performing A Back Roll?

You ought to be aware of when a back roll is appropriate. Considering that diving conditions may vary from dive to dive, there may be instances in which a different entry technique is risk-free.

It may please those of you who dislike the back roll to know that there are instances in which you shouldn’t perform a back roll entry. If a back roll is the best option for you, you must answer the following questions.

First, how deep is the water? Only deep, clear water is appropriate for a back roll. You might come into contact with the bottom if the water is too shallow. Only dive in crystal-clear water so you can see what awaits you below.

Second, how far from the surface of the water are you? As previously mentioned, you ought to dive roll at a maximum height of 3 to 4 feet. If the distance is too great, you could roll too far and come to rest on your head. The side of the boat may also be struck by you, which could result in physical harm to you or harm to your equipment.

Lastly, is the platform/boat stable? If so, you might feel comfortable performing another type of entry if you don’t like diving backwards. Two more entry options are covered below.

How Do You Perfect A Backwards Dive Off A Boat?

To successfully dive backward, take the following actions: 

  • Assume the seated position for the beginning.
  • Make sure you have all of your gear on before you sit down.
  • Face inside as you sit on the vessel’s edge.
  • When getting into the water, keep your legs together by crossing your ankles.
  • Time to make sure your equipment is in working order. Make sure all hoses and gauges are tightly secured, particularly those near the chest. Hold onto your regulator as you inflate your BCD (Buoyancy Compensation Device) halfway to achieve positive buoyancy.
  • Ensure that your regulator is in place by placing it on the palm of your right hand. To keep your mask on your face, use the same hand’s fingertips.
  • Make sure the mask’s strap is fastened at the back of your head using your left hand. This also prevents the mask from falling off and prevents you from hitting your head on the tank cylinder’s valve.
  • Check to see if there are no other divers or natural hazards in the water before you jump in. You will need to wait for the others to swim to safety if you are in a big group and forget to count.
  • Put your chin on your chest and fall backward into the water when you are ready, or when the captain counts, says the captain.

You must surface to let the captain know you’re alright before diving off to explore. Be a good friend and hold off until your friends arrive; only then can you descend.

If The Back Roll Is Not An Option, What Should You Do?

It depends on a variety of factors, such as the surface you’re diving from and the available space for your entry, to decide which dive is best for your situation. 

You don’t have to roll over backwards, and it’s not always the safest option either. Choosing the appropriate dive for your circumstances will protect both you and your equipment from harm. Before you can decide which dive is best for you, you’ll need to provide the following information about your surroundings:

  • How deep is the water? If you roll backward, you should only do so in deeper water to avoid hitting the reef or bottom.
  • From the water’s surface, how far away are you? Only perform the backward roll when you are near the water’s surface. The risk of overrotating or hitting the side of your platform on the way down increases when you perform the backward roll from higher above the water.
  • Do you have a solid foundation? Other jumps might be simpler for you to execute if you’re standing on a solid platform (Padi).

Other Entry Techniques

The Seated Entry

You can sit fully dressed and with your legs over the side of the boat as long as the platform is close to the surface. Then, turn around so that you are facing the boat and lift your body over the edge with both arms. If you have unstable terrain or limited space entry, this approach is ideal.

The Giant Stride

On the dive boat, when there is a stable platform, you can suit up, stand on the edge, and hang your fins over the edge. Put a firm hand on the regulator and mask. Before you take a big step into the water—far enough to prevent your tank from unintentionally striking the side of the boat—make one last check to make sure the water is clear.


Why do divers reverse direction? Safety is the most important factor. For a risk-free, life-changing experience, learn to dive safely with A-1 Scuba in Denver, Colorado. Get in touch with us right away if you want to find out more safety advice, buy scuba equipment, or arrange a dive trip to a faraway location to discover the world from the ocean’s depths.

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