Preparations and requirements for SCUBA Diving in Antarctica

Few people will ever get to SCUBA Dive in Antarctica. It is not particularly difficult diving but it does take some extra preparation not always required for other dives.

Experience and Qualifications

Aurora Expeditions require an Advanced Diving qualifications and experience with Wreck Diving, Deep Diving, Night Diving and Underwater Navigation.

I have been scuba diving since 1987 and have done all my training up to NASDS Master Diver at Diveline in Victoria. I also completed a CDAA Cavern / Sinkhole qualification from Mt. Gambier, South Australia, as preparation for Antarctica.

Dive Medical

  • You must have an up to date Dive Medical.

Dry Suits

If you have never SCUBA dived in a Dry Suit before, it is particularly important that you practise diving techniques and train in the suit you will be wearing in Antarctica. Most operators recommend at least a minimum of 20 dives in a dry suit. And there are good reasons for this! Make sure you are aware of all proper buoyancy procedures and safety requirements for your particular suit. If you practice in warm(er) waters be prepared for at least another layer of thermals. This will make suit fitment a bit different to what you have been used to before.

Hand Gloves and Diving Mitts

Three (3) fingered mitts are the preferred gloves for SCUBA diving in sub zero temperatures. Using the correct gloves and pre-filling them with warm water just before entering the water will ensure a comfortable, enjoyable and safe dive. Photographers will use their fingers more than most, so will need to be aware and take note. It is recommended to get a small thermos to fill with warm water. Take this on the zodiac boats to the dive sites and fill your gloves with warm water just before you enter the water.

Environmentally Sealed Regulators

Environmentally sealed regulators are a must to prevent freezing and free flow at depth. Once the regulators freeze, air loss from the tank IS continuous AND significant. This is NOT a situation you want to be in most normal situations. Even less so in a remote dive site, in sub-zero temperatures.

Start Warm. Stay Warm

It sounds simple enough but it is VERY important to begin each dive warm. This begins when suiting up. Make sure you are out of the weather and wind if there is any about. It continues on the zodiac ride out to the dive site. Sea Spray and wind chill will be a factor here and finally gearing up and donning the gloves filled with warm water to protect the hands.

Remote Dive Site and Location

Antarctica is a Very Remote diving destination. Decompression Chambers are several thousand kilometers away if a nearby ship with facilities is unavailable. Familiarity with all equipment used during the trip is a must as are spares and a tool kit suitable for repairs on the fly

Aurora Dive Instructor

The Dive Leader Hendrik from Aurora Expeditions is a capable Instructor with many years of Ice Diving experience.