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BWRAF: How to Perform a Scuba Buddy Check

buddy check
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Before any dive, it’s essentially important to carry out the pre-dive safety check, usually known as a ‘buddy check’. This ritual helps to keep you safe when diving. Want to refresh your memory on it? Read on!

What is a Pre-Dive Safety Check?

The buddy check is a pre-dive safety check where you, along with your diving buddy give a final inspection to both sets of equipment before you enter the water. 

Whether you are a new Open Water Diver, or an Advanced Diver with thousands of dives, everyone still needs to run through the BWRAF check with a partner before plunging in!

It can become easy to become complacent and skip on the buddy check if you dive regularly, but it’s always important to do. We’ve all done it at least once where we’ve backrolled from the boat without our fins! This easy check will ensure that never happens again!

Here we will tell you what each step entails and explain some of the common issues that might occur. 

What is BWRAF?

If you are a PADI certified diver, you might be familiar with the acronym BWRAF, this is how they help you to remember each step of the buddy check. 

It stands for: 

  • BCD
  • Weights
  • Releases
  • Air
  • Final Check 
A buddy check leads to a safe dive!

What Are You Checking for During the Buddy Check?

During the buddy check you are checking that your equipment is all ready to go. That everything is working properly and that you have all you need.


Check that all of the hoses are connected and that your BCD can both inflate and deflate correctly, checking all of the valves. You should know this for both your gear, and your buddy.

W – Weights 

Check that you are both properly weighted and that your weights are securely fastened. You also should have the knowledge of where your buddy’s weights are, in an emergency situation, knowing if they have integrated weight system or a belt can be important.

R – Releases

Releases are the buckles and fasteners that keep your gear secure. Check they are all closed and that your buddy knows how to open them if needed in an emergency situation.

As well as the straps on the BCD – usually one at each shoulder, chest, and across the tummy – also check the tank strap is secure too.

A – Air

Often divers just take a quick breath from their regulator, but to do an air check properly you need to take a few breaths while looking at your gauge to ensure the needle doesn’t move unexpectedly.  

This ensures the tank is properly open, you also need to check how much air you have for the dive, and that the air tastes normal. Also, check your octopus (alternate air source) and make sure your buddy knows where it is too.

F – Final Check

The final check sees you collect all of the other equipment you need. Mask, fins, lights, cameras, DSMB, etc. 

Look each other over from head to toe to check you have everything. 


How Can I Remember BWRAF?

It can help to create a mnemonic to help you to remember BWRAF.

One of our favorites is: Breathing Water Really Ain’t Fun!

It’s true, and scuba-themed, and helps to remind you of the reason you buddy check each time!

Some other common ones include:

  • Begin With Review And Friend 
  • Because We Really Aren’t Fish
  • Blue Whales Really Aren’t Fish
  • Big Whales Really Are Fine

Some more silly ones include:

  • Bruce Willis Ruins All Films
  • Burger With Relish and Fries 
  • Beans With Rice and Fish 
  • Babies With Rashes Are Fussy
  • Big White Rabbits are Fluffy
BWRAF – How do you remember?

Do All Dive Agencies Have a Buddy Check?

BWRAF is the PADI way to complete a buddy check, but all dive agencies have a similar method before entering the water. If you trained with a different organization you might be more familiar with one of these acronyms:


ABCDE is used by SDI/TDI and aims at making the acronym easier to remember. It stands for:

Dive Gear 
Enter the water


BAR is used at the British BSAC agency and is an acronym for:



NAUI uses the mnemonic SEABAG that also includes other aspects besides the dive gear:




Book Your Ocean Dives Today!

Test out your buddy check by going for a dive! DivePoint can organize both awesome ocean and cenote experiences for you to enjoy in the Riviera Maya. 

Contact us to go diving today.



We hope you liked this blog post on How to Perform a Pre-Dive Safety Check. 

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