Two stage backward roll

Backward roll

On a boat dive off a rubber duck, all the divers roll backwards into the water at the same time. The skipper stops the boat, counts down, and everyone rolls backwards off the pontoon simultaneously. There are good reasons for the emphasis on doing it at the same time:

  • if there’s even a slight wind or current, the boat drifts
  • once divers hit the water, they start drifting too

Even a second’s hesitation can combine with one of the above to have you landing on top of another diver. It may not hurt you, but the diver already in the water is unlikely to be wearing a hard hat to protect them from your cylinder! If you miss the count down for whatever reason, WAIT on the boat. The skipper will bring you around and drop you again when it’s clear.

The alternative – rolling into the water on top of everyone else – will ensure that you don’t get invited back for more boat dives!

Ever wondered what it’s like to do a backward roll? Check out this video I took at the start of a dive on Bikini, Two Mile Reef, in Sodwana.


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Scuba diver, teacher, gadget man, racing driver, boat skipper, photographer, and collector of stray animals

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