Why Scuba Divers Fall Backwards Off Boats

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Scuba diving can be a pretty mysterious hobby for the average person.

It’s full of systems, tools and procedures built to counteract and account for every scenario.

One of the most common questions people ask scuba divers is:

Why do scuba divers fall backward off boats?

Because if they fell forward they’d still be on the boat 🙂

All jokes aside here’s why:

Scuba divers dive backward off the boat as it’s the one of most effective and safe methods of entering the water. A headfirst entry risks shattering the mask, while a feet-first method is pretty uncomfortable due to the angle of the fins.

Later in this post, we’ll cover more on which entry methods make sense, and which don’t.

Let’s roll into this!

Advantages Of Backward Roll

Diver Backroll

The backward roll is one of the most common water entry techniques and for several reasons.

– Due to the weight distribution of a scuba divers gear (mostly the tank), they are often more top-heavy. Because of this, a back-first approach makes a lot of sense.

– So that the diver’s regulator is not dislodged when they make contact with the water. Upon hitting the water, it can be a bit disorienting. In order to avoid any stressful scenarios, we hold the mask in place as we enter the water.

– Walking around with lanky fins on a crowded boat is also not the best idea. Diver’s aim to put these on at the last possible second to avoid any injuries or accidents.

We recommend the backward roll when you’re on a smaller boat and some of the other techniques we’ll mention later are not possible.

Here’s a video example of the backward roll entry from DiveTraining.

Other Diver Entry Techniques

As always, follow your dive instructor or the boat captain’s instructions on entry techniques. That being said, let’s jump into some other popular techniques outside of the backward roll. We’ll cover the giant stride and the seated entry.

Giant Stride

Diver using a giant stride entry technique into the ocean

The giant stride is another extremely common entry method. It’s usually done from a pier, boat, liveaboard, or any other stable surface.

Here’s how to do the giant stride:

It’s simple as that!

Once you’re in give an ok to the captain or instructor to let them know everything is good1

Check out this Scuba Skil video demonstrating how to do the giant stride entry.

Seated Entry

The seated entry is a lesser-used method for scuba divers to enter the water but certainly a realistic option. This entry is best for those with certain injury concerns or mobility problems.

Here’s how to do the seated entry:

  • Inflate BCD
  • Go to the edge of the water and take a seat with legs at a 90-degree angle
  • Turn your arms with the heels of your hand touching the ground.
  • Next, pivot off the surface and twist (left or right) into the water.
  • Once you’re in, give the signal to let your crew know you made it!

Check out this Scuba Skill video to see an example of the controlled


Now that you have some background on water entry techniques and why the backward roll is one of the most common, we ask you to give it a shot on your next dive!

To recap, the backward roll is most often done when you’re on a smaller boat.

A giant stride is best for when you’re on a stable surface or a larger boat.

A seated entry is best for those with health concerns and mobility problems.

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