COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone worldwide, including scuba divers, and has unleashed changes that seemed unthinkable just a few months ago.
As we begin to reopen, we have been looking for ways to get back to what we love to do the most in the safest possible way. Safety for our staff and our divers have always been a priority for us and now more than ever!
Therefore, to reduce the risk of disease transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dive Cenotes Mexico has implemented the below safety practices based upon recommendation offered by the Mexican Secretaria de Salud, Mexican Secretaria del Trabajo y Prevision Social, Gobierno del Estado Quintana Roo, WHO (World Health Organization), CDC (United States Centers of Disease Control and Prevention), EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), DAN (Divers Alert Network) and PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors).
When diving with us, by following the below guidelines, you will help protecting our staff as well as yourself.
- Our dive shop will be open only for confirmed reservations to reduce any unnecessary traffic in the shop thereby reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
- You will receive our digital liability release form as well as a COVID-19 Health Declaration Form before your diving date which you will have to send back completed and signed before your diving day to reduce the time spent inside the shop.
- Only divers with confirmed reservations will be allowed to enter the shop. If you bring your non-diver family or friends they are most welcome but they will not be permitted to enter our shop. However, they are welcome to wait for you in our back yard which they can enter directly from the street.
- A face mask must be worn by all persons entering the shop or back yard at all times.
- Shoes/sandals will be disinfected on a disinfecting shoe mat at the entrance.
- Your body temperature will be measured with a digital thermometer at the entrance.
- Disinfecting gel will be provided as you enter the shop and we encourage you to reapply disinfecting gel regularly but especially after coughing, sneezing, or using the restroom.
- We encourage divers to bring their own equipment or at least their mask and fins. If you will rent our equipment our staff will set up the dive gear for you. Divers who come with their own gear handle their own dive equipment. Each diver will receive a box for his/her equipment which will be handled only by the diver.
- Each diver will receive a plastic bag to store clothes and personal items to avoid contact with common surfaces.
- We will provide transportation from our dive shop or meeting point to the dive sites and back. We, however, encourage our divers to consider renting a car and follow us with it to the dive sites. Also, accompanying non-divers will not be allowed to ride in our car.
Disinfecting Diving Equipment
Disinfecting Diving Equipment
We understand that with the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have concerns about disease transmission when using rental equipment. To make you feel as comfortable and safe as possible we have put together a short video to show you how we disinfect our equipment (regulators, masks, snorkels, fins, BCDs, and wetsuit) as a precaution taken against the spread of the disease.
Most importantly, to reduce the impact on our environment, Dive Cenotes Mexico uses a biodegradable disinfectant with hypochlorous acid as active base. Hypochlorous acid is a weak acid similar to that of a mild citrus juice. It is a powerful oxidant that is effective against invading bacteria, fungi, and viruses including the coronavirus. Hypochlorous acid is 100% safe for humans, chemical free, non-toxic and all natural.
In the US hypochlorous acid is approved for use by the EPA and the FDA. In Europe it is approved through the EU Biocide and CE Mark.
At Dive Sites and in the Water
- Do not touch anyone else’s equipment. Use hand sanitizer before touching your equipment.
- Wear a medical mask at a dive site or whenever you are out of the water. If you do not have a medical mask on, have your scuba mask on and your regulator in your mouth. If this is not feasible, such as when donning a dry suit, attempt to stay 12 feet from other divers.
- Use a defog and do not spit into your masks or into the water. It is unclear whether the virus can be transmitted in these ways, so DAN recommends using tissues and defog.
- All regulators and masks will be disinfected prior to diving/training and stored in sealed plastic bags. Once you take possession of these items, you are assuming responsibility for keeping these items disinfected while you are using them.
- Avoid touching your tank valve opening or the regulator inlet prior to attaching your regulator to prevent contamination between the tank and regulator.
- Test your alternate air source by pressing the purge button rather than by breathing from the second stage. This is to protect anyone who may need to use your alternate in an out-of-air emergency. Use extra vigilance in avoiding an out-of-air situation as breathing from someone else’s air source could pose a health risk to you.
- Use visual buddy checks with self-demonstration and verbal confirmation only. Do not touch your buddy or your buddy’s equipment.
- Use the low-pressure inflator on your BCD rather than the oral inflator whenever possible. Do not put your mouth on your BCD inflator to test it.
- Keep your regulator in your mouth immediately prior to, during and immediately after the dive to avoid disease transmission. Replace the regulator with your medical mask after exiting the water. We recommend keeping your medical mask in a zip lock bag while you are diving.
- Do not allow your regulator to float in the water. If you must remove your regulator to talk above water, keep your distance from other divers and hold the mouthpiece above the waterline.
- Respect distancing guidelines whenever possible. A good rule of thumb is 6 feet when both divers are wearing a medical mask and 12 feet when your mask is off and you are not breathing from your regulator.
After the Dive
- Disinfect hands before manipulating your equipment.
- Each diver will be responsible for disassembling their own gear, avoiding touching the tank valve.
- Divers will store their equipment in their designated containers.