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Q: How many dives in a day is safe?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Aug 15, 2004
How many dives in a day is usually allowed or a safe practise? I heard that CMAS only allows 2 dives a day, but I am doing 2-3 dives a day. I have done 4 dives on one occasion. I have never felt any problem so far, but I would like to know if 3-4 dives a day is safe practise. I usually dive almost every weekend and plan my dive from deep to shallow (about 35m to 40m -> 20m, or 30 -> 15m thoughout the day). I put at least an hour break in between dives. Is this safe?
In Thailand last year, we did a liveaboard to the Similan islands, and did 4 dives a day for 4 days. We got back, had 2 days off then 11 dives in 2 days at Phi Phi islands.

The dives generally all started at 30-35m, apart from the night dives, which were 15-20m. Nice gradual ascent up the reef, good long safety stops, etc. All dives were on air and only at the end of the 11th dive did I have more than 10mins of stops to do.

Some of these dives were over an hour long, but all surface intervals were a couple of hours at least.

In Egypt a couple of months ago however, the dive centre I was diving with have imposed a Max. of 3 dives a day. Again, most dives started on 30m with gradual ascents. Nitrox was used almost exclusively for most of our group and only once did I have any stops to do.

PADI do not have a maximum limit for number of dives (apart from in training) but there are special rules regarding minimum surface intervals when doing 3 or more dives a day. Also, if you are doing a lot of nitrox dives, then better watch you otu exposure, although, unless doing decompression, it is pretty hard to push the limits.

Latest thinking behind deepest dive first is that it might not be as neccesary as first thought, some people even advocate deepest dive last - click here for some crazy divers speaking about deco .

For a bit of added safety, use nitrox, include a good safety stop after every dive and maybe extend your surface intervals.
Thank you for the information. WKPP has a completely different from what I have been told. I am not sure which is a safer practice, anymore :-(! At any rate, from what I hear from you, it is safe to do multiple dives as long as there are intervals, but I wonder why is CMAS so strict about keeping the number of dives in a day.

I have another question. You said that it is safer to use nitrox, and I wonder why they do not use nitrox generally if it is safer. Not that I am doubting you, but would like to know the truth since I am interested in trying nitrox dives. I have been always told that nitrox dive is dangerous, and you need special training for nitrox dives. Also, I always thought that you use nitrox only for deep dives below 40m. Could you also please let me know if there is any good material, website or book, to know learn more about nitrox dive?

I think I might have got you a bit worried with the link to the WKPP. The dives they do are very extreme and the link was included just to illustrate how current thinking on decompression theory is changing all the time. In general, the agencies recommended that we do deepest dive first because it appeared that this gave us a lesser risk of getting bent.

Unfortunately you have made the biggest and most common mistake regarding nitrox, in that it is a deep diving gas. In fact the opposite is true, nitrox has shallower depth limits than air. All of this has been written many times before, by far more experienced people than myself, who have been using and researching nitrox since before I was born. Therefore I will not just write what everybody has done before me, I will however point you in the direction of some very informative articles on nitrox.

Try this one nitrox article
Thank you for the advise. As I understand more about nitrox, I would like to try. Is there any special certificate that you need to try nitrox dive? It seems that there is technical diver certificates in most of diving organizations. Also, what are the things that I need to look for in choosing nitrox dive centers? Thanks

P/S: Sorry for the slow response, I was busy at work and diving! Cheers
I also would like to post something that I have learned last week from other divers. Please correct me if I am or my advisers(?) are wrong.

It seems that CMAS is regulating the number of dives per day due to the water temparature in EU, and when CMAS started, they did not have equipments as good as now. One of the divers in his 60's told me that he had to literally swim out of the water with his fin kick only when he started diving.

I was told that the number of dives are related to the water temparature, depth, and physical condition. In warm water, you can dive as much as your body holds and the computer allows which is related to depth. In cold water (21C or below), you should not exceed more than 2 dives.

Does this make sense?
If you wear the right exposure protection, then you are always the correct temperature. I have done dives in 5C water, and only got cold once we stopped moving, a good drysuit works wonders!!!
hi there,

the number of dives you do a day really depends on several variable criteria:
-your physical condition ( are you in or out of shape) and health
-what your dive plans are? in other words, how deep you go....
-the conditions of the site you are diving, i.e temperature, tides, currents etc.

if you are following safe guidelines, diving within your experience, making necessary safety stops and surface intervals and are not fatigued you could potentially dive up to 5 times a day (including a night dive).

if CMAS is mandating a maximum it is relative to them wanting divers to be safe and that's always a good thing.

i just returned from a lovely holiday on a live-aboard trip in tropical waters and was diving 4-5 times a day, starting very early in the morning with my deepest dive and then progressing through out the day to shallower depths with plenty of surface intervals in between.

my daily, homebound diving keeps me in cold water which i love, and 2 dives a day is sufficient for me then. the colder the temperature the more air your breathe because your body exerts more energy in trying to keep your core warm. i suppose i could do more than 2 but i wouldn't really want to, drysuit and all.

what it boils down to is safety and personal preference - safety always coming first.


Kelp Princess is right. A lot of it also comes down to personal comfort. I can quite easily go out and do 2 No. 1 hour dives (runtimes, about 30 mins deco on first one) in 8c water, and only start to feel the cold towards the end of the hour long drift dive.

Here in the UK it is rare to do more than 2 dives a day off of the boats, and on the deeper wrecks most only do one. When the sea gets too rough, we go inland, where it is colder (3-5c in winter). As one of the better inland sites is a 2.5 hr drive for me, we try and get at least 3 dives in, with the first being to 30m+, the second about 22m, then the 3rd not much more than about 11-13m, with the majority at 8-10m. I generally do all dives on Nitrox, but set my computer to a leaner mix for the extra conservatism, and I haven't got bent once..yet!!
I've been doing multiple dives for nearly 40 years. Mostly I do 3 x 12L tanks in whole or parts over about 6 or 7 hours, so 3 to 6 dives a day. I start deep and work to the shallows. I use an electronic dive computer now (who doesn't?), but I used to use a mechanical one and originally tables and guesswork.
CMAS talks about 2 dives per day as this is all that tables can cope with. The CMAS (french) tables are similar to BSAC (Royal Navy) versions but are more generous on the second dive. Deco meters have made all of this redundant.
Now I'm not saying that meters are completely safe or that tables don't have some uses but- be practical - meters are here to stay and their biggest feature is that they compute for multiple dives.
I don't use nitrox, mainly because I can't be bothered, but if you dive less regularly than I do and not too deep, then nitrox is worth the hastle so as to have a bigger safety margin.
This brings me to a personal belief but one based on experience. Dive less than 30 metres on your first dive. I make any multiple dive day have a limit of 30M but I usually actualy max at 25M. If you need to make more than this depth on your first dive then I would limit the number of other following dives, Maybe do one or at most two more.
Most of all be sensible. Too cold, or too tired, hung over or sick, out of condition or not diving regularly, then play safe and call it a day early.
Best of luck
mps798 said:
it depents on depth , time , and tables :duh :) ooh and surely comp.

Please, state the obvious.

I haven´t used a computer for about 100 dives, including doing 4-5 dives a day.

If you understand decompression, and understand your own body, and the personal limits it has, then you do as many dives a day as you feel like
Some of you have mentioned intentionally going in to decompression while using NON-REDUNDANT recreational scuba gear. What happens if you have an equipment failure or run out of air while sitting at the deco stop ? Go up and get bent ?
Something to think about.

As far as multiple dives / day .... a limit of 2 dives per/day sounds awfully conservative. This must be a "liabilty insurance" device for CMAS.
about the question of roy nexus 6
well , we usually use extra bottles at the depth of deco , that way you have
1) the deco depth
2) extra air
hanged by rope
no one has any business doing decompression diving with out redundant gas. period. Hang your deco on a line? are you 100% sure it will be there when you surface? Will you bet you life on it? I don't care how good the dive operator is - I wouldn't bet my life on a hang bottle. I catch people around here doing deco this way, single tank rec set-ups and a hang bottle. very very dumb.

I have 5 dives a day. Shallow dives, good surface intervals, lots of rest and good physical conditioning. it;s very possible.
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may be is not the better way for this , but when you have to do it , helping others , dead or alive , recovering them , or anything else that come up , you have to take every measure you can that might , and i say might , help you to save your life and do you operation at 50 or 60 m or 20 or 30m or 3 m , not considering nitrox , safety divers etc , just air cases , ofcourse , in such cases there are more things to mention but this is not the right time
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