Ask an experienced diver how to use a compass
You have just bought an underwater compass and there is the drama, because you do not remember what your instructor had explained you during your PADI Open Water course. Reading your Open Water manual is not explicit.
Better than words, I invite you to watch a video posted by Gary Earp. It’s just like I taught during my PADI courses.
Walkthrough for a compass
First step, make sure that the lubber line (the red line) is aligned with the axis of your body. Both must be interdependent. To find a direction, you have to rotate your whole body.
The second step is to set the direction. Turn the bezel ring until your heading. In the video, Gary chooses a first heading at 30° and a second at 120°. Then rotate about yourself so that the needle of the North tip in the double markers of the bezel ring.
You are in the right direction.
To find your reciprocal heading, there are two solutions :
- As Gary, turn the bezel ring 180° and repeat the second step.
- Let the bezel ring as it is, turn yourself and place the needle or North into the single marker.
This video shows you how to use a compass on land. But that is exactly the same technique when you are underwater. Practice on land.
Practice with your instructor
The use of a compass is taught during your PADI Open Water course, but it is only a small workshop, once the certification is validated, most divers forget this navigation technique. For the PADI Advanced Open Water, diving underwater navigation is a prerequisite for obtaining the certification. You will learn how to properly use this tool and to avoid its mistakes.