Safety stop

A safety stop in scuba diving is a brief pause at a specific depth, typically around 15 feet (5 meters), during the ascent at the end of a dive. This stop allows the diver’s body to off-gas accumulated nitrogen, reducing the risk of decompression illness. The safety stop is not always a mandatory decompression stop, but it is a prudent practice for recreational divers.

During the safety stop, divers remain motionless or conduct very slow ascents for a recommended time, often around 3 minutes. This period helps to release excess nitrogen from the body, especially after deeper or more extended dives. The safety stop is considered a preventive measure rather than a response to symptoms of decompression sickness.

Including a safety stop in the dive plan is a standard practice to enhance diver safety. Divers may use visual references, such as a safety stop marker or their dive computer, to maintain the correct depth. Properly executed safety stops contribute to safer and more enjoyable scuba diving experiences.