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## How Long is a Safety Stop in Scuba Diving?

A safety stop is a mandatory part of any scuba dive. It’s a period of time spent at a specific depth before ascending to the surface. The purpose of a safety stop is to allow your body to off-gas nitrogen, which can cause decompression sickness (DCS) if it builds up in your tissues too quickly.

Divers are exposed to nitrogen when they breathe compressed air underwater. The deeper you go, the more nitrogen you absorb. As you ascend, the nitrogen slowly comes out of solution in your tissues and is exhaled.

If you ascend too quickly, the nitrogen can form bubbles in your tissues. These bubbles can block blood flow and cause serious health problems, such as DCS.

A safety stop gives your body time to off-gas nitrogen and reduce your risk of DCS. The recommended duration of a safety stop is 5 minutes at 15 feet (4.5 meters). However, the depth and duration of your safety stop may vary depending on the depth of your dive and your individual risk factors.

### Factors that Affect the Duration of a Safety Stop

The following factors can affect the duration of your safety stop:

* **Depth of your dive:** The deeper you dive, the more nitrogen you absorb. Therefore, you will need a longer safety stop after a deep dive than after a shallow dive.
* **Duration of your dive:** The longer you spend underwater, the more nitrogen you absorb. Therefore, you will need a longer safety stop after a long dive than after a short dive.
* **Your individual risk factors:** Some people are more susceptible to DCS than others. Factors that increase your risk of DCS include:
* Obesity
* Age
* Diabetes
* Heart disease
* Smoking

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### How to Perform a Safety Stop

To perform a safety stop, simply ascend to the desired depth and remain there for the recommended duration. You can use a dive computer or a depth gauge to monitor your depth and time.

It is important to remain at your safety stop depth and not ascend any further. If you ascend too quickly, you could increase your risk of DCS.

Once you have completed your safety stop, you can ascend to the surface. Be sure to ascend slowly and make frequent stops to check your buoyancy.

### Conclusion

A safety stop is an essential part of any scuba dive. By following the recommended guidelines, you can reduce your risk of DCS and enjoy a safe and enjoyable dive.

### Additional Tips for a Safe Safety Stop

* Use a dive computer or a depth gauge to monitor your depth and time.
* Remain at your safety stop depth and do not ascend any further.
* Ascend slowly and make frequent stops to check your buoyancy.
* Drink plenty of fluids before and after your dive.
* Get a good night’s sleep before your dive.
* Avoid diving if you are feeling tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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