You’ve booked your dream dive vacation on Bonaire. You’re counting down the days until wheels up. If you’re like most of us, you’re also mentally calculating just how many dives you can get in to maximize your unlimited air package. The excitement builds until – finally – you’re at the dive shop counter, buying your STINAPA tag and handing over your paperwork.

Then it’s off to the races! The days pass by in a blur of tank exchanges, exploring your favorite shore dive sites, and perhaps even some boat dives, too. But as your week or two of non-stop diving draws to a close, one question is lingering in your mind. “Can I squeeze one more dive in before my flight?”

Hey, we’ve all been there. The opportunity to cruise the reef one last time is irresistible. But safety is a key component of good dive practices, too. So if you’ve forgotten what you learned in your open water course about guidelines for post-dive air travel, here’s a quick refresher.

According to Diver’s Alert Network, the minimum recommended preflight surface intervals depend on how much and the type of diving you did. Their recommendations are as follows, and based on the assumption of a flight in a commercial airliner pressurized to 8,000 feet.

 

Dive ProfileMinimum Preflight SI Recommendation
Single, no-decompression dive12 hours or more
Multiple dives in a day18 hours or more
Multiple days of diving18 hours or more
Dives requiring a decompression stopSubstantially longer than 18 hours

 

Their further recommendations are to wait even longer than these suggested minimums. When we’re diving on Bonaire, we always give ourselves a full 24 hours between our last dive and scheduled take-off. If you’re wondering about low altitude, inter-island flights, check out this statement from DAN.

The great news is that when you’re vacationing in Diver’s Paradise, there are endless options to fill your “no-dive” day. Experience Bonaire’s Marine Park from a different perspective with windsurfing or kitesurfing lessons. Feel like staying dry? Learn more about the island’s culture and history with a visit to one of the many museums and cultural centers. Get behind the wheel and do a driving tour to check out the most scenic vistas around the island.

With so much to do, you might even find yourself skipping a dive or two to take it all in.