It's no coincidence that some of the world's best diving destinations have ripping currents. Areas with stronger, nutrient-packed currents tend to have more abundant marine life - especially when it comes to larger pelagics. However, not all drift dives are ripping. The tide and location will all influence the strength of the current. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie wanting to conquer the world's most ripping drift dives or want to feel relaxed in a gentle ocean current, read on to discover our top tips for diving in current.

Ecuador Drift Diving

What is Drift Diving?

The clue is in the name: with drift diving, don't bother kicking. Rather, let the ocean propel you through underwater worlds. Aside from covering more of the reef, and using less energy and effort, you also tend to see more marine life. Take Palau's Blue Corner dive site, where divers hook onto the reef and sway in the current alongside huge schools of barracuda, sharks and groupers. It should also come as no surprise that the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, aka the world's premier big animal diving destination, is rife with currents.

Drift Diving from the Shore

Most drift dives will involve the boat following you from the surface. However, there are also a slew of epic dives from the shore. Take Wakatobi Resort's house reef, which, located in the epicentre of the Coral Triangle in Indonesia, is also one of the best shore dives in the world. Divers are dropped off 80 metres from the shore and drift along a coral-encrusted wall back to shore. While this site requires minimal effort (divers are dropped by boat to the start point) other shore dives might require you to swim into the current to a certain point before letting it carry you back the shore.

Reef Hook Diving

Some drift dives will require you to dive with a reef hook, which is a small J-shaped hook used to latch onto a rock. The reef hook is attached to a leash which is attached to your BCD, and once you have adjusted your buoyancy to be slightly above the reef, you can simply hang in the current and watch the action unfold. Fakarava North Pass in French Polynesia has a whopping seven currents at play, meaning reef hooks are a necessity. Once hooked into the rook, divers can watch huge fevers of grey reef sharks hover effortlessly in the strong currents - for adrenaline seekers, this dive is hard to beat.

Consult the Tide Charts

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Whether you're planning a dive with a buddy or attending a dive briefing, always review the dive site's layout, including the entry and exit points. Set a maximum depth, dive time and turnaround point, and adhere to these limits. When it comes to diving in currents, check the local tide charts and current predictions for the day. Bear in mind that tides are affected by the moon, so currents will likely be stronger around a full or new moon.

Drift Diving

Have a Buddy

Current or no current, you should always dive with a buddy. This means agreeing a dive plan and sticking to it, conducting a thorough pre-dive check - especially with their equipment - and going over hand signals. Make sure you stay close to your buddy throughout the dive, which is easier said than done when diving in a current, and always keep an eye out on their whereabouts.

Consider Your Entry

You will know about a positive descent - entering the water with a partially inflated BCD - from your Open Water course. To give you a little recap, once you're in the water you fully inflate your BCD and meet your group on the surface, before descending together. However, diving in currents might require a negative descent. This is where you enter the water, usually by back roll entry, with an empty BCD and swim down to a certain depth - usually five metres - to meet your group.

Use Your Eyes

Before giant striding (or back rolling) into the water, check the current. If the visibility is clear enough, you should be able to check the direction of the current from the surface. For starters, fish will face the direction of the current, as they feed on the algae drifting in the water. Also check to see if they are swimming hard and fast or slow and calm, as this will indicate the strength of the current.

Good Dive Habits

From regularly checking your computer to your gauge, keeping good dive habits will make diving in currents much easier. If you're swimming in strong currents, you will likely use more air, so keeping an eye on your consumption is key. Also stick to the rule of thirds - use one third of your air during the dive, one third for your exit and keep one third extra. The speed and direction of currents can also change, so be aware of your surroundings - this includes closely monitoring your depth.