What does BWRAF stand for?

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What does BWRAF stand for?

When you are learning something new, it is no big secret that acronyms are generally a great way to memorize things. But it’s been a while since your PADI Open Water Diver course and now you just can’t remember what ‘BWRAF’ stands for or why you even scribbled these 5 letters in your logbook?

Remember that as a pre-dive safety procedure you have to make sure that you are familiar with your buddy’s equipment configuration and that their gear is fully functioning. If your dive gear is properly serviced, it is rare that anything malfunctions during a dive, but if it ever was to fail then your dive buddy (with their working equipment) is your ‘life insurance’. It becomes obvious why simply asking: ‘Are you ok?’, is not enough as a pre-dive safety procedure.


The meaning of B W R A F

To remember all steps of these so-called buddy checks, the most commonly used acronym is BWRAF. Your dive instructor would have probably given you a funny sentence to remember this (and some are definitely too rude to be shared online) and you can find a whole collection on PADI’s blog . But one of our favourites is still ‘Bruce Willis Ruins All Films!’ (Sorry, Bruce…)

  • B – BCD
    Make sure to check your buddy’s BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) fully inflates and deflates, all quick releases are working and you can also orally inflate the BCD (in case there is a problem with the power inflator).
  • W – Weights
    Is your buddy wearing a weight belt or an integrated weight system and does the quick release mechanism for either work? You should also familiarize yourself with any additional (trim) weights they might be carrying (those would be usually attached on the back of the BCD alongside the tank).
  • R – Releases
    The clips, straps and buckles of your buddy’s BCD are also called ‘releases’. Make sure they are properly adjusted and tightly locked. You should also be able to understand how to open them (in case you need to help your buddy out of their gear). Don’t forget to check the tank band – there’s nothing more annoying than a tank slipping out of its place when you move around with your gear on your back or even jump in the water.
  • A – Air
    You want to make sure that your buddy’s tank is fully (!) opened and that you can breathe from their alternate air source. You should be able to comfortably breathe from one diver’s air delivery system simultaneously. Don’t forget to watch the pressure gauge while you do this, to check the needle isn’t moving. While you check this, also make sure to understand how your buddy’s alternate air source (or octopus) is attached and that you can quickly get to it in case you need to ‘share air’.
  • F – Final ok
    Is everything in place and does your buddy have everything they need: mask, fins, snorkel, computer, compass and any specialized equipment which is needed for the dive (eg the torch for a night dive)? Are you feeling ok and ready to go?




The buddy check in different languages

Whether you prefer to remember this acronym in your Native language (that happens to be a different language than English), want to be a bi-lingual and polite buddy or just want to keep these in mind as pub-quiz-knowledge, we have collected a few translations for you:


German – Taucher brauchen saubere Luft, ok? (German efficiency, you would have guessed it, the sentence to remember the buddy check literally reminds you that, “Divers need clean air, ok?!”

  • T – Tarierweste (BCD)
  • B – Blei (Weights)
  • S – Schnallen (Releases)
  • L – Luft (Air)
  • OK? OK!


Spanish – CPTAO (Even though a lot of our Spanish colleagues use this acronym every day to teach their students, we haven’t heard a good sentence yet that helped us remember the ‘Spanish buddy check’)

  • C – Chaleco (BCD)
  • P – Plomos (Weights)
  • T – Tiras (Releases)
  • A – Aire (Air)
  • OK – Ok final!


French – Donnez les boissons aux grenouilles. (That’s the sentence one of my colleagues used all the time, and it translates roughly into ‘Give the frogs something to drink’, and I think it’s cute)

  • D – Direct système (BCD/inflator mechanism)
  • L – Lest (Weights)
  • B – Boucles (Releases)
  • A – Air (Air)
  • G – OK général (final OK)


Do you have any other languages to add to our collection? Let us know in the comment section!



4 Comments on What does BWRAF stand for?

  1. commented by phim nhat ban dit nhau on 23 February 2020

    Awesome article it is without doubt. My mother has been waiting for this tips.

    1. commented by Sarah Gladzewski on 24 February 2020

      Thanks for your comment! We are glad to hear that the information was helpful.

  2. commented by Claus Nedergaard Jacobsen on 2 May 2024

    In Danish we say “Vandet Bølger Let Henover Os” – “The water flows lightly over us”:
    V: Ventiler – valves on BCD
    B: Bly – lead/weight
    L: Luft – Air
    H: Hurtigspænder – Releases
    O: OK

    1. commented by Misha Nadel on 3 May 2024

      Nice! Thanks for adding to our list of languages!

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