So, you have had surgery and want to get back on the water. If you are like me you will want to get back out there as soon as possible, but there are several things to consider (obviously) so the purpose of this is to provide a bit of guidance.

Here is a list of things to do to ensure you get back sailing and diving in a timely fashion:

  • Listen to your doctor! They do this for a living and if you do not listen to their instruction then your recovery time will be pushed out, which means the time you want to be on the water will be pushed out too.

  • Don’t trivialize your procedure. Surgery is still surgery. You went under general anesthesia and your body was cut open. Just because you didn’t have open heart surgery don’t put it in your head that different rules apply. Take care of yourself.

  • Take it slow. No matter the surgery, you will inevitably be sore. Take this time to relax and let your body heal.

  • You can still educate yourself. If you really need to keep your mind occupied, there are plenty of articles on sailing and diving that you can read while resting in bed.

Now after a few weeks you will most likely have a post-op appointment with your doctor and he/she will explain the next steps. This will include keeping yourself on the right track with healing and building your strength back up.

  • Listen to your doctor (notice a theme?) They will let you know when you can head back to the gym, start swimming, diving and sailing.

  • Start slow. Just because the doctor said you can start working out again to build your strength back or start swimming doesn’t mean you can immediately try out for the Olympics or start maxing out on lifts. If the age of 40 is on the horizon (like it is for me) you need to remember to give yourself time. Sometimes pulling in the reins on ourselves is difficult but in the long run, your body will thank you.

When in doubt listen to your doctor, contact DAN (Divers Alert Network) if your physician is unfamiliar with diving, take it slow, and take care of yourself! You are no good to your dive buddies and/or your sailing crew if you pushed it too early and heaven forbid need another procedure or your recovery time gets pushed out even longer. The goal is to get back diving and sailing.  Let your body do its thing and you will be back out there in no time.

Matt Barrett – PADI Assistant Instructor