Possible surface problems include overexertion, leg muscle cramps and choking on inhaled water. You've already learned about handling overexertion and as you recall, if you choke on water, you hold your regulator or snorkel in place and cough through it keep it in you mouth, and keep your mask on. Swallowing sometimes helps relieve choking, too. Be sure you have sufficient buoyancy, because coughing lowers your lung volume, decreasing your tendency to float.

If you have a problem at the surface, immediately establish buoyancy by either inflating your BCD or dropping your weights. Let your equipment do the work - having to swim, tread water or otherwise having to fight to stay above water exhausts you quickly. Don't hesitate to discard your weights if You can't stay up with your BCD; weights are easily replaced.

Stop, think, then act. Need help? Ask! Whistle, wave and yell. It's the smart, safe to do. Get help when You need it, before a small problem becomes a big one, and you make it easier on yourself and other divers. Dive masters will tell you it's not the people who ask for assistance who give them gray hair - it's those who need it and don't ask.