It seems many divers are not clear on the differences between a safety stop, which is optional though recommended and a decompression or deco stop which is mandatory.

A safety stop is usually a stop for 3 minutes at 5 meters during the ascent at the end of a dive. It is good practice, makes diving even safer and is done to reduce the risk of a DCI or decompression illness. It is a recommended stop and not mandatory, missing a safety stop whilst not advisable should not cause any complications.

By its definition, all recreational diving should be planned and performed within the no-decompression limits. So that at any time within your dive you can make a direct controlled ascent to the surface.

A decompression stop is different, it is a stop required by a computer or tables. It is required due to exceeding a combination of depth and time which go beyond the limits of recreational diving. As a recreational diver you should not normally be making dives that require a deco stop. It does sometimes happen where during multiple dives you may unintentionally exceed the no-decompression limits requiring an unplanned deco stop. But this is considered bad form.

Most often deco stops are something that is planned in advance when technical diving. The dangers of decompression diving require additional training, equipment experience. Until then it is best to observe the rules of recreational diving.