Learn to Dive
How to Start
To learn to dive, the first thing you need to do is locate a dive shop, if you live near the ocean or in a city there is a good chance there is one nearby. You could also take a vacation to an exotic destination, just keep in mind the length of time you will need to learn SCUBA. Either way, a simple internet search should suffice. Once you have located a shop you like get in contact with them or better yet, go in for a visit.
The next step is to make sure that you are physically fit to dive. Your dive shop will make you fill out a medical questionnaire, before allowing you to dive. It is very important to answer honestly. Even if you answer yes to any of the questions, it doesn’t mean you can’t dive. Instead you might just need your doctors permission.
Choosing your course
Once you have the ‘all okay’ you will need to decide which route is best for you in fulfilling your underwater dreams. If you aren’t really sure whether you are going to love diving, but you still want to try it, I advise taking the Discover SCUBA Diving course (DSD). DSD course allows you to learn the most essential skills and then dive in open water under close supervision. The course is meant to give you a taste of diving, but is not a certification.
If you love the water or have your heart set on learning to dive, I would recommend taking the Open Water SCUBA Course. After completing this course you will be certified to dive independently (with a buddy) anywhere in the world. This certification lasts for life, and doesn’t need to be renewed. Though if you don’t dive for an extended period of time it is recommended, and at some shops required, to do a short refresher.
Once you’ve chosen Your Course
Whatever course you decide is right for you, it is always important to talk to your dive shop about scheduling and prices. That way you can get an idea of how you can fit it into your schedule. Dive shops are usually more than willing to work with you so don’t be shy! Just remember that a certification course is going to take a few days to complete, but it is well worth the time and money. Where as the Discover SCUBA is more like a trail version.
But, what about…. (FAQ)
This is one of the most common concerns, and frequently asked questions: Aren’t you afraid of seeing a shark? The answer is a resounding no. I absolutely LOVE seeing sharks while diving. Unfortunately, Hollywood and the media has painted sharks to be scary man eating monsters. The image they have created is so far from the truth that it hurts me to think about it. Sharks honestly have no interest in humans and typically swim away from you if you get near them.
What if I can’t Swim?
Being a strong swimmer is not necessary in SCUBA diving, though it always helps if you feel more comfortable in the water. While taking your SCUBA course your instructor will advise you on how to swim effectively with fins on. In addition to this, during the dive you want to swim at a slow relaxed pace. This way you can observe all the cool stuff.
How Deep? How long?
How deep you dive depends on your personal comfort and your certification level. A DSD can only dive up to 40ft/12m, while an Advanced diver can dive up to 120ft/40m.
A typical dive time is between 30-75 minutes, averaging at around 45-50 minutes, however this depends on a few varying factors. Mostly air consumption and nitrogen. In every dive you always want to surface with ample air still in your tank (about 1/6th of the tank capacity). This is a standard safe diving practice. If you breath hard and fast you will need to surface soon, but if you are calm and relaxed you can conserve your air.
Your bottom time also depends on the nitrogen tables. Underwater the increased pressure creates gas build up in your body, (something you will learn about in your course) this build up of gas puts a maximum on how long you can dive for and changes depending on your depth.