Upwards of 70% of the earth is covered by water. Yet, the vast majority of people on this planet haven’t dove beneath the surface and experienced what life is like under the sea. Scuba, first developed in the mid-20th century, allowed humans to dive deeper than thought physically possible and for the first time admire the seemingly alien beauty of the depths of the ocean. If you are someone who hasn’t yet been scuba diving, here are a few things you should keep in mind for entering the water.
Certification means that proper training has been completed and all the necessary techniques have been mastered. There are different certifications that can be acquired, but most beginner divers start with a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Open Water Diving rating. More than 60 percent of divers are certified by PADI, according to their website. Through this certification, there will be lessons in the classroom, pool, and lake or ocean training. Additionally, the certification teaches you how to properly assemble, operate and break down the scuba kit. The certification also allows someone to rent or purchase scuba equipment, refill air at dive centers and participate in dives both professionally and recreationally.
It does not take very long to get certified with PADI. In order to complete the certification, divers must complete five confined water dives, five classroom sessions, and four open water dives. Depending on the dive center, this can take between one and five days. During the multiple dive sessions, basic skills will be practiced, such as mask clearing, regulator clearing, and air management. The classroom sessions including reading the manual on the equipment, watching tutorials and answering questions from the readings and videos. Most of the work is done at home, but the classroom environment allows for questions to be answered by professionals. The final test comes in the open water dives where you will be tested under conditions that will be typical for diving.
Also, certifications with PADI do not expire. So once the training is complete, you are able to dive for the rest of your life without having to retake the class or pay any renewal fees.
After getting certified, it is time to buy the equipment. There are about twenty pieces of equipment that can be used during each dive. This can be expensive especially if you only plan on using the equipment a few times. If scuba diving is something you plan to do multiple times a year, then it may be helpful to start purchasing all the necessary equipment. If you only plan on diving a few times a year, there are facilities that allow for rental of their equipment.
Some of the basic equipment includes a mask, fins, buoyancy control device (BCD), regulator, a submersible pressure gauge (SPG) and a wetsuit. A mask is critical when it comes to diving. This tempered-glass lens allows for divers to see clearly underwater without having to expose their eyes to the high pressure of the water. Fins are used with almost all forms of diving and help divers move through the water with minimal effort and maximum efficiency. Next is the BCD or buoyancy control device. This gives you control under the water, allowing you the ability to float near the surface or sink to the bottom to explore. This also houses your tank. A regulator makes scuba diving, scuba diving. The regulator delivers the air from the tank to you in order for you to breathe underwater. Along with the regulator, a submersible pressure gauge or SPG is needed. This shows you much air is remaining in your tank. This is crucial information, especially if you are doing deep sea diving. Finally, the wetsuit provides protection and warmth during the dives. These are just some of the pieces needed to complete the dive.
Find a Buddy
It is almost always helpful to have another person for safety with you when performing any task. scuba diving is no exception. It is recommended that whenever someone is scuba diving, they bring someone with them. This ensures safety because if something goes wrong underwater, there will be someone there able to help you. Although diving can be relaxing just floating through the vast amount of space, there is always a chance that something could happen and it is a good practice to have someone with you for those situations of panic. They can help you, but you can also help them. It is also exciting to share the experience with someone and be able to discuss everything that happened underwater when you get back on land.
It is not required, but having someone get certified with you can also be beneficial. Having another person to help answer questions or practice concepts with is going to benefit you.
Pick a Location
After getting certified, the equipment and a buddy, it is time to choose where you want to go. There are tons of places to go scuba diving. Realistically, anywhere there is water you can dive. Of course, check with local regulations to make sure it is legally allowed first. Decide if you want to jump into warm tropical waters to explore coral reefs or if cold water exploration is something that interests you. Either way, make sure to follow all local laws and scuba safety when diving.
The time is now, your first dive. All the tests and practice dives have been completed, equipment has been purchased or rented, a buddy is by your side, and you have your location. So go out there and explore the open waters. Have fun diving, just be sure to always be safe. Check equipment before every dive, do not just trust that everything is correct. Make sure you and your buddy have a plan once you dive in. This will ensure safety and fun for the both of you. Finally, it’s time. Take a deep breath and fall in. Get completely submerged in the water and begin your exploration of what lies beneath the surface of the water.