Frequently Asked Questions
What is scuba diving?
Scuba diving is an underwater adventure sport. Scuba diving takes you into the underwater world for glimpses into an exciting environment for exploration and discovery. “Scuba” stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, and allows you to descend below the water’s surface for an exciting and rewarding experience. Divers are generally hooked on the sport after their first dive!
Why get involved in scuba diving?
Because you want to participate in a sport that is exciting, rewarding, fun, relaxing, and a great way to make new friends and see the world. Every venture underwater is a new and exciting opportunity for exploration and discovery and a chance to enter a world that is full of beauty, wonder, and adventure. Every dive offers you a chance to see something new by providing a glimpse of a unique and fascinating world. Learning to scuba dive can become the beginning of a lifelong adventure that takes you to many fascinating places.
Scuba diving is an extremely diverse sport that you can participate in many different ways. Whether diving is just a fun hobby, a way of life, or a career decision, there is something in the sport for everyone.
What are the different types of diving?
Diving can be broken down into a number of different groups: recreational, technical, recreational/technical career, commercial, scientific, and military.
Recreation diving represents the largest group of divers. These are generally individuals who take up the sport for the pure pleasure of it. Once you are certified, there are a number of skills that you can specialize in through further training and education. These include: night diving, wreck diving, advanced diving, rescue diving, photography or videography, fish identification, and many more.
Technical diving is a quickly growing side of the sport. Technical diving requires special training and education to learn the many advanced skills required to safely participate. Types of technical diving includes nitrox diving, trimix diving, cave diving, advanced wreck diving, deep diving, rebreather diving, ice diving, DPV diving, side mount diving, etc. It is important to go through the proper training before participating in any of these types of diving.
Recreational/technical career involves continuing your training and education to begin a career in the diving industry. Careers include instructors, instructor trainers, dive masters, resort or dive center personnel, photographers, leaders of scuba training and certification agencies, as well as several others. A career in the diving industry can be very rewarding, challenging, and exciting.
Commercial diving is another type of career diving. Commercial divers build underwater structures and oil platforms; salvage ships and treasures; construct and maintain boats, bridges, docks, dams, nuclear power plants and coastal structures; conduct engineering and scientific surveys and inspections; operate and maintain complex remote operated vehicles (ROVs), air and gas supplies, and life-support systems; provide hyperbaric first-aid and diving emergency medical care. Commercial divers go through extensive training, many times in commercial diving schools.
Scientific diving is carried out exclusively for research purposes, or in support of research activities that involve marine life, the ocean, underwater archaeology, hydrology, etc. Most scientific diving is conducted by scientists trained in diving for the collection of data in support of their research projects.
Military diving is conducted by members of the military who are trained in the type of diving that fulfills their needs. Military divers perform tasks such as underwater ship repair, underwater demolition, rescue, salvage, construction, and dive medicine.
Where can you go diving?
Scuba divers dive wherever there is water: oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, quarries, waterways, canals, springs, etc. The important thing to remember is that each of these diving environments can require diverse skill sets. Make sure you are properly trained before diving in an environment that you are unfamiliar with.
How old do you have to be to scuba dive?
You must be at least ten years old to receive a Junior Open Water Diver Certification. Ten and 11 year old Junior Open Water Divers must dive with a certified parent, guardian or Professional to a maximum depth of 40 feet (12 meters). Twelve to 14 year olds must dive with a certified adult. At age 15, the Junior certification upgrades to a regular Open Water Diver certification.
How expensive is scuba diving?
Scuba diving is no more expensive than any other hobby or recreations. You can invest however much you want, depending upon your interest level. Because most dive centers and resorts rent equipment, you can invest in equipment over time, renting what you don’t have. Travel costs can be flexible enough to accommodate even the tightest budget. Most people find the costs of scuba diving similar to the cost associated with snow skiing, golfing, or biking.
Is scuba diving a dangerous sport?
Scuba diving is not a dangerous sport. There are potential hazards when diving, which is why you need proper training and certification for any type of diving you wish to participate in.
Can I try scuba diving without signing up for a course?
Yes you can. Some training agencies offer a dive discovery program that introduces you to the sport in a shallow and controlled environment. Instructors take you through a short pool session that allows you to what diving is all about.
How fit do you have to be to scuba dive?
Generally, anyone in good average health can participate in scuba diving. As a safety measure, most training agencies require you to fill out a routine medical questionnaire. If anything on the questionnaire indicates you might be at risk, you should get a medical checkup to make sure you are fit for diving.
What is the basic dive gear you need to go diving?
Mask: This is essential for good visibility underwater
Fins: Propel you through the water
Snorkel: To breathe through at the surface
Booties: To protect your feet against cold water or rubbing against you fins
Gloves: To protect your hands against abrasion or cold water
Wetsuit: To protect your body from cold water or marine life
Buoyancy compensator: To maintain your buoyancy underwater and at the surface
Regulator with safe second, pressure gauge, inflator hose, depth gauge: The regulator allows you to breath the air in your tank. The safe second is a backup breathing device. The pressure gauge indicates how much air is in your tank. The inflator hose is used to add air to your buoyancy compensator, and the depth gauge indicates how deep you are underwater.
Weight belt: Helps to keep you underwater so that you don’t float to the surface
Tank: Holds the air you breath underwater
Other accessories include a knife, collection bag, dive float, and dive flag
What if I’m nervous about getting started?
Being nervous is a very natural, normal, and expected feeling when you begin. Entering a new world and environment filled with exciting, strange, and exotic creatures can make anyone a little nervous. If you feel apprehensive or are excited about your first dives, this is normal. These feelings can be a good and a positive thing; look at them that way. Once you get used to your new equipment, understand the proper procedures and safety measures, you’ll relax and the nerves will turn to excitement and joy. Your comfort level will expand as you get more and more dives under your belt.
I usually breathe through my nose, how do you get comfortable breathing through your mouth?
This is a very common question and a problem that many people must overcome. It you’re a nose breather, breathing through your mouth can be very difficult, especially with a regulator in your mouth. Make sure your instructor is aware of the difficulty you’re having. There a number of techniques you can practice to get used to breathing through your mouth. Floating on the surface of a pool, breathing through your snorkel is a good way to practice. This will build confidence and help you to “feel” what it’s like breathing through your mouth.
How do you equalize your ears? I hear this can be very painful?
Some people can equalize the pressure in their ears more easily than others. If you descend to quickly without equalizing along the way, the pressure can create pain in your ears. There is a proper and very successful way to clear your ears that you will learn during a certification course. Don’t let this worry you too much, as you will learn how to and when to equalize your ears.
What about sharks and other dangerous creatures?
Divers have to worry very little about sharks or any other creature in the oceans. You do need to understand, respect, and appreciate the areas you are diving as well as know the types of creatures you may encounter that could be dangerous. Sharks and other creatures are usually very shy and more scared of you than you are of it. Most of the time sharks will just ignore you and swim on by as if you weren’t even there. You look strange to a shark, so they will avoid you and keep there distance. Avoid sticking your hands in holes or touching anything on the reef. Leave only your bubbles and take only pictures as you pass through and enjoy the beautiful environment you’re in.