Is it something that everyone can learn? The answer is yes. Scuba diving is difficult to learn fully, but also straightforward enough that even an unathletic couch potato could do it and become competent at the beginner levels. The fact that you have made it this far means you are already interested in learning more about scuba diving. So read on – these tips will help you make up your mind for yourself!
Ultimately, the true answer is subjective even based on your level of swimming experience and how comfortable you are in the water. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
Is there a minimum physical fitness required before attempting your first dive?
Yes. The basics of scuba diving, with a few differences, is basically swimming with equipment on. Naturally, there’s a fitness requirement here e.g. you can move with the equipment on-land, and can competently swim with the scuba dicing equipment in the water.
Steps for beginners looking to enroll in a course and learn how to scuba dive for the first time
- Is your doctor willing to give you a medical clearance? This is not something to be taken lightly, as it requires surgery for some people! If there are any doubts, go ahead and get it cleared up. You need all of your natural abilities (and then some) for this sport!
- Is your diving course affiliated with PADI or other reputable organizations? Look for reviews online and through friends, family, etc. Is the center cleaning their equipment properly? Is the instructor qualified? The most popular certifying organization in the world is PADI, but others include NAUI and SSI – look them up on Google. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this regard. Is there a cleanliness standard? Is the instructor able to help you with an individual plan of action for becoming certified?
- Is your scuba diving class sufficiently small? You want the instructor’s undivided attention! Be sure there are not more than 8 students per instructor, at least on your first day of class. This will help everyone get comfortable with each other and increases the likelihood that they’ll have enough time later on to offer personal instruction when it comes time for final exam preparation.
- Is there enough space between your dive center and local schools or swimming pools? It is important to know how busy things can become during peak hours in area locations just near by. Is the dive center able to fit everyone inside? Is there a waiting list for open timeslots?
- Is your instructor actually excited about teaching you how to scuba dive? If they’re not, you might want to think twice about this decision. Diving is a passion – someone who doesn’t have at least some of that is probably not going to do well in this line of work. If you see the lack of enthusiasm before signing up for your first class, don’t be afraid to go over the different options with him/her and look elsewhere. The course fees are generally one-time payments but sometimes can vary depending on class availability or other factors such as location or instructor experience so ask around! 6. Is the water temperature comfortable? Is it too cold or hot for you to swim with equipment inside? Is anyone else swimming in a neighboring pool or is it just your class and instructor at the time? It can be awkward getting naked if others are around – consider this before signing up!
- Is there an air pocket forming underneath the diving tank which could push you upward when entering back inside? Make sure everything is well-secured to prevent any accidents!
What skills do you need to be able to scuba dive (or at least those that will help you along the way)?
The below are some of the skills you need to be aware of and consider bettering as you’re learning to scuba dive. This list also relates to how you can address these issues in a class setting, so they’re ideal for bringing up to your instructor:
- Breathing – You’ll need to know how to breathe properly. Is it the right way? Is there a different way that works better for you? If so, know it!
- Gearing up – Is your weight belt loose or too tight? Does your equipment feel like it’s pulling the wrong way on certain parts of your body? Is anything rubbing against your skin in an uncomfortable manner while wearing the gear? Look over this part carefully and see if anything is wrong before moving onto diving into open waters. Be sure everything feels comfortable and natural on your first day of class – don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Working with a buddy – While there are safety divers present in case of an emergency, it is important to know how to work with a buddy. Is your gear working effectively? Is your buddy aware of you having any problems or issues which may arise? Is he able to communicate with you face-to-face while underwater? Is there an understanding between the two of you about hand signals or other methods of communication when diving together inside ?
- Using dive equipment – Is there anything wrong with your dive mask? Is it foggy or uncomfortable to wear? Is there anything preventing you from going under the water with ease or is there a problem that needs to be addressed immediately before jumping in?
- Learning how to breathe properly while underwater – Is it enough air for you at any given time? Is breathing difficult when swimming around with all of the gear on your body? Is there enough room inside the tank so that you’re able to focus on other areas of concern without worrying about running out of oxygen too early?
- Finning skills – Is this something which comes easily to you, or does it need a lot of practice before using such skills in open waters (underwater)? Can you control your finning skills adequately?
- Swimming – Is there a problem with your swimming skills that can cause problems while diving? Are you more than comfortable enough to swim long distances without feeling fatigued or ill underneath the water?
- Underwater navigation – Is this an area in which you feel comfortable exploring on your own or does it still require some practice before being able to do so effectively? Is anyone willing to help guide you through at least one dive before letting you loose in open waters without supervision from an instructor?
- Staying Calm – Is there a problem that can cause you to panic underwater? Is your mask leaking or not secure enough for you to continue the class with ease? Is something cutting off your breathing in an uncomfortable manner and causing problems for you while underneath the water?
- Emergency procedures – Is there a problem that could occur during your dive that requires special attention? Are divers nearby if they are needed in order to help end a non-life-threatening emergency situation quickly and effectively?
As far as water-based sports go, scuba diving has a fairly low barrier to entry, but naturally, there are levels of complexity just like any sport. Hopefully, this guide has helped you to understand what you need to know about learning how to scuba dive, what the process and involves, and what to think about prior to booking your first class. Enjoy!
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