Everyone has different motivations for taking up scuba diving. Some people are interested in wildlife, while others might be looking for new ways to challenge themselves and overcome fears. No matter what the reason is, there are some things you should take into consideration before embarking on a new adventure. Here are our scuba diving tips for beginners.
Whatever it is that has you thinking about starting diving, it’s imperative you’re comfortable in the water. As part of your first diving course (the PADI Open Water Scuba Diver certification or equivalent), you will have to be able to tread water/float for 10 minutes and you will have to swim 200m.
If you’re not 100% sure that you can achieve this in the ocean, taking a couple of sessions in the pool before you start your course will leave you feeling much more confident.
Open your eyes
While you’re in the pool practicing your swimming, have a go at opening your eyes underwater. So many people psych themselves out about opening their eyes in water, but honestly, it doesn’t sting, and you can still see surprisingly well. During your course, you will have to be underwater for 1 minute without a mask on, and you will have to do a no mask swim.
The more comfortable you are with having your eyes open underwater, the more unnecessary stress you will save yourself during the course.
Try before you buy
Before you book a flight and spend thousands on a once in a lifetime diving holiday only to get there and wonder if it really is for you, contact a local dive center and do a “try dive” session in the pool first. You can often do these in the evenings or the weekends and it only takes a couple of hours. You’ll learn some basic theory, have a go at a couple of skills and enjoy the freedom of breathing underwater.
Pick a location
If you’re planning on going away specifically to learn to dive, there are so many factors to consider. The main diving factors to think about are currents, visibility and water temperature. By picking a place with the correct conditions, you can take a lot of stress out of diving.
For example, diving in Phuket in Thailand there are no currents, 20m+ visibility and 29-degree water makes diving a lot easier than let’s say in the UK, where there can be strong currents, 5m or less visibility and cold water which at times requires dry suits.
Another factor to consider is the things you might like to see on your dives. Different species thrive in different habitats, so if you have your heart set on seeing a turtle, make sure you pick a place where they are commonly found.
Diving is serious business
Remember that even though you’re on holiday, diving is a serious sport and requires your full attention in order to avoid accidents. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, you’ve eaten in the morning and that you haven’t drunk too much alcohol the night before. All of these factors not only affect how much you will enjoy your dives (hangovers and boats are not a fun combo!), but they can actually increase your risk of getting decompression sickness.
Always ask questions!
A big part of feeling safe while diving is down to understanding all the physics that are at work, and understanding your equipment. If you don’t understand something or you can’t remember – ask your instructor! It’s almost guaranteed that they’ve heard it before and there is no such thing as a stupid question. Instructors would much rather explain something to you again than have you develop unnecessary anxiety.