Have you ever considered taking up SCUBA diving? Perhaps you are thinking about it right now? Or maybe the thought of taking up such a dangerous activity has never crossed your mind? Why would you seriously want to try diving or much more actually learn how to do it? Who can do it? What qualifications do you need? Where can you do it? And what can you actually get out of such an activity?
These are all valid questions. So here’s where I try to answer them!
Why Learn How to Dive?
SCUBA diving offers a multitude od benefits to its participants. You can dive all over the world, in all types of climate and in all temperatures of water: although extremely cold water diving is probably best left to commercial divers, researchers and lunatics! As a result you can dive in some very exotic places, which tend to provide the most stunning underwater scenery that you could possibly hope to imagine.
As with any physical sport (and SCUBA diving in my opinion is a sport, albeit not a competitive one), diving helps to keep you fit and healthy, although of course you do need to be in a relatively good state of health and relatively fit in order SCUBA dive.
SCUBA diving will bring you into contact with people from all walks of life from all over the world. Dive training teaches you that you should never dive on your own as you never know when you might need a helping hand. Diving then is a recreational “team” sport, and so is a great way to meet people and get to know them really well in a relatively short period of time.
You do not have to be a strong swimmer to become a SCUBA diver, however you should be able to swim to some degree. If you cannot swim you should definitely consider learning how to do so if you want to become a recreational diver.
Recreational SCUBA is also accessible to most people: most recreational “open-water” dive training courses are open to people from the age of 15 through to seniors (assuming they are fit and healthy). Diving is also open to all sexes, offering no performance advantages to either its male or female participants. Also as diving is not a competitive sport, there is nothing to win or lose making it a much more enjoyable shared experience for everyone.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Dive?
There are several bodies that offer varying degrees of certification. The main recreational diving bodies are PADI, NAUI, CMAS and BSAC. The most widely recognized diving qualifications are awarded by the PADI organization (PADI stands for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors). Most dive comapnies the world over will accept PADI accreditation as proof of your ability to dive and most of them will also be able to put you into contact with a PADI approved training center if you want to learn how to dive or you wish to upgrade your existing qualification and/or level of ability. Most intensive learner diver qualifications can see you ready to dive within a couple of weeks whereas a part-time course might take a couple of months.
The cost of diving courses can vary enormously depending upon the part of the world in which you are learning to dive. One thing is for sure though: cheapest is not necessarily the best. Make sure that you learn with a reputable, approved organization and that you are confident that they can deliver the kind of training, safety precautions and equipment that you require. As a standard kit requirement, you will need a mask, snorkel, weights and a weight belt, bouyancy control device dive tables and of course your sub-aqua breathing apparatus. Your training center may include this as a part of the cost of your course or they may change an additional rental: always make sure you know exactly what you are paying for when you sign up to your course.
I think the best reason for learning to dive is that it can open up an amazing world full of color and wonder, where you will encounter nature at its breathtaking best. SCUBA diving for many is an almost spiritual experience providing a relaxing break from the over-water world. If you have never considered SCUBA diving, now might be a good time to think about it. If you have considered it before… what are you waiting for?