Because I am a SCUBA instructor, many people share their secret desire to learn how to dive while simultaneously expressing their reservation over it. To be blunt, SCUBA diving is not a sport for everyone, and people would do well to consider it seriously before they commit their time and energy into it. I have compiled a list of things to help you decide if learning how to dive is right for you.
- You know how to swim. Surprisingly, this question comes up a lot: do I need to know how to swim to dive? The answer is yes, although we are not strenuously swimming through each dive, every diver must be able to swim in the case of an emergency. We are going into the depths of the ocean-knowing how to swim and feeling comfortable in the water is a necessity. At some point, you will get water up your nose and in your eyes. If you can’t stand that, then maybe try some other sport.
- You like snorkeling. If people LOVE snorkeling, there is a good chance they will like diving. Not necessarily, but it is a good indicator.
- You like learning new things. SCUBA is a skill that is learned, not born. Some people take to it quicker, but no one is born with SCUBA skills, so you have to be open to learning, and to making some mistakes. Just remember to be patient with yourself, and find an instructor with whom you communicate well.
- You like doing things outdoors. Again, SCUBA diving primarily takes place in the ocean. I tell people it’s a lot like taking a leisurely hike-but underwater. If you enjoy wildlife, feeling connected to nature, feeling the elements, and spending time outdoors, you may enjoy diving. It’s a great way to experience the ocean up close.
- You’re in good health. You dont have to be fit for marathons to enjoy SCUBA, but being in good cardio health is key for diving. People of all ages and abilities can dive, but SCUBA is exercise. You will have to kick your legs for extended periods of time, use your core to move a heavy tank on your back, walk up and down a ladder with gear, and in the case of an emergency, you may have to swim for a long distance. SCUBA also puts literal pressure on your body. If you have cardiovascular problems or circulation problems, they can be exacerbated by diving. Check with your doctor if you have questions about specific health conditions, or by calling https://www.diversalertnetwork.org/
- Mental health is important too- If you are going through a bad time in your life, it may not benefit you to do something that frightens you or demands your full attention. If you set yourself up for success, are in a good place mentally and physically, SCUBA diving provides a nice challenge to achieve and can offer a wide variety of skills to master and friends to make. If you are claustrophobic, or feeling pressured into diving by someone else, diving may not be the right thing for you at this time.
- These are my primary questions for people who express reservations. I know that SCUBA diving is on many people’s bucket list of life, but because the negative consequences for diving can be fatal, i advise all would be divers to think before making their decision.
SCUBA diving should be fun. When I have a student who is struggling and seems unhappy or discouraged, I remind them that they are doing this FOR FUN. If the anxiety or pressure outweighs the benefit of doing it-scuba may not be for them. and that’s ok! There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the ocean.
All this said, if you still feel on the fence about diving, but would like to try it, you can call a local dive shop to book a Discover Scuba Diving session in the pool. It is low cost, and will allow you to experience the sensation of being underwater on SCUBA gear to see if you like it. There is nothing like trying something before you commit to it! Most people know within the first few minutes if this is a sport they will enjoy.
I love diving, but I know it isn’t for everyone, which is why I never pressure anyone into trying it. There are plenty of ways to spend your time, but if you want to learn how to SCUBA, and feel that you might be a good candidate, please try it out! Scuba diving changed my life, and changed how I see the world. I hope everyone finds something that helps them see the amazing wonders of the world up close, and assigns a sense of stewardship for our planet.