4 Tips for Getting into Scuba Diving

scuba diver scuba diving
So you want to start scuba diving? It's sadly not as easy as just turning up and heading under water. So here are 4 tips for those thinking about making a foray into the wonderful underwater world of scuba.

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So, you want to start scuba diving? 

It’s a sport that really has an incredible appeal. Unlike other hobbies (such as hiking) though, the barriers to entry a little higher given that you need certain specialist equipment and training. Almost anyone can wake up one morning and decide to just go for a hike. But with scuba diving you will need some specialist training and some specialist equipment.

So if you do want to enter the wonderful world of scuba, here are 4 tips for getting started.

1. Assess Your Own Ability in the Water First

If you embark upon the PADI beginner friendly “Discover Scuba Diving” course, you’re going to need to show you can tread water for 10 minutes and swim 200m. So before thinking about scuba lessons, make sure your general swimming and water capabilities are up there. Once you’ve hit that threshold, it’s a good time to look at beginner training.

It is absolutely imperative that you are comfortable in water. So if you’re not totally comfortable in water already, then spend some time getting comfortable before thinking about scuba. 

2. Discover Scuba Diving Course

Many people reference PADI’s Open Water Diver as the first level of certification. But you can head back a level and first do an introductory course called “Discover Scuba Diving.” This is typically a half day course intended as an introduction to scuba. They’re usually held in swimming pools or similar environments and is a really great opportunity to become familiar with being under water with all the kit and essentially to figure out whether you like it or not. This is an excellent place to start.

3. Stay in Good Physical Shape

By no means do you need to be an olympic athlete to scuba dive. But a basic level of fitness is absolutely essential. Your heart and lungs in particular should be good health and you should be a capable swimmer. 

Stay hydrated and eat a balance diet. And don’t embark upon diving training when you’re sick or tired.

You’ll be asked to make a medical declaration before booking on any beginner diving training so be sure to be completely honest. And if there are any health conditions that require medical sign off, speak to your doctor before diving.

4. Essential Gear

If you’re booking onto an Open Water Diving Course or similar, you may well be able to hire gear from your centre. But there could be some essential gear you want to start collecting for yourself. Some essentials to consider include a dive watch. The best dive computer watch is one that you like and works well for you. Essential functions on whichever watch you choose include helping you to time how long you’ve been under water and time your decompression stops on resurfacing. Smart computer watches can do things like monitor your oxygen saturation levels too. So do your research and work out what you want from a dive watch.

You may also want your own wetsuit or dry suit depending on the climate you’re diving in. Having your own as opposed to hiring is convenient and lets you get used to getting in and out of it quickly. A mask, snorkel and buoyancy control device are also essentials, along with a scuba tank and regulator. 

Your dive centre providing your training will provide you with a comprehensive list of equipment and in the early days you’ll be able to hire most of it. Gradually, if you start to take the sport seriously, you’ll collect your own kit.

Have Fun

The main thing with any sport is that it should be fun. With scuba diving requiring more professional training at the beginning, the commitment is arguably higher than taking up something like hiking. But those who fall in love with the sport seem to fall hard!

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