Beyond doubt, scuba diving can be enthralling, enchanting and adventurous. However, for those who haven’t tried it yet, the picture of getting into the ocean and witnessing marine life may only remain an elusive dream, far from reality. Perhaps, there is this fear that holds people back from finally trying to learn scuba diving themselves.
Scuba Diving for beginners – Beginners Side
For whatever reasons it may be, scuba diving is only a quick and easy-to-understand activity. It may seem to be frightening for some, but all those who have tried it have testified that it only takes determination and one step forward to overcome that fear and finally be a scuba diver.
True, the action of scuba diving entails a lot of patience, focus, and risks. But it is safe to say that it is in the risks and the challenges taken underwater while doing scuba diving that we come to appreciate its true wonder and beauty.
How to Get Started in Scuba Diving?
The key there is only to know the basics of scuba diving unless you decide to become a professional scuba diver and really learn all advanced skills.
Knowing the basics include knowing and mastering how to use the basic scuba diving equipment.
The most basic includes, of course, the self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, which the term ‘scuba’ stands for. This equipment is responsible for allowing the diver to breathe underwater for a longer period of time.
Other basic equipment that one beginner needs to be familiar with include buoyancy compensators, diving fins, diving masks, exposure suits, snorkels, diving weights, weight belts, diving shots, diving watches, power whistles, diving flags, dive computers, and dive instrumentation.
The next stop for scuba diving beginners is the training.
Termed as the Basic Open Water Training, it is an extensive and helpful introduction to scuba diving. The training is to be conducted or offered by PADI- or NAUI-affiliated diving schools.
PADI, or the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and NAUI, or the National Association of Underwater Instructors, are both established institutions when it comes to scuba diving, and thus offer certifications to diving schools.
The training can be as long as 11 weeks, or even longer, but it surely pays off. The training allows the beginner to be more comfortable underwater and master the use and know-how of the basic scuba diving equipment.
The training also includes mastery of the basic scuba diving skills. It covers both theoretical lessons and practical applications. There will be classroom training, where all theoretical aspects of scuba diving, such as techniques and safety parameters, among others, will be discussed.
Meanwhile, after about 9 weeks of learning through a classroom, pool training comes next. This is where hands-on skills training is conducted. The pool training includes the simulation of water conditions and diving skills.
And finally, beginners now can try their luck in the open water. However, one needs to undergo written examinations before proceeding to the open water. There is a minimum rating that is required so the beginner can get a certification to proceed to open water rating.
Newly certified scuba divers can then test their acquired scuba diving skills and knowledge in the open water together with a dive instructor or divemaster. In this stage, evaluation of the driving skills is being done so to improve one diver’s performance and being adept with operating various scuba diving equipment.
The most important there is to learn how to dive and knowing the basic skills and knowledge, like hand signals and scuba diving skills, safety checks, washing the gear and more.
Best Place to Scuba Dive
When a beginner finally gets an in-depth training of scuba diving, perhaps the next thing to look out for is where the best place to scuba dive is.
If you haven’t tried real ‘scuba diving’ yet, you will be amazed at how many beautiful places and options you have to try and offer you breathtaking scuba diving experiences.
Lots of diving destinations, dive sites, dive resorts are scattered all around the world. So wherever you may be, you can surely find a good diving place to visit. You can actually have your own choice of diving spots, as long as you get to have fun and enjoy scuba diving at its best.
Perhaps you may also decide to take seriously and pursue your love for scuba diving. Thus, you can also proceed to take Advanced Open Water and professional level courses. In this manner, you get to know more and be more skilled when it comes to scuba diving.
Additionally, it can prove to be rewarding if you know much about marine life. When you have much knowledge, it can make your scuba diving more enjoyable as you get to see different types of marine life. You can even learn how to deal and interact with them when you are finally joining them underwater. You will know what to expect when you scuba dive, including what they are and how they look like.
Similar to snorkeling, it is still pretty much safer to venture into scuba diving with a buddy or a companion. Having another person to dive with you gives you a feeling of protection or security, should there be something unknown to greet you. As they say, prepare for the unknown and for the unexpected.
Buckle yourself up with the complete and dependable scuba diving gear. Staying alert and calm also makes you safer amidst sea mishaps. When purchasing scuba diving devices, always check for damages or leaks. Report immediately if you spot anything strange or uncomfortable in your diving gear.
Swim to the Deepest Ocean
Ask for advice from divers or swimmers who had been into scuba diving for quite a relatively long period of time. If it is your first time to dive into a specific location, a little research might be of help.
Nose problems are warning signals. As a response, you may either move your scuba diving adventure into another schedule or immediately take a no-drowse medicine. Always bear in mind that during tough times, it still pays to be calm and alert.
Guides to Scuba Diving Equipments
Enjoying and exploring the outdoors need not be land-bound. Scuba diving is a great underwater activity that lets you explore the great sea bed. The wonders of the sea will leave you spellbound as you thread below the waves.
It is not an everyday sight to see the seaweed vegetation or to be immersed in schools of fish. Would it be fortunate for the diver to witness other sea creatures that come along your diving path?
The thrill and adventure of an underwater activity such as in scuba diving would truly be a memorable and exciting experience.
Scuba Diving: Equipment
A scuba diver must be trained before he or she dons the suit and carry the breathing apparatus.
It takes defined swimming and breathing skills and scuba diving training because of the environmental risks and health precautions involved in this activity.
However, anybody with good physical standing and with the right attitude and determination can learn and obtain a scuba diving certificate. The right training and licensing can take you to different diving spots and a whole new level of exploration.
Many scuba diving schools offer qualified training, especially to beginners. However, not all diving professionals explain the basic essentials of the scuba diving gear and equipment.
Basic Gear for Suba Diving
Unlike swimming, scuba diving entails the necessary equipment and certification before you can actually benefit from it. As a novice diver, you can get these types of equipment as rentals in some diving schools and shops.
However, the essentials are sometimes bought and may not even be available for rent. If you plan to be a serious diver, it would be best to invest in these necessary requirements.
Any diver should begin with the following basic gear:
- Scuba Suit
- Scuba Tank
- Scuba Mask
- Swim Fins
- Scuba Booties
You cannot dive effectively without wearing a scuba suit. There are three variations to the scuba suit: wet suit, dry suit, and dive skin.
A wet suit is made of neoprene with foamed thickness to protect the body and keep it warm during dives. This is an ideal and most common suit for diving warm waters.
A dry suit is suitable for colder dives as it provides better thermal protection but is more expensive than wet suits.
On the other hand, a dive skin is a thin one-piece bodysuit that does not provide much thermal protection. Its material is commonly Lycra and protects the body from cuts and stings during dives. Due to its thin material and the lack of thermal protection, it is advisable to wear dive skins in conjunction with wet or dry suits.
Additionally, the wearer should feel comfortable wearing a scuba suit. It should ideally have a snug fit without compromising normal breathing and must be properly maintained before and after use.
To keep you underwater for longer periods, a scuba tank will do the job. These cylinders are generally made of steel or aluminum and must be generally filled with 3000 psi of air.
Aluminum types are the cheaper variants commonly available for rent. The steel scuba tanks are more durable and expensive because it does not dent easily.
When buying for your own use, you must decide on the amount of air you often consume as a diver. It is determined further by your body size, lung size, fitness level and breathing pattern among other things.
Passport to Scuba Diving – Scuba Mask
A scuba mask protects your eyes and nose during your dives. It allows you to see clearly the underwater marvels that you encounter during your mini expeditions.
Choosing scuba masks is not a difficult situation. You can select from different styles and colours and should find one that is perfect for your head size.
There are other considerations in buying the ideal scuba mask. If you plan to invest in a durable scuba mask for long term scuba diving, make sure that you consider other features and factors apart from its form and style.
These features include the comfortable fit of the mask especially on the nose and eye areas, the material it is made and the field of vision it can provide.
An ideal scuba mask and straps are made of high-grade silicone material. Although higher-quality scuba masks are generally expensive, you are assured of heavy-duty use and durability.
Additionally, proper maintenance is required to keep your scuba masks in tiptop shape. It is suggested that you clean your mask every after dive especially on the lens area. Always make sure to rinse in fresh water after every use and to keep in its hard case when dried.
Dive Equipment, Ready!
Swim fins make your threading underwater possible. Without fins, you can not achieve the adept nature of threading and swimming during your dive.
The weight from your air tank, suit and the resistive properties you get from water often contributes to the difficulty in maneuvering underwater. But when donning swim fans, these allow you to move around the water with minimal energy and effort.
Shopping for ideal swim fins should depend on the size, color, and style you want. The overwhelming designs appeal to the individual tastes of divers too. However, the essentials for diving fins should include the comfort it provides to your feet.
It should allow you to swim and kick faster and prevent you from getting leg cramps. The type of material may vary too, but the safest choice is to look for high-quality swim fins. The bottom line is swim fins can last longer if you properly maintain and care for it before and after each dive.
Scuba booties are like socks for divers. These are made of different materials but commonly, these are made from neoprene and bear different colors, designs, and styles.
Wearing diving booties primarily protect your feet from blisters, abrasions, and cuts from wearing swim fins or from walking on hot or rocky beaches and pavement.
When buying scuba booties, check if the thickness and the manner of donning (such as pull-on or zippered) are to your preference. Also, the thicker the material, the more effective it is to keep your feet warm during cold-water diving.
Learning to Board – Snorkels
Snorkels allow a diver to spend time on the surface of the water. Snorkeling is a pre-diving activity that allows the diver to conserve energy for deep diving.
At the same time, divers can enjoy the underwater sights without having to lift the head from the water to breathe air.
Apart from the basic scuba gear, there are other equipment and accessories that contribute to effective and pleasant diving. These include scuba gauges, buoyancy compensators, scuba regulators, scuba weights and belts.
Other nonessential scuba gadgets include underwater cameras, dive computers, compasses, gear bags, first aid kits, logbooks, glow sticks, diving gloves, dive knives, glow sticks, underwater lights, diving watches, and watchbands.
Basic Scuba Diving Skills
Most of us, maybe, really have the hidden interest in scuba diving. Imagine what an adventure it can be.
However, the sad thing is, the interest is hidden because we don’t know how the whole thing is done. We may have lacked the necessary skills and abilities to venture into scuba diving. But hey, it is never too late to learn.
Nice Discoveries Underwater
Try something new, like learning how to scuba dive. It is also actually a good way of allowing yourself to grow as an individual. You can always take scuba diving lessons if you are really decided to consider this hobby seriously.
In this way, you will learn the basics from the professionals. You can try for yourself how it is like. It’s a good thing you have someone to help you and guide you into learning these basic skills of diving. You can also go to training to improve whatever you already know about scuba diving.
Meanwhile, let us list down some of the most popular and the most basic diving skills. Most of these, you may already learn from diving lessons and tutorials.
Water entry techniques: There are four types of water entries – wading, seated, feet-first, and back-roll. Knowing these things will prevent you from any injury upon entering the water.
Clearing the mask: Using a mask with a purge valve can be a resort to divers who cannot freely move their neck and thus cannot tilt their head upward
Using the snorkel and regulator. It is a must to know how to use the equipment. The snorkel, as defined by Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, is “a hard rubber or plastic tube through which a swimmer can breathe while moving face down at or just below the surface of the water.” A regulator, meanwhile, is “a device on scuba equipment for regulating the rate at which compressed air is fed through a breathing tube in proportion to the depth of water.”
Since you are already in for a scuba diving adventure, then you definitely have a lot of choices to consider. The world is full of spectacular and breathtaking diving sites – it is for you to decide.
Dive to the Underworld
But of course, it is very costly to travel to other places and countries for new scuba diving destinations. Well, if you’re really decided to try scuba diving and take it seriously, then you can always try and discover your own country for scuba diving destinations.
Here in the Philippines, you can always have an awesome and exciting diving experience with the amazing diving spots the country offers that will leave you at awe.
Since you’re really interested in scuba diving, then here are the most recommended scuba diving sites and destinations around the world that you might want to try:
This place ranks #1 in the Top 100 Dives of the World, according to http://www.scubatravel.co.uk What’s amazing about this place is that you can dive there all year round.
And upon diving, you will be amazed by the marine life you will see right before your very eyes. The place is undoubtedly rich in marine creatures – turtles, rays, sea snakes and everything else – it is best to see all of them yourself.
Plus with the corals that you can’t find elsewhere, you can’t surely wait to do the adventure over again.
This one, meanwhile, is the first of the Top Ten Scuba Diving Destinations listed in http://www.thescubaguide.com. The water and the reefs are just perfect for scuba diving.
The fact that Cozumel is an island makes it more exciting to be a diving site. In fact, you can choose from at least sixteen reef areas in the island to dive in.
Throughout the years, with good promotions and with preservation of nature, the island has earned a reputation of one of the most famous and most sought-after diving destinations all over the world.
Puerto Galera, Philippines
Didn’t I mention the Philippines having the diving sites to die for?
Well, here’s one place found in the Philippines that you surely wouldn’t want to miss. Your scuba diving experience can be at its best when you do it from December to April since the Philippines is a tropical country.
Wikipedia even mentions that “Puerto Galera is also one of the main [technical diving] destinations in Asia. Technical Diving International – [TDI] has many dive centers in the area, offering the full range of TDI courses from Basic [nitrox] to advanced [trimix].”
Thistlegorm, Egyptian Red Sea
It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure as you go deep down the wreck. It is one enjoyable dive in this spectacular and mysterious structure.
The huge wreck will leave you hanging with the fascinating sights you will love to explore. It’s a given that you will have fun in trying for yourself the Thistlegorm experience.
You get a feeling that there’s something new for you each time you visit and dive into the place. Visitors and divers testify that it is really one hell of diving experience.
Palau, Micronesia Many people say that it is even the best in the world. The variety and diversity of marine and aquatic life you can find in Palau are superb. It is best that you try the experience yourself.
Even the nice words visitors and divers who have visited the sites have said it cannot be enough to describe how fantastic and how perfect the place can be for diving. Be marveled with the wide array of marine animals you can find. One exciting adventure is coming to you.