Scuba diving is one of man’s greatest extreme activities. Somewhat similar to flying, we were never meant to be underwater (no gills, after all), but thanks to some incredible engineering and technology, we can swim under the surface for an extended period of time. Scuba diving is a lot of fun, as you can get up close with some friendly sea creatures and explore the ocean floor. However, it isn’t as easy as it might look. There are many things to remember and to purchase before you simply jump into the water and start discovering. Let’s take a look.
Before you book your trip
There are amazing places like Goa where you can go scuba diving, but before you plan your holiday you’ll have to get your open water certificate. The training doesn’t take more than three to four days and costs are usually around $300, but once you’ve got your scuba diving certificate, you’ll not only have the correct documentation, but also the skills and experience necessary to dive underwater without worry.
In addition to the underwater training, there are other things you can do to prepare for your first scuba dive. Practice swimming and yoga for several months to prepare your body for the stresses and rigors that it will experience when underwater. Swimming will strengthen the leg muscles necessary for kicking, as well as making sure you don’t tire out quickly. Yoga is great to control your breathing, as many people can become scared when diving, therefore breathing faster and using up the oxygen more rapidly.
As for gear, you’ll probably want to rent most of the bulky, expensive items like fins, masks, etc., but there are a few things that are worth buying. Wetsuits are best to own yourself, as they need to be comfortable and made for the right conditions because they can vary depending on what temperature waters you’re diving into. Make sure you choose a wetsuit made for the right waters by browsing around the selections.
You can, of course, pick up more of your own gear along the way if scuba diving becomes a real passion of yours, but try to rent as much as possible until you know that scuba diving is something you’ll do more than once! Depending on how often you go diving in the future, you may well find that you’ll need to keep track of time, as you perhaps won’t always have an instructor nearby to let you know when it’s time to resurface. A watch that’s suitable for going underwater is necessary, as you can’t exactly take your phone down there! See if any of these are suitable, as military watches are sturdy enough to handle deep water.
When you finally get to scuba dive
If you’re a first-time diver, then whichever instructor has gone with you should be responsible for checking all equipment and making sure you’re fit to dive. But if anything seems off or unusual when you start to set up your equipment, don’t hesitate to ask your instructor to make sure, as it will only take a few seconds. Because you’ll likely need a boat to reach the best spot for scuba diving, be sure to take seasickness pills ahead of time if you’re prone to getting queasy – scuba diving sure won’t be fun if you’re feeling like that.
Just like you were always told when going swimming, avoid having big meals before diving, and wait at least two hours after eating. Drink plenty of water beforehand to avoid getting dehydrated when diving. It’s also important to cover any wounds with a plaster, and definitely don’t go diving if you’re suffering from cold or flu, as it will only make breathing much harder.
Like we mentioned with the yoga training, slow breathing is vital to keep in mind once you’re in the water. You’ll have plenty of oxygen, so simply breathe slowly and normally, and don’t try to hold your breath, even though that might be an instinct! In general, slow movements are best for scuba diving, as you’ll burn up you’re energy if trying to move fast. Swimming twice as fast means that you’ll use up four times as much energy. Keep your fins moving lightly through the water and don’t kick wildly.
Oh, and definitely be sure to avoid a quick ascent to the surface of the water, as this can lead to decompression sickness. You’ll be taught this during training, but it’s essential to remember when you’re actually underwater. Not rising faster than your bubbles is a standard rule taught by expert scuba divers.
Lastly, and it might seem cliché, but actually try to have enjoy yourself! Scuba diving is a wonderful experience and you can learn so much about aquatic life when you simply let go of fear and anxiety. Just train well, follow your instructor’s guidelines, use good equipment, and you’ll have an unforgettable time when scuba diving.