By Megan Caros
There is nothing quite like the experience of diving underwater. The sensation of flying through the water to view diverse sea creatures and explore shipwrecks is one anyone in reasonable health can experience. All it takes is a commitment to train and an open mind.
SCUBA diving, however, is a sport where proper training and certification is essential. There are a number of training agencies such as PADI, NAUI or BSAC where beginners can take intensive weekend courses or courses that expand over a period of weeks.
Most diving schools will provide the equipment as part of the course fee, so there’s no need to immediately purchase the items. Complete the course, then, decide if SCUBA diving is for you before investing in expensive tanks and wet suits.
Courses offered by the different training organizations vary slightly in both content and format but the same basics of SCUBA diving instruction allow you to enjoy the sport, safely. Get hooked and advanced training courses will prepare you for more challenging dives.
The beginners’ course consists of a few academic classes, lessons in a swimming pool, and open water lessons in the sea or an inland site such as a flooded quarry or lake.
The academic classes include familiarizing participants with basic SCUBA diving equipment and a bit of physics to understand how underwater pressure affects your body and equipment. You will also learn how the body deals with the gases (air) that you breath when diving to prevent “the bends”, or decompression sickness.
Water lessons will also teach you how to descend and ascend safely and how to maintain buoyancy under water. Participants learn how to get in, out and maneuverer in the water, as well as critical instruction on how to help someone who may be in trouble. Once you are competent in sheltered water, all lessons are repeated in open water.
After receiving your diving certification, continue to enjoy the sport by connecting with a local dive club or nationally recognized organization when traveling abroad.
Some people become so hooked they end up with a new career as a training instructor.
Just be sure to enjoy your new hobby at a comfortable, safe level.