Last updated October 3, 2022
Scuba diving. If you’ve ever traveled, you know the liberation that comes from unique experiences. The sights, sounds, tastes, smells and sensations of travel are unlike those at home. From the greenery of vast forests to the expansive sands of the desert, each environment has new beauty to immerse yourself in.
With each new place comes a need for knowledge and certainty. Awareness of your new surroundings gives you the confidence needed to make the most of your trip. It saves you the worry of peril. Scuba diving is no different. Education and self-awareness are key to a safe, successful dive.
In this beginner’s guide to scuba diving, we go over the most important tips to remember. Let’s go over them before you get your feet wet in the exciting, freeing world of diving.
Tip #1: Your instructor knows best
The universal mistake that many new scuba divers make is assuming. A large number of new scuba divers assume that it’s basically just swimming in the deep. After all, it’s easy to get lost in the vastness of the sea’s depths. The open space of the deep blue can feel expansive. Scuba diving almost feels like floating through space.
Your instructor’s suggestions are meant to keep you safe. They are also there to help you make the most of your oceanic exploration. Trust your instructor. Scuba diving instructors have developed their skills through thousands of hours. Most instructors have acquired years of experience working within specific areas. They know what dangers to look for, such as:
- Underwater currents
- Attacks by underwater life
- Failures of equipment
- Physical issues that can happen randomly and suddenly
Instructors are well-trained and equipped to protect you and your greater group. With their tutelage, you can examine and explore to your heart’s content.
Tip #2: Don’t panic; stay calm
Even the most confident and competent swimmers become overwhelmed when scuba diving. The beauty of the ocean, the swirling of fish, the cold water, and the burdensome equipment quickly becomes a lot to process. This is primarily because of the limitations in movement.
It’s an adjustment that every first-time scuba diver has to go through. Especially the focused ear and general pressure upon the body. Like all of the most extraordinary experiences in life, it takes time to acclimate. A person eating escargot in Paris who goes to run the Golden Gate Bridge has to go through strict physical training. The same applies to scuba diving.
Your senses won’t feel like they’re in familiar territory because they’re not. It’s an environment that rewards centeredness cultivated beforehand and maintained throughout.
In the event of a dangerous situation, panic does nothing but waste oxygen and energy, two of the most vital elements to be conservative with during your trip.
Most of the time, your group or your instructor will be able to quickly rectify a situation and ensure you’re protected. Panicking only makes them more limited in options to help.
Tip #3: Drink water
Scuba diving is a sport. Despite being surrounded by water, it’s easy to burn a lot of your hydration throughout the strenuous activity, that is, engaging your body whilst swimming and holding equipment.
Staying hydrated is reasonably easy as long as done before and after each dive, but there are also options via using “sport” style tops that make it easy to control the release of fluids in controlled pressure. A word of caution, it’s best to practice before doing so underwater.
Tip #4: Maintain a close proximity to your partner
The same way certain types of marine life swim in schools, it’s essential to do so with your group. Falling behind or over exploring, no matter how incredible the curiosity is, is an easy way to be all on your own in the event of danger.
Swimming within several meters of your swimming partner is essential for each of you to act quickly in the event of an emergency. Accountability is what lets divers build beautiful experiences together and be at ease.
Tip #5: Take your time
The best experiences are best enjoyed slowly. When it comes to scuba diving, taking your time is an essential part of being able to see and experience everything around you. The fullness of above, below, behind, and in front of you is in a constant state of flux.
Your speed is limited regardless, but in order to protect yourself and the rest of your group, trying to stay with the pack is what will keep you safe. There’s a lot to look at and interact with during your dive, and the ocean is an unpredictable place once submerged, even more so than when on a boat.
Tip #6: Check your scuba diving equipment
This is where things get a bit complex. There is a range of different pieces that make your dive work. The most important aspects are your buoyancy device, your compass, your breathing apparatus and pressure control mechanism, snorkel, fins and a protective mask.
Each needs to be checked for any issues beforehand, both by you as well as your instructor. Comfort is essential, and the ability to move as freely as possible can be the difference between an arduous exercise and an exciting journey.
The equipment that is used depends on the environment and whom you are diving with. Generally, the standard equipment is the same. Your priority when diving is your oxygen, first and foremost. If anything goes wrong, it’s what will give you more time and peace of mind as well as staying conscious.
The secondary focus needs to be on your visibility. The third is your buoyancy device, as it’s what will let you quickly rise or sink as required. However, the term for rising too quickly is “the bends,” which goes back to why it was mentioned to never panic and take your time.
The bends are a type of sickness that happens when scuba divers rapidly ascend to the surface. It can be a jarring feeling that takes time to pass. Thus, keep your presence of mind and ensure your equipment is in order beforehand.
A few quick tidbits:
- Buoyancy device: this is what allows you to add air or deflate as needed, so that you can rise and fall.
- You also may be required to use a weighted belt that keeps center so that you’re able to move more dynamically.
- Using a full face dive mask allows you to see clearly, and ideally, there should be no ability for water to permeate it, clouding your vision.
Tip #7: Stay safe; enjoy your scuba diving adventure
Beyond the safety tips in this introductory guide to scuba diving, you will experience a world that few are able to ever see, and even fewer can encapsulate even via visual and written art. The flurry of life, colors, and peace that many find is why it’s one of the most popular activities in the world regardless of culture.
Keep in mind these tips for a successful and enriching first scuba diving experience!
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