So you want to become a scuba diver

You grew up watching Jacques Cousteau’s Undersea World on TV, or perhaps inspired reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne? Or was it Disney’s The Little Mermaid, or even Shark Week?

Wherever your inspiration came from, you’ve thought about trying scuba diving and you’re just not sure where to start or what questions to ask? Here are a few things to think about.

Jumping right into certification, or just want to wet your fin?

If you’re not sure scuba diving is for you, why not try a Discover Scuba Diving session? It might be called a Try Dive or some other name, but basically means that you’ll get to check it out in a pool or shallow beach or lake. You’ll get a briefing on the exercises you will cover, usually mask clearing (getting water out of your mask while staying underwater) and a regulator recovery (getting your reg aka “thing you breathe out of” back in your mouth to breath and clearing it of water), and learn about buoyancy. You’ll then get in the water and give it a go! This is a perfect introduction to scuba diving, with no pressure and usually a ton of fun.

Most shops will usually give you some kind of credit toward your certification if you decide to sign up after your discover scuba diving session.

If you do decide to enroll in your Open Water certification, know that it is usually done in 3 parts: theory, pool, and open water. 

Theory can be classroom or e-learning based, and you’ll cover all the basics to dive safely. It’s not rocket science, there’s nothing to study per se, just reading, watching a video and completing knowledge reviews and quizzes, so you’ll just learn as you go. 

You’ll then practice all the skills required in the pool, little by little, step by step. Having taught hundreds of students, I can honestly say that 99.9% complete it easily, even if they started with some apprehension. The one skill that some people sometimes get a bit nervous about is clearing your mask. But in all honesty, it’s really not that bad. Shall I try to write a blog post on mask clearing tips in the future?

Once you’ve mastered all the skills in the pool, you need to do 4 open water dives to complete your certification. During these dives, you’ll redo most skills that you practiced in the pool, as well as practice your buoyancy with guided dives. You’ll see it’ll go super fast, and you’ll feel completely elated! But don’t take my word for it, why don’t you just give it a try?

Let me know in the comments your best memories from your Open Water certification!

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