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First Dive

First Time Scuba Diving Tips


Your first time scuba diving is one of those awe-inspiring moments that fill you with apprehension and nervous excitement, simultaneously.

Breathing underwater for the first time is an amazing experience that you will always remember.

In recreational scuba, you breathe normal air through a regulator while swimming underwater.

Your equipment and apparatus supplies you with breathable air regulated to be the same pressure that surrounds you (ambient pressure).

The popular sport has been revolutionized in the last few decades and it is now accessible and available to almost anyone who is in general good health and comfortable in water.

Follow these five essential tips and if you are one of scuba's novice divers you will realise that even though full submersion does not initially appeal to everyone you do not need to be an Olympian or Navy Seal to start scuba diving.

Diving Beginners Guide - 5 Top Tips

1. If you feel scared of scuba diving - Ask Questions!

Is it risky? What is scuba diving like? Are there dangerous sharks in the water? Will we be submerging deep? Am I going to die of drowning? Not knowing the answers to all these common fears is what scares you most about getting in the water first time.

Tip: You do not need to know swimming to try your first dive underwater

Rationalising and understanding what will happen is the hardest part for most beginners. It is normal and natural to feel some trepidation. These top tips should show you how to prepare and highlight what to expect.

If you feel scared of going down beneath the sea you should always express your concerns to your instructor and do not be afraid to ask questions. He will have been asked many times before and he will respond in good faith.

Your anxiety often results from an over active imagination and the fear of the unknown. Attempt to verify whether the threat actually exists. Uncontrolled worry often deteriorates into fright and panic.

Scuba competes with other popular water sport hobbies and pastimes. Nonetheless, two clear advantages might tempt you into becoming an active diver.

Having worked internationally as a scuba trainer for more than 20 years I am perpetually amazed how individuals with fears about being in the water display a compelling urge to go diving in the seas and oceans.

To me, it proves how magnetic and magical the natural wonders of the underwater world really are. So there is nothing to be afraid of - right?

2. Avoid the common mistakes novices make

The inherent risks of scuba engagements are underestimated at your own peril. Following poor advice and gambling with inferior diving equipment or the underwater environment are some of the most common scuba mistakes made by new divers.

Ignoring standardized international safety procedures of a self-governing industry, making errors of poor judgment, bravado, or just simple bad luck, may cause serious injuries or death.

Tip: Diving is a safe sport - until the day you forget or ignore how dangerous it can be!

You might anticipate that most common mistakes and problematic situations happen more often to learners or first time divers. The fact is that all humans make misjudgements and miscalculations.

Fear and anxiety soon escalate to life-threatening situations below sea level without proper intervention or correction. Improving your education about the most predictable and expected oversights in scuba, is helpful, prudent, and potentially a problem solving solution for worrisome divers of all experience levels.

Some commonly encountered medical conditions are absolute contraindications for scuba activities and significantly increase the risk of injury or death. There are many problematic health issues that should be discovered on a medical evaluation prior to any in-water diving.

Examples include certain levels of asthma, pneumothorax, ear and sinus surgery, cardiovascular fitness, and others. Unfortunately, suffering a heart attack during the dive remains as one of the biggest killers of older divers.

How safe is scuba? Statistically, it is a safe sport and is reportedly safer than riding a bicycle, a motorbike, or traveling in a car. In most cases, apart from plain old bad luck, it is ignorance, recklessness, and irresponsibility that claim most diver fatalities.

We sincerely hope that we have not scared you away from enjoying some exhilarating experiences submersed underwater. Our aim is to offer a simplified approach to good diving safety habits and to increase your knowledge and awareness of the possible dangers in scuba activities.

3. Reduce the probability of sea sickness

It is best to eat at least half an hour before diving. Try to avoid too much caffeine on a trip because it is a diuretic which stimulates you to urinate often. Drink lots of water to help hydrate your body and compensate towards breathing a tank full of dry air.

Some passengers suffer with sea sickness during the boat trip. Generally, if you feel sickness from the motion of the boat in the water, it is best to go down as low as possible – close to the sea.

It also helps if you focus your eyes on the horizon rather than the rough movement of the water. If you think you may throw up (vomit), it is strongly advised that you do it on the leeward side of the boat to avoid the wind blowing it back into the faces of your buddies and boat crew. I would also suggest that you take someone with you just in case you stumble into the sea while being sick.

4. Breathing rules on your first dives

When it is time to enter the water, your instructor will normally make the final checks for the students ensuring that their air supply is open, the weights are securely fastened and the buoyancy control device is properly inflated.

It is important that everyone stays close together once the group has made the entry to the surface. Ideally, the first few breaths taken as you go down should be made in very shallow water so that the divers can stand up if there are any initial problems.

This is where most instructors will introduce some basic scuba skills which include breathing through a regulator, clearing a mask of water, recovering and clearing a regulator from behind the shoulder.

Top Tip: Breathe slowly and slightly deeper than normal, pace yourself, and relax. Never hold your breath while using a scuba regulator underwater.

5. Use modern maintained scuba equipment

Scuba equipment is usually included in an organized diving program for first timers. Your instructor will prepare your first gear fitting with appropriate kit to fit your size and shape.

You may also get to use other toys and gadgets such as a knife, light, or an underwater computer. We emphasize that using modern well-maintained equipment will increase your safety and comfort during the experience.

Introductory programs are usually conducted in a controlled environment with a high level of supervision by the instructor. This means that under ideal situations the gear you use will be modern and regularly serviced. Using poor fitting gear or make-shift equipment is the catalyst of scuba accidents.

However, one extra thing I would recommend bringing on your first dive is a friend. Lives are transformed after that first submersion into a world of raw nature and amazement so we all benefit from the increased number of people who get introduced to diving.

Are you ready to make your first scuba dive and fully prepared for the opportunity to meet new friends and share a sport that is both non-competitive and relaxing? We hope so because the sport is exactly that.

Contact the Private Scuba Team about the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Program and you will never forget the first time you go diving.

Article Submitted 2013 by Scuba Steve