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Understanding Scuba Diving - A beginner's guide
Understanding Scuba Diving - A beginner’s guide
Scuba Diving is a recreational sport enjoyed by millions of people around the world. It is a technically complicated skill to learn much like driving a car; but once you get used to the set up you dive without thinking. Scuba diving is one of the most exhilarating and exciting sports and is very safe as long as you are careful and respect the equipment you are using, and the environment you are in. In this article I am going to explore why people dive and why I think it’s something you should definitely try if you can afford it.
What is Recreational Scuba Diving?
Human Beings have lived on planet earth for millions of years and one thing has always been constant; they need water to survive. Whether it be the rains that fall, that provide life to all animals and plants on earth, or the vast oceans around that provide most of the proteins, energy and minerals that life on earth needs to survive.
The world is still around 80% water and all life on earth originally originates from the water. Today there are more species of wildlife and plant life underwater then there are above the surface. Scuba Diving is the sport of going to view all these life forms that seem so alien to us surface-dwellers.
In every city around the world you will most likely find a zoo and an aquarium. Much like making a once in a lifetime trip to visit a game park, maybe the Serengeti in Africa; going Scuba-Diving is the underwater equivalent.
Underwater life varies vastly from area to area, and so you will find regular divers travel far and wide around the world to experience different environments.
In today’s resource hungry world, people dive for more reason then recreational fun. You will find many people diving down hundreds of metres under the ocean to pump oil up to oil rigs, and to source other natural resources. Recreational diving only refers to diving for pleasure.
Why should I dive?
Diving is one sport you should try because it gives you the opportunity to experience the great wilderness of the ocean. Visiting the sea-side is the top holiday option and always has been. People visit beaches around the world to soak in the sun, sand and sea. Most people, on the doorstep of the underwater world don’t explore it; they only enjoy the warm water, suntans and sandcastles. A few people snorkel from the surface, looking down upon the fish and exciting life under the surface but very few people actually scuba dive.
The marine ecosystem is much vaster then the land ecosystem, and every time you enter the underwater world you will return to the surface amazed. With current climate changes and pollution rates the underwater world is slowly being killed off and it is something that you should see if you really get a chance.
Scuba Diving is a means to see this amazing world, and a means to enjoy it without being pressured by the natural restraints of our lungs. Based on the usual lung capacity of the average man / woman, you should be able to dive down under the surface of water for about 60 seconds. This would let you explore a maximum of four to five metres under the surface before you have to re-surface for air. Scuba Diving using today’s equipment will allow you to explore the water ecosystem with no urgent need to surface for air. The time you can spend underwater often varies depending on how deep you plan to dive, and how big your lung capacity is; but an efficient diver should be able to dive down to twenty metres for at least forty minutes.
With this amount of time to explore the oceans you can really start to understand the underwater world, and instead of just getting a glimpse of it from the surface, you can fully amerce yourself into it.
What do I do now?
If you want to take up diving as a sport there are some very important things to keep in mind. First of all this is not a cheap sport and not something you can master overnight. On average a single dive (which will not last more than one hour underwater) will cost you in the region of $50. This figure will vary depending on where in the world you dive, and whether you are hiring equipment, and if a guide is leading you.
On top of this you will have to complete a course approved by an official diving organisation. There are a few of these organisations to choose from, the most notable and international being PADI. A Padi Open Water course will cost you around $500 to complete minimum, and will require a week’s serious dedication. This is the most popular beginner course allowing you to dive to the depth of 18metres and is the perfect start to a diving career. This course starts with two days in the class room / swimming pool which is followed by a theoretical examination. When you pass this exam you have to take a number of practical lessons in the “open water” with an instructor. These will be some of your first dives.
The reason for all this strict certification is to ensure the sport stays safe. With qualified divers, the injury / death rates are on par with swimming accidents today and as long as you respect your environment, safety should not be the most pressing concern on your mind.