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How to Become a Scuba Diver

Updated on November 20, 2012

Try Scuba Diving once and you'll be hooked!

I remember vividly the first time I went scuba diving in the ocean. I was on Zanzibar Island in Tanzania and it was the first ocean dive of my Padi Open Water Course, and as I descended down the anchor line, I'm sure my eyes must have been as wide as dinner plates. There were coral and fish everywhere. I couldn't believe it! At that moment, I knew I was hooked and would be diving as long as my body is able to. A few years and over 300 dives later, I'm an instructor and excited about introducing this world to others.


What exactly is Scuba Diving?

Scuba stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Essentially, a person uses a tank of compressed air to be able to stay underwater for a period of time much longer than they'd be able to hold their breath. Unlike the early days of diving, where air was supplied from the surface and pumped downwards, divers carry their own tank(s) with them, usually on their backs and attached with a sort of harness or jacket.


Who can Scuba Dive?

Scuba diving is definitely not for everyone, and there are some people for whom it would be just too risky to do it. Those who should not scuba dive include:

-those uncomfortable in the water. Most scuba training agencies require you to pass a swimming test of some sort (such as swimming 200m without stopping).

-children younger than 12. Some instructors and dive shops raise this limit even higher.

-if you have any serious medical conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy, high blood pressure, history of heart attack or stroke.

-those with any sort of breathing problems, such as asthma or a previously collapsed lung.

-people who are out of shape. Diving puts stress on the body and a certain level of fitness is necessary.

How to Scuba Dive


How do I Scuba Dive?

If you have no sort of medical problem and are healthy and fit, you should be free and clear to dive. There are 2 basic options for you:

1. Discover or Try Scuba Diving. This is often an option at a resort, where you'll undergo a little "crash-course" in scuba diving, usually in the pool and then you'll go out to the ocean for a single dive within the same day. You'll most often be 1-1 with an instructor. It's expensive, but an excellent option for those who want to see if they like it before investing in an entire course.

2. Open Water Certification. This is a 3-5 day course that involves classroom work, independent study, 5 pool sessions and 4-5 dives in the ocean. If you pass the tests, you'll receive a certification card that enables you to dive without an instructor or dive-master anywhere in the world. The most popular organization in the world is Padi, but others are good as well such as Naui or SSI. When this course is completed, you'll be able to go diving to depths of 18m.

Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving - 4th Edition
Scuba Diving - 4th Edition

THE guide to scuba diving!


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What happens after I'm certified?

When you have your open-water certification card, the world's oceans await you! Plan some dive holidays, or join a local club in your hometown. Remember to maintain your fitness and take a refresher course with a dive professional if you haven't dove in 6 months. Buy some of your own gear so you can be more comfortable scuba diving, instead of using unfamiliar rental gear each time you go. Find some experienced dive buddies who are willing to take you out diving locally.

To advance your diving even more, take another class. The advanced open water course allows you to go to 30m (vs 18m for Open Water), which means more dives are open to you. You'll also learn about basic navigation underwater as well as improve your bouyancy and other skills as well during your 5 dives.

Where to dive before you die!


Will I enjoy scuba diving?

The ocean covers a large percentage of the globe, but very few people get to see this unexplored frontier. Scuba Diving allows you to experience a world unlike anything you've ever seen before. You'll be amazed at the diversity of life under the seas.

Most people that are comfortable in the water enjoy scuba diving. If you're ever gone swimming in the ocean or snorkeling on a coral reef, scuba diving is probably for you. If you like new challenges, this is the perfect adventure sport for you! There are always new areas to explore, such as photography, caves, wrecks, very deep dives, instructor certification, equipment repair and a million other things.

What do you think about "How to Scuba Dive?"

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    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from Perth UK

      I can imagine how exciting it was the first time in Tanzania. My first sea dive was in Malta and I was, like you, amazed at what I saw and how it felt. Before that I had only dived in a cold and dark lake in England just to get to know the equipment. The clear water of the warm sea was just amazing. Like you, I was hooked. I never dived in Africa, but did a lot in the Persian Gulf that was quite spectacular.

    • Commandrix profile image

      Heidi 5 years ago from Benson, IL

      Sounds like fun! I know for sure there's a class on scuba diving at my local community college. It sounds like fun.

    • audrey07 profile image

      audrey07 5 years ago

      I'm kind of afraid of water. So, although I know it is a beautiful world under the sea, unfortunately, I can only watch National Geographic for the views!

    • Emma Vine profile image

      Emma Vine 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      Very cool. I'd love to SCUBA if we lived near the ocean.

    • bensen32 lm profile image

      bensen32 lm 5 years ago

      Just got my OW cert 2 months ago and have dived locally (9 dives so far) and can't wait till I get the chance to get to the ocean. This is great info here and points out how easy it can be.

    • zandaloo profile image

      zandaloo 6 years ago

      This is a wonderful lens! I know some people are afraid of approaching Scuba Diving, but you have made it welcoming and simple.

    • profile image

      katesmart 6 years ago

      Awesome lens! I am trying to save enough money up to learn as I see it's expensive. BUT I just love the ocean and yearn to see all it has to offer. Thank you for this lens.

    • profile image

      Geeve 6 years ago

      A really good lens, blessed by a passing Angel :)

    • AngelDey profile image

      AngelDey 6 years ago

      This was very informative. I've always wanted to try to scuba dive but have never gotten the chance (I live in a desert). They have classes at our local pool, so maybe I'll look into that now. Thanks.