I am not a certified diver but I would like to try scuba diving. What are my options on vacation?
If you are not yet a diver but would like the opportunity to try diving while on vacation it’s a GREAT opportunity to see if you like it! Here are a couple of things to think about.
Find the right destination.
If you have never tried diving, I don’t recommend you do it in cold water where you’ll need heavy wetsuits or places with a great deal of current or low visibility. Diving is supposed to be fun so make your introduction to it fun as well by doing it in calm, clear, warm water. If you have a bad experience the first time, you probably won’t want to do it again. You will see me repeat this line again!
You need to be healthy
to dive so you want to be sure you do not have a cold or any congestion since you won’t be able to “equalize” or adjust the pressure in your ears and sinuses as you go down. There are medical contraindications to diving such as asthma, epilepsy, certain types of diabetes, pregnancy and yes, even pressure from your spouse. DO NOT try diving unless YOU want to do it. You will be required to fill out a medical form prior to trying diving. I recommend you see a doctor familiar with diving and have them sign a letter for you stating you are healthy for diving and bring it along on vacation. DO NOT lie on your medical form, you can hurt yourself and your instructor.
Find a reputable dive operation.
Ask to see a license. Better yet, get a recommendation before you go. I have heard too many stories of people who had uncomfortable experiences on a beginning dive and will never do it again which is very sad.
The way a beginning or “resort” class works
is that you have about a 45 minute classroom session followed by a pool session to learn some basic skills like breathing underwater, clearing water from your mask and removing and replacing the regulator. The pool work can also be done in the ocean in “pool like” conditions. Then you are authorized to dive with an instructor to a maximum depth of 40 feet in a small group (each dive agency has it’s own requirements but no one allows you to dive (unless certified) beyond 40 feet in a resort course.). You want to look for an instructor from a reputable dive agency such as NAUI, PADI, SSI, BSAC or CMAS. If it is your first dive be sure to follow these steps. Do not let someone push you beyond these limits until you are a completely trained and certified diver.
If you are someone who tends to need a lot of time to get used to a new sport or are uncomfortable in the water, the resort or “DSD” (discover scuba diving) course may be too fast for you. Then I recommend you do some training at home before your vacation to be sure you are as relaxed as possible. Do NOT let your instructor rush you because they want to go on their lunch break. Take the time you need or find a different instructor.
Beware of the biggest danger of scuba diving. It’s a totally addicting sport!!!!!!! Wheeeeee!
To your adventures!
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