Why Scuba Dive? There Is More To Diving Than You Might Think
For divers there is no question of why scuba dive, only how, when and where will my next dive be.
So where does this enthusiasm come from? Are there underlying motivations for people to engage in scuba diving? There are so many recreational activities out there.
People are passionate about golf, climbing, curling, bowling, tennis, swimming to name a tiny fraction. Furthermore they appear just as passionate about their sport.
There is however something that “drives” divers to dive more. In other words a deeper sense of enthusiasm for the sport.
Why Scuba Dive you ask? Well let’s dive right into it.
A good starting point would be to look at PADI’s four E’s. We have Education; learning new skills. Then there is Experience; experiencing something new and sharing it with others. Further we have Equipment; learning how to use dive equipment and rely on it. Lastly, but importantly we have Environment; learning about a new world and what we can do to preserve it.
The company’s passion and pride is evident in their video below. This was released to celebrate their 50 years of commitment to diver education. Watching it sure sends a few chills down your spine!
Could there also be a scientific reason people love diving so much?
Researchers Balvinder Kler and John Tribe published Flourishing Through Scuba: Understanding The Pursuit of Dive Experiences. In this study they go into extraordinary detail as to why scuba divers so passionately pursue their sport. They conclude that divers pursue the “good life” by gaining meaning and fulfillment through education and personal growth.
The researchers refer to eudaimonia as concept that fuels divers’ passion. Participating in diving leads to long-term satisfaction and happiness. This is due to a continuing pursuit of positive experiences. And this in turn leads to a “good life” or happiness. This is why divers sometimes express that they just “need” to dive. Because they know that diving leads to new and positive experiences as well as personal growth. As a diver you get the opportunity to constantly improve your knowledge and skills in something you are passionate about. There are constant new experiences that enrich a diver’s well being.
Why Scuba Dive
Diving offers many possibilities for education. First we have to face fears, learn new skills and later we continue to improve our skills and reach new boundaries. All the while learning about ourselves and a whole new world we barely acknowledged was there before.
Our planet is 70% water, yet we cannot survive in that medium unassisted for very long. Scuba diving makes this possible. Divers can comfortably survive for extended periods of time underwater. Because of this they can discover marine life they never knew existed before. Even just acknowledging the marvel of engineering with every breath enriches a diver’s sense of well-being.
Something for everyone
Diving offers so many different potential avenues for participants to pursue.
Educating ourselves is always a positive experience, because we are learning something new. We push ourselves outside our comfort zone. Diving education starts with the Open Water certification and continues with the Advanced course. But from there the sky is the limit. You never have to stop learning in diving as there are so many ways to expand your knowledge.
Furthermore, divers form new friendships through the sport. Shared experiences intensify friendships. Traveling in the pursuit of diving makes it very easy to make new friends as you already share a common interest. Experienced divers thrive on introducing new divers to the underwater world. In turn new divers feel welcome when experienced divers assist them.
Travel is known to be a positive experience by expanding knowledge through new experiences and cultural emersion. Divers often consider more new travel destinations simply because there is “good diving” there. The curiosity alone can be satisfying. We like to seek out new dive destinations and even plan trips and holidays with other diving friends.
Too often divers are faced with the environmental deterioration on otherwise pristine reefs. This can lead to them becoming more active in preserving the environment. For example they might start to change their own habits to be more environmentally responsible or even inspire others to take action.
A few more reasons to try diving
Serious leisure is a term used to describe activities that promote recreating or rediscovering oneself, through enrichment, social connections and a sense of belonging. Diving invites everyone to participate, no matter what level and encourages continuing growth through education and shared experiences. Diving requires specialised knowledge and training that once completed creates a sense of belonging.
We all have a sense of curiosity and exploration within us. For example taking a walk in a forest we have never been in before can create a sense of enrichment once we have taken the walk. Diving combines training, and relying on equipment and procedures to pursue such an exploration. Even on a “bad dive” where we “saw nothing” we still shared an experience with other divers. Poor visibility or torrential rain for example can add to the adventure and forge an ever stronger bond between dive buddies.
We all want to truly escape sometimes. A lot of people find this escapism or inner peace through meditation. I for one believe there is no better form of escapism than diving. There are no phones, no internet and you can only communicate essentials with hand signals. You focus on your breathing (meditation) and monitor your gauges as well as your buddy (being in the present). Furthermore you do all this in an incredible environment full of colour and amazing creatures.
In short, diving is a pursuit of the “good life” and achieving happiness by engaging us in positive experiences. It helps us grow as a person and enriches our life. On top of that we have a choice in how we engage with scuba diving. Do we become a nudibranch fanatic? Or maybe we could attempt to dive every dive site in the world? What if we continued to train until we eventually train others? Do we stop there? So instead of why scuba dive, maybe we should be asking why not scuba dive?
Reasons to Become a Scuba Diver
Have you ever pictured yourself scuba diving? Or even wondered what is scuba diving or what SCUBA even stands for? Well if you have, you just earned some extra points from us. Scuba diving is freakin’ awesome. Like…really, really awesome.
There are so many different reasons for becoming a scuba diver. Knowing how to swim, or even being young doesn’t need to put you off this sport. With the opportunity to see all kinds of marine life, meet new people, and travel to some of the best locations in the world, the list really is endless.
Table of Contents
10 Reasons Why You Should Become a Scuba Diver
If you’ve been thinking about scuba diving but haven’t yet taken the plunge, we’ve put together this list of the top reasons why you should learn how to scuba dive.
Just by looking at some of these reasons, you’ll come to understand just how amazing the scuba diving world can be. With some many different liveaboard diving destinations available nowadays, there is a style of diving to suit everyone.
1. Travel and See the World
Why should I learn how to scuba dive? Great question. There are so many different reasons why people love scuba diving. When you learn how to scuba dive, the world really becomes your oyster.
To put this into perspective; If the Earth is 71 percent water, just imagine how many different places you can explore whilst diving. If your goal is to “see the world” then you’ll need to learn to scuba dive.
2. Escape the Stress of Everyday Life
Diving is one of the best ways to meditate and relax. Different studies have shown that the ocean can calm overactive or anxious minds. Think about it, have you ever seen a fish tank in a doctor or dentist surgery? Exactly.
There are no phone calls to answer or e-mails to respond to underwater. Your attention is focused on your steady breathing and the beautiful sights you can see through your mask whilst scuba diving. Enjoy the view and save your air for a longer diving experience!
3. You are able to Breathe Underwater!
On a daily basis, most of us don’t pay attention to our breathing. However, it is a very different story when we are submerged in water. Seen by many as claustrophobic, the feeling of being able to breathe underwater is actually quite liberating.
That first unsure breath you take on your first dive is a truly remarkable experience. After all, breathing underwater is practically a superpower, right?
4. Learn a New Language
Believe it or not, scuba divers have their very own sign language! Since divers are unable to speak underwater, they have come up with hand signals to communicate with one another.
This means, that by the time you have completed your certification course, you will be fluent in a new language. An added bonus? These hand signals can double as dance moves. At least for us…
5. Challenge Yourself
Scuba diving comes with its own set of skills and fears which you will need to overcome. It can be a bit of a dangerous sport, so these skills become rather important for avoiding nasty incidents and stuff.
When it comes to scuba diving, you can get scuba certified. Everything from learning how to equalize your ears and practicing safe ascension is all part of making you an expert in a whole new area and will soon become second nature.
6. Develop a True Love for the Environment
On each dive, you will learn something new. Being a scuba diver will continuously want you to enrich your knowledge of the underwater world, which will lead to you changing your perspective towards marine life and their behaviors.
You will eventually learn to appreciate the ocean and gain a sense of an environmental need to protect its beauty and all those that live within it.
7. One-up your Friends on Social Media
While your co-workers and friends are back home staring at their computer screens, dreaming they were someplace else. You’ll be able to make them jealous of your awesome underwater pics and dive stories.
Oh yes! One-up your friends on social media by sharing your dive experiences and save everyone from that one person who is always going on about their marathon running!
8. Make new friends
Like most hobbies or sports, scuba diving has quite the community and by learning how to dive, you will become a part of that. Let me explain a little something about us. We are very hyper people. Meaning bouncing off the walls, way too many cups of coffee, wanting to do it all, kind of people.
But we are also very friendly! Divers will never venture into the blue without their buddy, so it works out a great opportunity to make some new friends!
9. Marine life is fascinating
We all know that exploring new places on land can be pretty cool, but finding a new world underwater seems to be a little cooler. Every dip into the big blue ocean will lead to new adventures.
From tropical waters to cold kelp beds, you will be wide-eyed and amazed at the entirely new underwater universe. Swimming above, below or alongside some of the world’s craziest looking, smallest animals in the ocean or even the biggest creatures in the sea is just pure magic.
10. It never gets boring
With so many different dive locations scattered all over the world, you will never get bored of diving. And I mean never. Each dive site offers its unique array of marine life and dive conditions. Wreck dives, caves, abandoned artifacts some of the things that await to be discovered, and who else better to find them than you!
Due to rising currents, constant changes in weather conditions and the seasons that come and go, every dive you ever do for the rest of your life will show you a different side of the big blue. Scuba diving is never boring and always exciting. Now, how freakin’ cool is that?
There you have it, 10 reasons why anyone should become a scuba diver. Let’s think about this for a minute… How many people can call themselves certified scuba divers? Ohhh me me me! How awesome does that sound? This community of awesomeness is looking for new members and all you need on your application is the desire to dream, dive, and discover.
Scuba diving is more than a passion to me, it’s a part of who I am. Now, I travel and dive as much as I can, exploring the world, trying new dive gear, discovering dive destinations and reviewing them here for you. All while educating people of the threats our marine life and oceans face every day and what we can do to help defend it.
Learn to Scuba Dive: What You Need to Know
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This article will outline how to get a recreational scuba diving certification. It will outline everything a beginner diver needs to consider before signing up for a scuba class, either at home or while on vacation.
It’s easy to get certified. Read on and you’ll find out what you can expect from scuba diving lessons.
You’ll learn how certification will allow you to confidently dive in the open water and travel to beautiful dive spots around the world.
Diving with a buddy, surrounded by brilliant marine life is the basic promise of what awaits you when you get certified
Look out for links about equipment, the marine environment, health considerations and practical suggestions to safely guide you into the majesty of the underwater world.
This is an introduction for people who have only dreamed about scuba diving. Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s an activity that promotes well-being and respect for the planet and its creatures. You’re not wrong.
“People protect what they love.”
– Jacques Cousteau
What is scuba diving?
Scuba diving provides something for everyone. It’s a hobby, a sport, a form of tourism, a spiritual activity, and a lifestyle.
The SCUBA acronym stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. In simple terms, scuba diving means strapping a tank of air on your back so you can breathe underwater.
It is the key to adventure around beautiful coral reefs, swimming among fish for periods generally up to an hour.
Part of a scuba diver’s gear includes an inflatable vest, called a buoyancy control device (BCD). This kit allows you to float on the surface and better regulate your depth when swimming underwater.
Because of the BCD, you don’t have to necessarily be an expert swimmer to go scuba diving.
Do I need to get certified?
Taking scuba diving lessons makes good sense. Done right, scuba diving is not dangerous. But there are some risks when training and guidelines are not followed.
So get certified. It’s not legally required, but it is factually the wisest bit of knowledge you can get for yourself. It’s to your own benefit, for the well-being of the ocean, and others in the open water.
PADI, SSI, SDI, and NAUI are some of the major certifying bodies for scuba divers. When you take a scuba diving certification course, it’s their curriculum one learns, taught by professionals at dive shops and resorts. They share a similar standard of quality and practice.
Taking scuba diving lessons will empower you to safely explore the ocean and all its creatures under the water. In other words, by getting scuba certified you will maximize your experience by minimizing dangers.
Can I dive without getting certified?
Yes, but just on a trial basis under supervision. There are non-certification programs offered by resorts and dive operators for those uncertain how they might react with a mask underwater.
Some students are afraid they’ll be overwhelmed by nervousness or start to panic.
Taking one of the “discover scuba diving” options offered at dive centers gives you the chance to see if being underwater freaks you out before committing to a full open water course.
A discovery dive doesn’t count toward your open water certification but it’ll definitely make your first open water dives easier and more enjoyable.
During confined dives there’s no need to panic. It’s strange taking the first breaths through a regulator, but trained professionals make you feel safe.
Professionals in a swimming pool or in shallow coves will assist you in a pool with scuba equipment. You get a small taste of the demands of a scuba dive without committing to a plunge into the open water.
If you’re nervous or anxious about starting scuba diving certification, this is the best way to find out if it isn’t something for you. Some people find pool-side try-dives in less than 6 feet of water exciting enough without needing to try anything deeper.
Learn How to Dive: Open Water Certification
Before getting into the open water, it’s necessary to feel comfortable in aquatic conditions. The goal is to understand the basic conditions for ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience as a guest in an alien ecosystem.
Open water refers to underwater diving in an unconfined water environment. That includes the ocean, lakes or flooded quarry pits.
Before starting the course, you need to fill out a medical form that declares you fit for fight, assuming you are. Doing some training in the period before a trip is not a bad idea. If you have some type of medical condition, you will need your doctor to sign off on it.
The PADI open water certification is the most common course, but it’s not the only game in town. There are quality schools under the SSI, SDI, NAUI, CMAS, and BSAC umbrella issuing the C-card to newly-trained scuba divers the world over.
All certifications will teach you essentially the same skill-set you need to become a scuba diver.
“Going down.” Students in an open water course practice their communication, showing their instructor their intent to descend while completing confined dives.
What do Scuba Diving Lessons teach?
Scuba diving certification is painless and fun. How long does it take? Only 3-4 days. E-learning courses allow you to jump-start your theory lessons and study at your convenience.
PADI also has a fast track course where you can get you your C-card in just 3 days. It’s quite intensive though, and will not leave much time for anything else during those 3 days.
Course material is often digital. The theory portion of a certification course is comparable to getting a driver’s license. Just with friendlier people.
Scuba diving lessons consist of 3 modules, which can be taken together in succession or split up. Certification is dependent on completing all three in order:
- Theory: either through e-learning resources or in a classroom,
- Confined water dives: in a pool or in pool-like conditions with scuba gear, and
- Open water dives: this includes 4 dives the student can try only after successful completion of the previous 2 sections.
Among other things, the open water course will teach you how to:
- Plan a dive, calculating for depth and time,
- Control your buoyancy above and below the surface,
- Easily clear a fogged mask underwater, , that you will learn to use underwater,
- Use and understand scuba equipment and make sure your buddy’s gear is good to go, and
- Understand weather phenomena so you can take appropriate actions to avoid danger
Open water courses will also teach you about how the body reacts underwater and how to avoid decompression sickness (DCS). How to recognize warning signs before they develop into hazards is important.
Kids and scuba diving
Most people wonder whether kids can go scuba diving. The answer is, absolutely–most of the time. You can take your whole family scuba diving, but you’ve got to be realistic about these things. Wishful thinking is not a highly-prized commodity in the dive industry.
Scuba diving can be problematic for kids that don’t listen. Don’t let optimism compromise anyone’s safety.
Children from 10 years-old can get a junior scuba diving certification. They need to be able to understand course materials and the rules they describe.
A junior open water diver (aka a 12 year-old) is guided by the sure hand of an instructor during her first dive in the ocean at about 10 feet.
PADI’s Bubblemakers program offers children as young as 8 years-old a chance to take their first scuba breathes in a controlled space. Instructors will keep a keen eye on them in a swimming pool or enclosed, shallow cove. Parents are welcome to join in at the same time, ticking that box on the list for sharing immortal moments together as a family.
The Bubblemakers course is the precursor to the Junior Open Water Diver awarded to kids between 10 and 15. Both SSI, SDI and NAUI also have a junior certificate that the cardholder can trade-in after they turn 16.
A junior scuba certification card allows the holder to dive to 40 feet as long as they are accompanied by a certified parent/guardian or a PADI professional (Divemaster/Instructor).
What does a scuba certification cost?
Pricing varies depending on the location. A complete open water course in the US or Europe will cost on average between $450 and $550. You can learn the same PADI or SSI course in Thailand, Honduras or Bali for around $300.
An American shop may offer a theory and pool portion package for $200. They sell separately the certification dives starting from around $250.
PADI and SDI’s e-learning course on its own sells online for $129. It increases in price depending on the region or country. It includes knowledge development training and access to other course resources.
The PADI Open Water Diver e-Learning resource, though is only available for a year.
An SSI open water certification, on the other hand, is cheaper because you don’t have to buy the course material. And access to their digital resources won’t expire like the PADI elearning material.
A scuba tank doesn’t weigh so much in the water! A student gets a helping hand from his instructor during Module 2 of the open water scuba course in confined water.
Comparing PADI, NAUI, AND SSI.
PADI, SSI, NAUI, and SDI are the four most common diving bodies found world-wide. There is an on-going discussion amongst scuba divers about which agency is better.
Some might complain that PADI is all about sucking as much cash out of its students as it can. Others will label NAUI or SDI divers snobs.
All four provide lessons in both the recreational category of scuba diving as well as more technical courses. A specialty course like wreck-diving or night-diving is offered by all these companies.
Each certifying agency has its own different profile. They all follow the same general safety framework established by the World Recreational Scuba Diving Council (WRSDC) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
A graduate carrying a dive certification from any one of these can dive anywhere in the world. Also with dive shops working under a competing certification umbrella.
Sea turtles swim great distances. Meeting one is humbling and inspires both awe and respect for the aquatic environment.
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) was formed in 1966 by two NAUI divers looking to expand recreational diving. PADI is by far the largest certifying body and is found all over the world.
It’s not uncommon for the biggest player in the game to also be the target of criticism both from outside and from within. PADI has mass-produced the Open Water Diver, leading all competitors in the market. Naturally, it has an interest in maintaining its advantage. So, while it may be slow to change it can ill-afford to cut corners on safety.
Scuba Schools International (SSI) offers internationally-recognized certifications since 1970. SSI teachers train students with essentially the same skills as the other agencies.
They also operate all over the world. It’s been said in the scuba grapevine that an SSI instructor has more flexibility to tweak course conditions to match students.
SSI offers more niche courses, teaching divers about specific elements of the aquatic ecology, like corals, sharks, and fish identification.
The National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) is the oldest recreational scuba diving organization in the U.S. (est. 1959). The entry-level NAUI course called Scuba Diver differs from other schools in that a skin dive is part of the training and basic diver rescue is introduced.
It is the second biggest agency by the number of certifications and NAUI affiliates can found everywhere.
NAUI also teaches specialty courses. Beyond the night dive course, underwater archaeology is one of the more niche specialties NAUI provides.
SCUBA Diving International (SDI) is the recreational wing of Technical Divers International (TDI) established in 1999. They too teach an Open Water certification provided by instructors all over the world with the ethos of training recreational divers through the lens of technical diving.
Compared to PADI, SDI has apparently less paperwork full of disclaimers and waivers. Otherwise, the same skill-set is provided and the course structure is modular with e-learning material as well.
During a deep dive an instructor ensures students are fully cognizant at depths up to 100 feet (30 meters). Notice there are two sets of buddies diving together plus their instructor.
Diving is a business and the recreational diving industry is competitive. The success of the scuba diving paradigm, as far as making money by graduating paying students, is predicated on safety and the absence of mishap.
In doubt about which scuba school to enroll in? Start by finding a dive center or resort near you or near your destination somewhere in the world.
Always use your instincts and best judgment. Talk to your prospective instructor. If you don’t trust the scuba diving shop, just find another one! Read some online reviews.
Scuba diving lessons should be fun and almost always are.
Your entry-level license is a lifetime certificate. It’s great to have in case you at some point in the future suddenly find yourself in a setting with great diving, great weather and deserving of joy.
People establish bonds that go beyond the open water scuba diving certification course. When learning to dive, one gets a taste for the elation and shared wonder of the ocean.
What can you do with your scuba certification?
Now that you’re a certified diver, you know the rules to safely maximize the joy of diving. You can travel to amazing destinations and swim with whale sharks around lush coral reefs where the adventure never gets old.
Upon completion of certification, divers receive a C-card needed to rent equipment, buy air and descend to depth generally not more than 18 meters.
No matter which company issues one, your scuba certification never expires.
It’s possible to dive, at the absolute max, up to four times a day if the dives aren’t too deep. But most divers are satisfied with two, usually back-to-back, and separated by at least an hour to give your body time to decompress and release residual nitrogen.
Sometimes ships are sunk on purpose to create reefs, much to the benefit of marine life and the amazement of scuba guests.
You’re ready to explore some of the best things scuba diving can offer including wreck diving, a liveaboard adventure (a floating dive hotel), cave diving and the extreme beauty of the undersea world surrounded by aquatic life as you’ve never experienced.
If you’re not inspired by the magic and majesty of coral reefs teeming with life and colors, I dare you to check out the Worlds 10 top best dive spots and begin to plan your next holiday.
Most divers will tell you charming stories of their certification course, describing in glowing detail the collection of people they connected with. Diving during the day and regaling each other with tales of aquatic adventure in the evening is true bliss.
And for the lucky souls endowed with more time on their hands after certification, some end up getting “stranded” for extended periods, diving and finding serenity away from the inconveniently complicated world.
A father and son buddy-team begin to remove their kit following a dive. Dive boats are specialized for ease of use so getting in and out is never a challenge.
The cost of recreational diving
If you’re wondering how much each recreational dive costs for a certified diver, you’ve read enough to know that it depends entirely on the region. It also depends whether you’re diving with a buddy from shore or through a shop.
It’s obviously cheaper to fill a tank and find a dive site accessible from the shore than to book a tour with a dive operator on their boat for the day.
Filling a tank of air will run anywhere from $5-$10 in the States and Europe leaving you on your own for the dive.
But diving with others, your new-found tribe, is part of the attraction for some. The ease and accessibility of a package also has its appeal.
Two tanks of air, equipment, and passage on a shop’s boat may run anywhere between $25 at the absolute cheapest to $100. Some trips will run up to more, but that’s often if there’s a long distance by boat or car to the dive spot.
You’ll almost always find “scuba lessons near me” and you can always find dive operators close to good diving locations where lessons can be found.
A diver makes a giant-stride entry from a rocky coast. Some prime dive spots can be accessed without a boat and shore diving can make diving cheaper.
What scuba diving equipment do I need?
Word to the wise: wait at least until you’ve tried an open water dive or two before investing in equipment.
You’ll have a better feel for what you need and what you like. All dive shops provide gear for rental when you take your scuba diving lessons, giving you the insight you can use later.
However, many people can’t help themselves, tempted by the allure of gadgets and gear. When you get your scuba license, you’ll start to think a lot about the wonderful world of scuba gear & dive equipment.
Scuba tanks strapped into BCDs with regulators attached, ready for divers to go out. Two weight belts lay beside the tanks.
You’ll want A well-fitting scuba mask and fins are great because you can also use them as snorkeling gear.
Underwater photography can create pictures to salivate over when not diving, but you should, again, wait a bit before buying a camera. Instagram isn’t going anywhere. Just enjoy being a scuba diver for a spell or two first.
Dive computers and dive watches have become so central to planning and logging our dives. Some first-timers invest in these gadgets early on in their scuba career.
The great part about having your own computer is the accuracy of your dive it captures. Most dive computers measure dives conservatively. They will warn you if you approach a depth or length of time that might be dangerous, giving you peace of mind.
Still, planning a dive using the analog techniques from open water training should not be given up.
Otherwise, here’s a quick summary of the gear you’ll strap on when scuba diving. We’ve added some reviews of some solid kit on the market.
Basic scuba gear consists of:
Remember to rinse off the salt from your gear with fresh water after diving in the ocean. Maintenance of your gear is important if you want it to last and continue to work as expected. You’ll want to get your reg serviced every few years too. Do this at most dive shops.
Again, if you have NO previous experience diving it’s probably wise to wait to buy your scuba gear until after you’ve gone through at least some of your open water course.
Read our 11 tips to safer diving, but here are some quick tidbits of advice. When planning a scuba dive, no matter where it is, remember you SHOULDN’T FLY within 18 hours after your last dive. So plan accordingly.
Likewise, if you have any ear problems (ie.: infections) related to a cold, you might find equalizing on the way down uncomfortable. Talk to your instructor.
Checking to see if travel insurance covers any cancelations due to illness or injuries due to scuba diving makes sense. And scuba diving insurance doesn’t cost particularly much. We’ve curated some advice about getting insurance for scuba diving for you to read.