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Diving for the first time: A quick guide

Are you looking for a quick guide to diving for the first time? Look no further as I will tell you what to expect.

There is nothing like sunbathing in the majestic beauty of the great underwater world. You get to see shipwrecks, colorful reefs and even see life in the ocean up close.

Between the incredible sea life and the peace and quiet of the calm turquoise water, what is not to love?

But we know that even though diving sounds like a great adventure, it seems scary at first, especially when it’s your first time! This article can help calm your nerves and know what to expect when trying to dive for the first time.

Introduction to diving

For those who do not know this yet, SCUBA is an abbreviation for Independent underwater breathing apparatus. Diving allows you to breathe and move more freely when you are underwater.

Combine the two and you get diving, a recreational sport where you can stay underwater for much longer without having to return to the surface to get air.

Through diving, you will discover the underwater world and ecosystems that are otherwise inaccessible without the right equipment. The sport allows people to explore and take pictures of coral formations, reefs and shipwrecks and enjoy all the unique landscapes of the underwater world.

The maximum depth for recreational diving is 40 meters, although divers can only reach this depth limit after acquiring appropriate training and experience.

Beginner courses will limit the maximum depth to 18 meters until the diver achieves sufficient training and experience to move on.

Many beginners worry about the safety of diving, assuming it is a challenging and dangerous sport.

Don’t worry, folks, as diving mortality is negligible, with most accidents happening due to people not respecting the limitations of their training and experience. Most emergencies tend to happen due to insufficient knowledge and poor training.

While scuba diving is not difficult, there are rules to follow, as with any sport. As long as you educate yourself and follow your training from a reputable diving instructor, the risks are minimized and you can focus more on having fun.

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Diving courses for first-time users

Here is a quick overview of the different diving courses that you can do / try.

Discovery Dive – Discovery Dives are a great way to test the waters to see if diving is for you. It is a single day’s activity and usually starts with a little pool training before moving on to the open sea. DSD is designed to familiarize you with your diving equipment and how to use it properly.

Open Water course- There are two primary open water certification bodies, PADI or SSI. If you end up deciding that diving is for you, you can sign up for a multi-day open water certification, which allows you to walk 18 meters / 60 feet as long as you are with a Dive Master / professional.

Advance Open Water- Intermediate divers can consider getting their Advance Open Water certification, which allows you to walk 30 meters (100 feet). Personally, I have dived many places around the world and have found that Open Water is more than enough. Only certain dives (shipwrecks) require a pre-certification due to the maximum depth you end up walking.

A woman gains experience in scuba diving under the guidance of an experienced recreational diving instructor in a swimming pool

Diving tips for first-time divers

If you have just booked your diving trip, your instructor will first have you take a basic course in the swimming pool to learn how to use the equipment properly, breathe, float, check your pressure and the like. When you are ready and comfortable, you begin to move to the sea.

Don’t worry as your instructor will be with you all the time and teach you everything to know. To prepare further, here are a few tips to follow:

Choose a reputable diving school

The most important decision you need to make as a first time diver is to make sure you go with a reputable diving school. Look at their diving equipment to see if they are relatively new / well maintained.

Taking the time to read the reviews and make sure you are in good hands will go a long way! I made it a point to talk to my instructor before signing up for the class and I immediately felt much more confident.

Consider the weather when planning your dive

Weather conditions can affect the dive day, with strong waves making it difficult to reach the targeted immersion point. It can also create underwater currents that can be dangerous for beginners to explore.

If the weather does not look good, you can always postpone when conditions get better.

Do not be afraid to ask questions

Never go underwater if you are still in doubt. Remember, once you are underwater, you can not communicate as you would on land. As such, you need to understand the protocols, hand signals, what to do underwater, and the overall plan.

Your instructor will review everything, and if you want to clarify something, do not hesitate to raise your hand and ask!

remember to breathe

You have a tank filled with oxygen on your back so you can breathe normally. Understandably, nerves can make you hold your breath or increase your breathing while you dive, but you need to relax!

Inhale and exhale slowly, just as you would on the surface. Although it seems unnatural and uncomfortable to breathe underwater, the faster you relax, the easier it becomes!

Also, avoid moving too much so that you do not get tired quickly, which can cause you to breathe faster and use more of your stored oxygen.

Do not touch anything underwater

Despite what you see on shows, one of the most important rules when exploring underwater is not to touch anything. You can see it, but you can not touch it, even if you are very curious and want to.

You never know you might hurt something or they might hurt you. Remember that we are only underwater guests, and taking extra precautions to ensure we do not disturb their habitat is the key to having a great experience.

These are just a few tips. Overall, you need to make sure you are ready, physically and mentally. Keep a positive attitude and control your nerves, focus on having fun.

If you fall in love with diving, consider doing one Liveaboard experience where you can travel to distant diving destinations around the world.

Diving equipment

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Purchase of diving equipment

Another important part of scuba diving is getting to know the equipment.

The pieces of equipment we will address below are all optional if you are a first time user as you can rent them from dive centers to test the water first (few puns?).

That said, we understand that some people prefer to own their own equipment when they get more into the sport, so here are a few recommendations.

Scuba diving mask

A good diving mask can make or break your experience! Otherwise you will not be able to see much underwater. I have taken dives where the masks keep misting and it is not a nice experience.

Diving masks will allow divers to see clearly underwater, as well as protect eyes and nose.

High quality diving masks keep your eyes free of fog and encourage maximum visibility to know where you are going each time by providing air space in front of your eyes.

Here are a few high quality brands we recommend if you are planning to invest in a diving mask:

Editor’s note: Check out our article on Best snorkeling equipment where we give tips on our favorite diving masks and snorkels!

Scuba finds

Scuba finds is important equipment that helps divers move quickly and efficiently underwater without exerting so much effort. Fins are designed in a way that allows a wider area to push and move towards water so you do not have to use your hands.

In addition, you have more power to overcome waves and currents, along with control to navigate the water without overexerting yourself.

There are certain brands we recommend because of their strength and power that make you take on the water comfortably:

Portable diving tank

Portable diving tanks are lightweight and portable versions of the standard scuba tank. That said, this equipment is not advisable for beginners and should be used under the supervision of a diving school.

Transportable diving tanks are recommended for divers who are properly trained and with the relevant certificates. It is also only best for those diving in shallow water, to use as an excess air source or in case of emergency.

For those planning to get a portable diving tank, it is SMACO S700 The 2L portable Scuba Tank is worth considering for its lightweight features and ease of use. It is DOT certified and can be used for about 540 underwater breaths at full capacity, which is about 20-25 minutes of diving time.

Reader discount: Get a 6% discount by using coupon code: ADVENTURE6 at smacosportscom

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Diving computer

A diving computer is a diving watch that gives you incredible information while you are underwater. It tells you your maximum depth, oxygen levels and more.

Some diving schools will give you one to use during your certification, but if you want to buy your own, here is our recommendation for best dive computers.

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Conclusion: Enjoy the underwater world!

Diving does not have to be so scary when you are equipped with the right knowledge, training and equipment.

If you are planning to dive for the first time, work with a certified diving instructor and always follow their instructions to stay safe underwater. Good luck and have fun with your first dive!


For more diving content, check out these articles:

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Diving for the first time |  Are you looking for a quick guide to diving for the first time?  Look no further as I will tell you what to expect.  #scubadiving #diving #scuba

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