Many people who have never been scuba diving think it is just a swim in the water, in reality it is a very exciting, dangerous, and potentially fatal activity. There are many types of scuba diving, ranging from recreational to sport to career diving. Scuba Diving is just not a swim in the water, scuba requires certification, uses technical equipment, and the world offers the best scuba dives in the world.
“Scuba, which is actually an acronym for “self -contained breathing apparatus”, allows divers to dive deeper and stay submerged longer.” (Bantin) Scuba comes a long way from other forms of diving by using an air tank and regulator. This is what allows them to stay under longer and dive deeper. Scuba originally began with military and commercial applications, where it is still used today. But now, by far the largest group of divers is “Recreational Divers”. “These dives are practiced at depths of less than 130 feet, from these depths; divers can make a straight ascent to the surface.” (Bantin)
Diving beyond this limit requires advanced training. Before recreational divers can take a dive into the water, they must complete a course in scuba diving and become certified. There are many scuba diving agencies, the largest being PADI, but there are many others, including the National Association of Underwater Instructors and the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools. “All agencies require that participants be proficient swimmers, in reasonably good health, and at least 12 years of age.”(Coleman)
The course consists of classroom work, practice in a pool or confined body of water, and dives in open water. In the course, students learn to use diving equipment, to equalize air pressure as they descend, to swim efficiently underwater, to clear the mask if water leaks in, and to ascend safely. Because divers cannot talk to each other underwater, they learn how to communicate underwater with hand signals.
Scuba diving should always be practiced with at least one other person, and partners should remain together throughout the diver. Certification courses teach divers the rules and the very important buddy system. Diving partners learn to double check each other’s equipment, share a single air supply, and assist one another should a problem occur. Neutral Buoyancy is an important skill taught in certification class. “Neutral Buoyancy is a state, in which the individual neither sinks nor floats. In this weightless state, a diver conserves energy and air and keeps diving equipment off the bottom where it could be damaged.”(Coleman)
To become certified, diving students must pass a written exam and a swimming proficiency test, and successfully demonstrate everything they have been taught in four open water dives. Divers then receive a certification card that them to make unsupervised dives, refill air tanks, and buy diving equipment all over the world. The certification process can be easier and faster if you do it in the Bahamas and are just as safe. (Bantin-Coleman)
“Diving equipment depends on the location of the dive, but whether sport or recreational diving, divers need several basic equipment: a mask, a snorkel, fins, and when necessary, and wetsuit to remain warm, air-tank and regulator.” (Sherwood) The diving mask covers the nose and eyes and enables the diver to see while underwater.
A snorkel is a tube that allows the diver to breathe while floating the surface. One end fits in the diver’s mouth and the other end extends above the water. The fins are worn on the feet of the diver; these help the divers propel themselves through the water with a smooth, energy-efficient motion. Wet suits are worn to keep the diver warm in warm-water temperatures and dry-suits are used in cold-water temperatures. To breathe underwater scuba divers wear a metal tank filled with compressed air to match the surrounding water pressure, so that the diver can breathe air comfortable.
The regulator also distributes the air among four hoses. One hose delivers air to mouthpiece, through which the diver inhales and exhales. “Another hose from the regulator attached an adjustable air bladder called a Buoyancy Compensator devise, which the diver wears as a vest. By adding air to the BCD, the diver becomes more buoyant and rises, by releasing air, the diver becomes less buoyant and sinks.” (Bantin)
With minor adjustments of air, the diver can achieve neutral buoyancy. A third hose attaches to pressure gauges that divers use to monitor how much air remains in the tank. A fourth hose attaches to a backup breathing device called an alternate source. Divers also wear a weight belt for balance and most divers carry from 5 to 20 pounds of weight, depending on their body weight, the suit they are wearing, and where they are diving. A quick release buckle enables the diver to shed the belt and rise to the surface in an emergency. That is all the equipment you will need to complete your dives especially if you want to do dives in different areas of the world. (Sherwood-Bantin)
While scuba divers can technically dive in anybody of water that is deep enough, it would be a lot more wondrous to be able to scuba dive in location that is sure to take your breath away. There are many of them that are truly amazing dives that will make you never want to leave the ocean. “One of those dives is in Cozumel, Mexico’s southwest coast; you will find walls and walls of colorful coral.”(History of Scuba Diving)
Along with coral spires that go on for days, you will also be able to observe tons of fish. In Cozumel there are various types of dive site, including coral gardens and deep dives. Another great area to do dives is in Channel Islands, California; which is made up of five islands that offer great underwater views. Once you are suited up and you have made you jump in the water, you may spot a dolphin, whale, shark, depending on the season you go diving. “You will also encounter bat rays, sea fans, garibaldis, moral eels, giant black sea bass, and many others.”(History of Scuba Diving)
Another great scuba diving area is Belize, which is home to one of the most remarkable reefs in the world so when scuba diving, you know you are in for a treat as reefs are known for attracting all sorts of marine life. The water is as clear as day and the temperature remains as perfect levels for scuba diving all year round. “In Belize you will find sea cows, whale sharks, barracuda, angelfish, clown fish, butterfly fish, sponges, coral, and a lot more.”(History of Scuba Diving) Hopefully, everyone that is certified to scuba dive gets a chance to dive anyone of those areas because it would be one of those dives you would never forget.
In Conclusion, scuba diving is not just a swim in the water, scuba requires certification, uses technical equipment, and the world offers the best scuba dives in the world. After practicing in water and passing a test to become certified in scuba diving and getting used to the equipment. Scuba divers are ready to encounter the wonderful world of the bottom of the ocean. Just remember safety first and you will have the time of your life.
- Bantin, John. The Scuba Diving Handbook: The Complete Guide to Safe and Exciting Scuba Diving. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2007.
- Print. Coleman, Phyllis. “Scuba Diving Buddies: Rights, Obligations, Liabilities.” University of San Francisco Law Journal 20..1 (2007): 75-101. Academic OneFile. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.
- Sherwood, Bob. “All About Scuba – Bob Sherwood. Vestal, NY.” All About Scuba. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2013. .
- “History of Scuba Diving.” History of Scuba Diving. Destination-Scuba, Web. 25 Feb. 2013.
- “Scuba Diving.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 85.8 (1961): 440- MEDLINE with Full Text. Web.