Anyone who has ever taken an interest in scuba diving should seek out their scuba certification. Scuba diving opens up a whole new world, as it allows you to explore the depths of the underwater world. Scuba diving does require a special certification, but it allows you to dive down deeper and experience so much more than you would be able to do when you are just snorkeling.
SCUBA is an abbreviation for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Basically, scuba diving is when you go diving with equipment that allows you to breathe underwater. Note, this is different from snorkeling. Note that some equipment, like masks
, and even diving suits
, are part of the equipment for both snorkeling
and diving and can be found in every dive shop
Scuba divers are able to breathe air through scuba tanks
, which are tanks that provide compressed air that is the same regular air. This means that it is part oxygen, part nitrogen, and part other gases. Due to the nitrogen in the compressed air, divers need to be wary of nitrogen narcosis. This occurs when divers dive down to deep waters, and the effect is similar to being drunk. Should a diver experience this, the effects can go away by swimming back up to shallow waters. Another, even more serious effect of nitrogen is Caisson’s Disease, which is decompression sickness. This is caused by diving too deep too fast. Nitrogen will form bubbles in the diver’s body, which will become a problem once the diver returns to the surface. This is very serious and can lead to death.
Scuba diving is popular simply because the underwater world is too attractive to pass up on. However, as attractive as scuba diving is, safety is imperative. Divers should never go diving on their own. Also, never attempt to go scuba diving without proper training. Scuba diving certification is required by law, and it will teach every diver about the risks associated with scuba diving. The first step to scuba diving is researching good diving schools. Many popular scuba diving destinations, such as Puerto Galera
and Sharm El Sheik, have diving schools onsite.
Scuba diving allows you to explore parts under the sea that many people will never get to experience. As exhilarating as this experience is, it can be downright dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. This is why scuba diving certification is required for all divers.
Divers should never attempt to scuba dive without certification. Many dive shops will not fill tanks and sell and rent equipment to any uncertified divers. There aren’t many requirements for taking a scuba diving course, so almost anyone in good physical health could do it.
During the certification course, you will be required to swim 200 yards. This can be done in any swimming style, and there is no time limit. With any method you would like, you will have to prove you are capable of floating on water for at least 10 minutes. The age requirement for a scuba diving certificate varies on the agency, but it is typically between 10-15 for a junior certification, which can be upgraded later on as the diver gets older.
The training itself typically consists of book work, written exams, pool training, and open water dives. The book work and written exam portion of the course can be completed both online and offline. You will have some form of study materials, usually a textbook or DVD, to assist you in the course.
Once the written portion of the course is over, divers will start training in a pool. This part practices basic scuba skills, including how to properly wear equipment and basic safety information. Once the pool portion of the course is completed, you will be required to complete a few open water dives, typically between 3-5, with an instructor. This is where you use all of the information learned throughout the course and receive your scuba diving certification card, which is your c-card.
PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, is the world’s leading scuba diving training organization. There are over 64,000 PADI dive centers, and over 25 million PADI certifications issued around the world. Most places you travel too will offer PADI diving courses. PADI’s diver education is focused on progressive training that introduces safety-related information, local environmental information, and skills to students in different stages. PADI has a philosophy that believes the dive lifestyle requires four elements; education, experience, equipment, and environmental conservation. PADI dive centers offer courses, dive tours, equipment purchasing and rental, and education on protecting the aquatic ecosystem.
NAUI, the National Association of Underwater Instructors, has a global reputation for being the best in both training and educational products. This reflects their core values of quality dive training through education. Many different organizations specifically choose NAUI for their diver education programs, including Walt Disney World Orlando and the United States Navy SEAL teams. NAUI is focused on the principles of self-governance and commitment for excellence. They have six fundamental values; superior leadership, democratic association of equals, trust and respect, academic freedom, dynamic growing body of knowledge and skills, and ever-improving leadership and instructor training. NAUI members and instructors are committed to preserving and conserving the underwater environment. Their training features education on the aquatic world and keeping it flourishing.
SSI, Scuba Schools International, provides training and certification for divers, dive instructors, resorts, and dive centers across the globe. There are over 2,800 locations in more than 110 countries. They offer seven different certification programs, all of which meet international standards.
There are many different dive certifications available, suitable for different skill levels and areas of interest. Choosing which dive certification is best for you all boils down to your individual needs. Here are some of the most popular dive certifications;
- Open Water Diver (PADI Certification)This is the most popular and widely recognized scuba diving certification in the world. It is the perfect course for anyone looking to learn to scuba dive. Most agencies only require that you be in good physical health and know how to swim to get an open water diver certification. No scuba diving experience should be required. This course consists of three main phases, knowledge development, confined water dives, and open water dives. Knowledge development is the textbook portion of the course, where most of it is completed either online or in a classroom. The confined water dive portion is where you actually learn basic scuba skills hands-on, and the open water dive portion is where you get to go on an actual scuba dive and use all of your new skills.
- Advanced Open Water Diver (PADI Certification)The advanced open water diver certification course, which can be taken as soon as you complete the open water diver course, is designed to advance your diving skills. It is designed to help divers build confidence while expanding scuba skills with different adventure dives. This course consists of five dives, three of which you get to choose. The two that are required are deep adventure dives and underwater navigation dives. The deep adventure dive teaches you how to deal with the physiological effects and challenges of deep water diving. The underwater navigation dive enhances your compass navigation skills while teaching you to navigate using time, visual landmarks, and kick-cycles. The other three dives that you choose from depend on your personal interest and skill levels.
- Rescue Diver (PADI Certification)The Rescue Diver certification course is described as one of the most challenging, but most rewarding diving courses available. It not only teaches you to be a more confident diver but also teaches you how to prevent and manage problems in the water. The course teaches you how to deal with both minor and major dive emergencies. It features both knowledge development and rescue exercise portions. Some of the topics taught include self-rescue, recognizing and managing stress in other divers, emergency management, and rescuing panicked and unresponsive divers.
- Master Scuba Diver (PADI Certification)Fewer than two percent of divers have earned a master scuba diver certification. Divers who have earned this rating earned it through significant experience and scuba training. There is a long path to becoming a master scuba diving, and it begins with an open water diver certification. From there, the advanced open water certification and rescue diver certification is required. On top of that, master scuba divers must have earned five specialty diver certifications, and logged at least 50 dives.
The price of scuba diving certification varies. It depends on the location of the dive shop, the certification agency used, and what is included in the course. Some dive shops will charge for each portion of certification separately, so keep this in mind before deciding on a dive shop. Many dive shop training courses cost somewhere between $200-$400.
Another thing to remember is that you will need scuba diving equipment. This can be bought or rented. If you plan on scuba diving fairly regularly, it is more cost efficient to buy equipment one time rather than renting everytime you go scuba diving.
Becoming scuba certified is one of the best things anyone who enjoys outdoor activities can do. There is just something special about being able to explore the underwater world. If you are planning to go scuba diving soon, check out our travel blog
. Here, you will find the best articles on scuba diving, along with articles about various travel locations worth scuba diving at. You can also contact me here directly with any questions you may have.
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