Summer break is approaching and what better way is there to beat the heat than venturing the great depths of the sea? Scuba diving can open up a whole new world for you. And for those who have never done it before, starting is easier than it seems.
Generally you will learn with a group of people; either sign up your family and friends or join a random group and make some new friends. Before even touching the water, you and your peers with spend a day or two undergoing some extensive paperwork, watch some informational videos on the sport and tour the shop. You will be introduced to all of the gadgets, apparel and tools of diving. The trainers will show you all the cool things you do and do not need; this will most likely be where you buy your basic gear. Expensive things like your buoyancy control device (BCD; high-tech life preserver) and dive computer (calculates your remaining air and residual nitrogen to safely surface) are commonly rented when you go diving, so do not worry about spending all your money.
It is now time for you and your group to hit the water; probably in the company’s indoor pool. You will learn the basics of diving with a handful of trainers. They provide you with all the necessary gear: – except for the mask, bathing suit, snorkel and fins – BCD, dive computer, compass, tank and respirator; you will look equivalent to Agent 007 in Thunderball. You are exposed to all the main hazards of diving in an enclosed pool with trainers to get a feel for any scary situations you may encounter and trained how to handle them.
You may be able to get certified in a pool too, but most likely you will be required to travel to an actual open water diving site to prove your abilities. You will need to schedule your certification dive after the in-class training. This dive is not necessary a group thing with your trainers and fellow students, but you can still go together if you like. The dive itself is split up into a couple of parts which closely replicates what you learned in the pool: following your compass to find something, buddy dives, rescue breathing, out of air situations and rapid ascent. You do not have to pay too much for a certification dive; it is not anything too fancy and you can usually get a discount from your training center.
After getting your certification you are free to dive. One of the first dives my friend and I did after getting our certification was at a location in Crystal River, Florida. One of the coolest things to do with a certification is wreck diving; at our first dive we encountered an underwater sunken bridge section which was riddle with brilliant collections of fish.
I highly recommend diving mid-to south-Florida for the best experience; Lake Lanier has low visibility underwater. A good dive can be incorporated into a fun family retreat to Florida and will not going to break your vacation funds.
(cover photo courtesy Cozumel Scuba)