Overview of Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is an exciting activity and hobby in which divers enter deep water with an oxygen tank for a period of time. The primary purpose of scuba diving is to observe underwater nature in its most natural state. Scuba diving can also include diving for scientific purposes, rescue diving, and cleaning the world's oceans. To go scuba diving, you need to become what's called "scuba certified" through a scuba diving certification company. The most popular company is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
Roots for diving started in the 1930s when divers were predominantly male and in the military. They would go underwater with a snorkel made from garden hoses and handmade spears. These divers began diving in southern California and along the French Mediterranean coast. The goggles that were used were also handmade. The primary reason why people went scuba diving was to go hunting.
Scuba diving is an activity that does not have a specific location. People can go scuba diving at your local beach, lake, or even pool. You can go scuba diving worldwide, with some water conditions able to bring out the most of reefs and marine life. What makes scuba diving special is that there aren't specific rules. You have the freedom to do whatever you want once you are underwater.
Scuba Diving Equipment
Scuba Diving is essential for having a proper diving experience. There are many things you need before diving. You need an oxygen tank to breathe underwater that attaches to what's called a Buoyancy Control Device (BCD). This piece of equipment controls how buoyant you are underwater. There are pockets in the BCD that are meant for weights to be placed inside. Those weights, along with the oxygen tank, help divers descend underwater. A Dive Computers show the diver how much oxygen is left in their tank. Oxygen depletes at each individual person's breathing rate. Also attached to the BCD are two regulators. These are shaped like a mouthguard, and they provide divers with oxygen. They work by simply breathing normally into the regulator. Fins are important because they protect your feet, as well as helping propel you through underwater currents. Wetsuits are optional, but they help keep your body warm in colder waters.
Here is the essential scuba diving equipment you should have:
- Dive Computer
- Oxygen Tank
All forms of scuba diving require the same steps in terms of getting in and out of the water. When descending downwards, divers have to deflate their BCD to their liking so they will descend. Once underwater, breathe normally as if you are not even scuba diving. That is the best way to remain calm. When going deeper into the ocean, beginners should go down slowly, one or two feet at a time. This same process should be repeated when returning to the surface. The objective of scuba diving is to remain as safe as possible.
Rules and Regulations
While descending, pressure can build in one's ears. A way to solve that problem is by equalizing constantly. This is done by squeezing your nose and blowing gently. One of the most important rules when diving is to never hold your breath. In other words, you should never stop breathing. While underneath the water, you have a limited time until you run out of oxygen in your tank. You should monitor how much oxygen you have left in your tank every few minutes. Lastly, when ascending, you must ascend slowly and make your safety stop. A safety stop is between 3 and 6 meters below the surface of the water. You should wait three minutes so excess nitrogen can escape your body.
Here are the most important scuba diving rules you should know:
- Equalize when descending
- Never hold your breath
- Always keep track of how oxygen is left in the tank
- Make your safety stop
These strategies are before you even enter the water. If you are diving off of a boat, it is key to jump away from the boat. That ensures that the diver will not injure themselves before their journey begins. Dives exert a lot of energy out of a human. You are swimming non-stop for a long period of time. It's important to get plenty of rest before you go on a dive. Finally, it's essential that divers are well hydrated before their dive because dives can last an hour long.
Here are the most important scuba diving strategies you should know:
- Proper entry into the water
- Be Well Rested
Here is the common lingo and slang in scuba diving:
- BC/BCD: Stands for buoyancy control device.
- Backward roll entry: A way of entering the water in scuba gear. You sit on the boat's side and then roll backwards while holding onto the mask tightly.
- Buddy: Your dive partner for your trip. Diver's should always be diving with a buddy.
- Deep Diving: Diving deeper than 60 feet (18 meters).
- Depth Gauge: A device that tells the diver how deep they are underwater.
- Purge Valve: A valve to clear out water or gas in a regulator.
Many people relate to the history of scuba divers who are known for transforming the activity into a mainstream hobby. Jean Michel Cousteau, son of Jacques Cousteau, was listed as the first certified scuba diver in history. There are also divers that have their own TV series, such as "Sea Hunt" with Lloyd Bridges. It aired in 1957, and it introduced scuba diving to the world.
Here are the most famous scuba diving players you should know:
- Jean Michel Cousteau
- Lloyd Bridges
- Albert Tillman
- Neal Hess
As popularity for scuba diving has increased over the years, the number of events has also increased. Dive Shows are a great way for divers from all over the world to come together.
Here are the most popular events in scuba diving:
- Paris International Dive Show:
- Moscow Dive Show:
- Beneath the Sea:
Do you need to become certified to scuba dive?
Yes! You need to take scuba lessons where you learn the basics such as diving procedures, underwater signals, and what scuba gear is best for you. Then you will do multiple practice dives before becoming properly certified. Those dives can be in a pool or a lake to practice underwater protocols.
What is the minimum age to scuba dive?
The minimum age to dive is 10 years old, but those younger than 15 can only become Junior Open Water Diver Certified. At 15, they can become Open Water Diver Certified.
What level of a swimmer do you need to be to scuba dive?
You need to have basic swimming skills, and be able to maintain yourself when underwater comfortably. During your certification process, you will need to tread water for 10 minutes as well as swim 200 yards (300 meters) with fins and a snorkel.
How deep can you go while scuba diving?
It depends on what level of diver you are. For example, the limit for beginners is about 60 feet (18 meters). The limit for recreational diving is 130 feet (40 meters).