What is Scuba Diving?

scuba diving

Scuba diving is a unique water sport. People will wear equipment, including an oxygen tank and a breathing tube called a regulator, and they will dive underwater in oceans, lakes, rivers, etc. Scuba diving is not a highly competitive sport. The point of scuba diving is more exploration and for the purpose of seeing nature. Scuba diving is used to recover items that have fallen into bodies of water, to photograph and take video of sea life, to explore caves and underwater mysteries, and more. Scuba diving is not easy but it can be one of the most satisfying activities to pick up.


Scuba Diving History

Diving has existed around for thousands of years. The concept of “snorkeling” has been around since the ancient Greeks where people would put hollow plant stems in their mouth and let the other end float to the surface, allowing them to breathe. Freediving has also been around for a very very long time. In the early 1800s British inventors created a system where divers could breathe from a barrel of oxygen through a tube. In 1942 the modern day regulator was invented by Emile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau, leading to modern day scuba diving. The equipment has evolved and now is made so that anyone can scuba dive.

Playing Surface

Scuba Diving Playing Surface

Scuba diving’s playing surface is pretty much anywhere under the water. You can scuba dive in oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and even caves and pools if they’re deep enough. At aquariums they use scuba divers to feed the fish and clean the tanks sometimes, so even a fish tank can be a playing surface if it’s big enough. Generally the shallowest dives that aren’t in a pool or tank are about 10 to 30 feet deep. The deepest dive ever was 35,853 feet.


Scuba Diving Equipment List

Scuba diving is all about equipment. The equipment you wear in scuba diving keeps you alive underwater. Buying good equipment will be expensive but in the long run is worth it. If you buy all of your equipment you can easily spend $10,000 to $50,000 total. However, you can rent a lot of this equipment per dive. There are tons of extra pieces of equipment but these are the basics.

  • Oxygen Tank: Holds oxygen
  • Regulator: Brings oxygen from the tank to your mouth
  • BCD: An inflatable vest that controls your depth
  • Mask: Helps you see underwater
  • Fins: Help you move underwater and swim
  • Wetsuit: Keeps you warm underwater
  • Depth Gauge: This tells you how deep you are
  • Pressure gauge: Shows how much oxygen is in your tank
  • Octopus/Secondary Regulator: In case you or someone else needs emergency oxygen
  • Dive computer: Tells you information like time, depth and GPS


Scuba Diving Gameplay

Scuba diving is different from other sports in that there is no set gameplay. Every single dive is unique. However, there are some trends and types of dives. 

Open Water Diving: The most common type of diving. Usually off of a boat. Very free. Mostly for fun and to explore ocean/sea life.

Rescue Diving: Only for professional divers. This is to save people who might be drowning or to recover dead bodies/other things from underwater. Mostly used by police or the military.

Technical Diving: Diving that surpasses 130ft below the water. Only for experts and professionals.

Wreck Diving: One of the most fun kinds of diving. Allows you to explore a shipwreck underwater.

Cave Diving: Diving through caves and exploring small areas that are inaccessible above water.

Shore Diving: Unlike open water diving where you dive from a boat in shore diving you walk into the water from the shore and leave on the shore.

The Buddy System

Scuba Diving Buddy System

For most people, the most important thing they need to know when diving is the buddy system. The buddy system is essential for safety. The purpose of a buddy is that you have someone to check in on you in case anything goes wrong. Firstly, you should always be able to see your buddy. That way, you will not be left alone under the water. Secondly, if there’s an emergency like your regulator breaking or running out of oxygen your buddy is the person who will give you a secondary regulator and help you.

Regulations and Certifications

Diving is one of the unique sports that requires a license before you participate. The most basic one you can get is your open water diving certification. The most well known certification company is PADI. For the most part if you go to a dive shop, make sure the shop is PADI certified and make sure you’re getting in contact with the shop a few weeks before you plan on going to dive. That is because the first thing they will do is send you a long PADI manual that you will have to read and learn.

From there, you will do some training exercises, most likely in a pool, to practice emergency situations and how to use your equipment. You will need to demonstrate some basic skills like removing water from your mask and finding your regulator if it accidentally gets knocked out. Finally you will need to go on two dives with your training instructor where you will also have to complete some skills like you did in the pool. When you finish all of that you will have finished. The instructor will submit your results to PADI and they will mail you an ID card.

Dive Masters

Scuba Diving Dive Masters

If you’re a beginner diver then it is really important to find a diving shop with good dive masters. Dive masters are people who have been diving for a really long time and are trained to supervise scuba diving trips for you and for other people. Dive masters have their own PADI Certification course and they are qualified to give your tests and tell PADI that you can receive your certification. Dive masters usually will take care of your gear, setting it up for you. They will know the dive sight and will keep you safe while also showing you the interesting nature around you.

Lingo and Terminology

Scuba Diving Lingo and Terminology

Scuba lingo is interesting because there are two kinds. First of all there is regular spoken lingo. Secondly, there are hand signals. Underwater you obviously can’t speak so there are diving hand signals that every diver has to learn to communicate with other divers.

Ascent: Going towards the surface

Descent: Going away from the surface

Backroll: Entering the water off of a boat by falling backwards

DCS: Decompression sickness or “the bends”

Entry: Getting into the water

No fly: The period after diving where you cannot fly in an airplane

Hand Signals

Ascent or Going Up: A fist with the thumb pointing upwards. THIS IS NOT A THUMBS UP. In diving this does not mean “okay” or “good” like it normally does.

Descent or Going Down: A fist with the thumb pointing down. THIS IS NOT A THUMBS DOWN. In diving this does not mean “bad” like it normally does.

Out of Air Emergency: This signal is for emergencies if you’re out of air. By taking your hand and cutting in front of your throat you can let people know you’re out of air so they can come and give you emergency air.

Life Threatening Emergency: Waving one arm above the head repeatedly. The

“Something is Wrong”: Sticking your hand out flat and shaking it side to side means something is wrong. You usually accompany this by pointing at what is wrong. If it’s your ears you do the hand signal and point at your ears. This hand signal is only for when something is wrong but your life is not in immediate danger.

“Everything is Okay”: Thumb and index finger making a circle with the other three fingers pointed out. This is the most used hand signal. If you’re diving with a divemaster they’ll most likely flash this at you periodically. If something is wrong you do the “something is wrong” sign. But if everything’s okay you use this.

Skills and Techniques

Scuba Diving Skills and Techniques

There are tons of skills and techniques in scuba diving. There is a reason that the PADI beginners handbook is a few hundred pages long. However there are a few basic skills that are important to learn. 

Calm Down: This is the most important thing you can learn. In any situation, relaxing and slowing your breathing will help. Diving is one of the less physically demanding sports. As a beginner you barely even have to kick or swim. If you learn to relax and take slow breaths you will enjoy the dive more. Not only that but the dive will last longer because you won’t be breathing as much air.

Pause: Unlike in other sports where you don’t have time to think in scuba diving, stopping to think might just save your life. When you first get your equipment, pause and make sure you have everything. Before you dive, pause and test all of your equipment. When something feels wrong pause before making sure you can identify the problem. When you’re surfing, pause and make sure there are no boat propellers above you. Make sure you are surfacing safely.

Communicate: Communication is key in scuba diving. Whether you’re just with a buddy or diving in a big group with a divemaster make sure that you’re communicating. Even if nothing is wrong, flash the “okay” signal at your buddy and wait to make sure that they give it back to you.

Slow Ascent and the Safety Stop: An incredibly important part of scuba diving is the slow ascent. This ensures that you don’t change pressure too quickly. If you do it can create air bubbles in your blood, also known as the bends. At its worst this can be fatal. Most divers will do a three minute safety stop. This means that while you ascend you stop at a certain point, usually about 15 feet below the surface. This stop lets the air get out of your blood and let’s you adjust before you make the final ascent to the surface.

Scuba Diving Brands

Scuba Diving Brands

Since scuba diving is such an equipment intensive sport it’s only natural that there are lots of different scuba diving brands.

Johnson Outdoors/ScubaproTechnologically heavy
Oceanic All equipment
BauerAir compressors, oxygen tanks
Sherwood ScubaAll equipment

Scuba Divers

scuba divers

Scuba divers are not the same as athletes of most other sports. They do not compete against each other and most of them are not famous. The most well known scuba divers dive for photography or to conduct experiments or for other purposes like that. Divers who have advanced the field or have done an extraordinary amount of dives are the ones that are well known.

Jacques Cousteau “Father of Scuba Diving”
Jean Michel CousteuEnvironmentalist and early diver
Sylvia EarleNational Geographic Scientist
John CroninFounder of PADI
Mel Fisher “World’s Greatest Treasure Hunter”

Scuba Diving Events

Scuba Diving Events

There aren’t scuba diving events as there are events for other sports. However, there are other types of events like expos that people can go to to learn about innovations in scuba diving, to buy new and improved gear and to meet experts. Additionally there are group dives all the time from local dive shops to bigger groups. This is including the biggest group dive ever, which occured in 2009 in Indonesia when 2,486 divers all dove together.

Scuba Diving Books

Scuba Diving Books
Shadow DiversRobert Kurson
The Last DiveBernie Chowdhury
ManfishJennifer Berne
Scuba Diving SafetyDan Orr

Scuba Diving Websites

Scuba Diving Websites
PADIBeginner diving and education
Scuba Diving.comBasics and education


What is Scuba Diving?

Scuba diving is a hobby and sport that involves using an oxygen tank to breathe underwater for a period of time while swimming around.

Is scuba diving hard?

Scuba diving itself can be pretty easy. Learning to dive is a little more complicated and there are a few things to remember when diving safely. If you dive with a divemaster though it ends up being pretty easy.

What is the purpose of scuba diving?

Scuba diving can have many purposes. The most popular purpose of scuba diving is to observe nature. Other purposes include rescue diving, technical diving and scientific diving.

What do you need to scuba dive?

You need quite a few things to dive. First you need a license. The most popular licensing company is PADI but there are other options. In terms of equipment you need quite a bit but the basics are a mask, a regulator, an oxygen tank and a BCD.