Scuba diving offers a window into a whole new world, appealing to our primal sense of fun and adventure. However, the necessary precautions are not to be taken lightly and, whilst scuba diving without certification may sound like a thrifty and time-saving plan, you should proceed with caution…
Scuba diving is a challenging sport, and its increasing popularity is no surprise given that the list of reasons to have a go at it is practically endless! It’s sociable, exciting, eye-opening, and even represents a fun approach to exercise.
It’s well known that over 70% of our planet is covered by water, so, in order to satisfy our urge to explore and see as much as we can of the weird and wonderful wildlife that Earth has to offer, we need to take a dip.
While snorkeling is fun, your range is limited by how long you can hold your breath. In order to explore underwater realms freely, specialist breathing equipment is required. Scuba diving equipment can often be rented for as little as $40 per day – as hobbies go, it’s relatively inexpensive.
The chance to explore an alien world of bizarre marine creatures, which most of us land-dwellers never get to see, is a hard one to turn down. Diving provides endless opportunities to witness truly unique spectacles, experience a weightless, flight-like sensation, and meet lots of other like-minded adventurers.
Now, as fun as all of this may sound, diving is an activity which must be treated with respect. After all, the sea is not our domain, and it’s full of potential hazards. Let’s take a look at exactly why amateur divers shouldn’t take to the seas without a bit of professional help…
Contrary to what some people assume, man-eating creatures are pretty close to the bottom of the list of things that divers should be concerned about. The most common scuba diving accident type is drowning as a result of a triggering event.
One potential triggering event when scuba diving is decompression sickness (AKA ‘the bends’), which is extremely painful and can cause permanent or fatal injury. This is generally caused by the diver ascending too rapidly and not allowing the body to acclimatize to surface pressure levels.
The misuse of equipment, such as a delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB), can result in unwanted rapid ascents, or in the diver becoming tangled. Misuse of equipment is a common factor seen in many scuba diving accident cases.
Not understanding the area in which you’re diving is another serious risk factor. Underwater currents and jagged corals can easily result in serious accidents. Additionally, nitrogen narcosis causes feelings of drunkenness at deeper depths and can impair your judgment when you need it most.
But don’t be put off – these dangers can be easily avoided by following proper protocols and understanding how to use scuba diving gear safely. The best way to ensure that you’re doing everything safely is to dive with a certified instructor.
Certification is usually provided by PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors), and their certification is recognised worldwide as being indicative of extremely high levels of professionalism and safety.
When choosing an instructor, look for their PADI qualification, and you can check the credentials of any professional scuba diving instructor on the PADI website.
Alternatively, you may wish to become certified yourself. If you decide to take this route, ensure that the courses you take are accredited and respected, such as those offered by PADI.
There are plenty of advantages to being certified, not least that you can become an instructor yourself and make a career out of your hobby whilst introducing other adventurers to underwater worlds.
Additionally, certified divers are in a particularly good position to help with ocean preservation efforts, so if the wellbeing of the sea and its creatures is a passion of yours, becoming a certified diver is a great place to start.
According to TY an award winning Maui Scuba Instructor, scuba diving is a fantastic hobby to have, but it’s also dangerous, especially to the inexperienced, so always dive with a certified scuba diver, follow their advice, and take all of the necessary precautions. Have fun – but please do so safely!