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A beginner’s guide to diving, part 1
Juha - 4/03/2013 7:43 AM
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A beginner’s guide to diving, part 1Introduction
This article is to those of you who are not divers yet. Don’t worry: since you’re reading this, you probably want to be, and you’ll see there’s no reason you couldn’t be. Reading this article could well be your first step to a whole new exhilarating life of adventures underwater.

There’s no getting round the fact that diving is cool. Mention to your mates that you are a diver, and you immediately get their attention and admiration. Many people consider diving an extreme sport that is exclusive to only a few of the brave and strong. Of course, this is not really the case. Anyone can dive, anyone can be a diver. There are very few physical disabilities that would really prevent you from becoming a scuba diver.

Getting started
The easiest way to get started with this exhilarating activity is to google a dive centre that is nearest to you. It’s that simple. Once you’ve studied your options and found a dive centre that you’re happy with, you’re ready to sign up for dive lessons.

You’d probably start with a PADI open water diver or CMAS Scuba Diver certification. They are both similar entry level certifications that give you basic qualification to dive. From either of these courses you’ll get pretty much all you need for a lifetime of enjoyable diving. Once you complete your diving course, you’ll be qualified to dive to about 16-20 meters. That’s pretty much deep enough for most divers. You’ll find plenty of amazing dive sites at that depth. I personally went with PADI training, simply because there was a PADI centre around the corner from where I live. I don’t have personal experience from CMAS, so to be honest I can’t really say if either of them is better than the other.

People often assume that diving is an expensive sport. Nonsense! Doesn’t have to be. I spent more money on my daughter’s basket ball hobby than on my diving. Good equipment does of course cost money, but you do not have to buy all of it at once. All of the equipment can be rented. I would advise you to have your own mask, snorkel and fins, because it is important that you have ones that fit well and are comfortable to use. A dive computer is one of the more expensive pieces of equipment that should be right at top of the list of first things to buy. Your dive computer is your own, personal record of your dives, and it is safer to use the same computer on consecutive dives.

Wreck diving
Wreck diving is one of the most exhilarating things in the world. There are literally thousands of wrecks all over the world for divers to explore. Most dive centres will be familiar with wrecks in their area, and will organize trips to them. Here’s a link to my most memorable wreck dive.

Of course, divers will have their bad moments. There will be situations and dives that you just wouldn’t want to experience. That will happen to all active divers. When you’re underwater, even the smallest, trivial problems can cause severe stress and even panic. Panic underwater is one of the most dangerous things that can happen. Here’s an example From my own experience of how things can go wrong underwater.

The most common cause of emergencies while diving is poor judgement. Practically all dive accidents could be avoided with proper planning and use of good common sense. When done properly, scuba diving is a very safe sport.

When you actually start diving and get to go underwater, you have to remember that a coral reef, or any other underwater environment for that matter, is a fragile ecosystem. We, as divers, are not part of it. We are outsiders in that environment. As such, we have to respect the environment and minimize our impact on it. So, as far as possible, you are to touch nothing, disturb nothing, remove nothing. We can only observe and enjoy the experience, and leave the environment as it was for the next diver to enjoy.