Are you a scuba diving beginner? Not sure if you’re going to enjoy the experience of scuba diving? Got lots of questions and not sure whom to ask? Here are the questions we get asked the most by scuba diving beginners:
Do I need to know how to swim to go scuba diving?
If you are doing a Try Dive, you don’t need to know how to swim. However, if you are planning to do a PADI or SSI course, you will need to pass a swimming test to get your certification, so you will need to know how to swim. You’ll have to swim for 200 metres, and float for 10 minutes in open water.
What if I’m scared of the water?
If you are uncomfortable or scared of water, it might be best to try smaller steps first. When you go scuba diving, you’re breathing and moving underwater, and have a limited range of motion and vision. This can be overwhelming for scuba diving beginners who are already anxious.
You could try taking swimming classes so that you feel more confident in the water. You could also try a snorkelling trip instead. Snorkelling allows you to see the underwater world from the surface of the water, where you might feel more comfortable. If you’re okay doing that, you can move to a Try Dive, which gives you a short taste of scuba diving.
Do I need any special gear?
No, scuba diving beginners don’t have to worry about any gear. Your operator will provide everything you need for your trip. Carry your sunscreen, wear flipflops or sandals (you’ll be leaving them on the boat when you go diving), a light tee or top to wear on the boat between dives, sunglasses, and a bottle of water. If your scuba diving trip includes free photographs or videos, you might need a pen drive or memory card to take them back home.
Check out this article to know what kind of gear you’ll be using for your scuba diving experience.
What do I wear under the scuba suit?
Depending on the season, the location of your dive, and the operator, you might get a knee-length wetsuit (also known as a shorty) or a full-length wetsuit. It is skin-tight and thick, and will protect you from the cold, from sunburn, and from small scratches or abrasions from sharp coral edges.
You’ll wear a swimsuit/bikini/swimming trunks under the wetsuit. Do make sure the swimwear you choose is comfortable, not too restrictive (you’ll be wearing it under the wetsuit, so you won’t be able to get to it to adjust any twisted elastic or underwire) and doesn’t have any embellishments (sequins, buckles, stones, etc will be pressing into your flesh once you strap on your scuba gear).
If you have long hair, tie it back with an elastic band so it isn’t floating into your mask or obscuring your vision.
Where do I put the scuba suit on?
Usually you’ll put your wetsuit on at the dive centre, before you set off to the boat. Sometimes you’ll put it on in the boat before the dive. If you have multiple dives in a day, between dives, you’ll unzip the top of the suit and pull the arms and top down. Most divers don’t remove the entire wetsuit between dives.
Is there anything I need to do to prepare for scuba diving?
No, scuba diving beginners don’t have to do anything before they go diving. However, if you do yoga or breathing exercises, it helps because you learn to breathe through your mouth and control your breathing. The most important thing to remember when you go scuba diving is to stay calm and breathe in a slow, measured fashion.
Where should I go scuba diving?
Some of the best scuba diving in India takes place in the Andaman Islands. However, Goa and Pondicherry have good scuba spots, and Murdeshwar (on the Konkan coast) is fast becoming popular.
In the international circuit, Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines have gorgeous scuba diving spots that are not too hard for an Indian traveller to get to. All these destinations have dive sites that are suitable for scuba diving beginners.
What is the right age to go scuba diving?
Anyone over 10 years may take lessons in scuba diving. Divers between 10-15 years can be certified as Junior Open Water Divers. Check with the operator if you are travelling with children, because age restrictions might differ.
There is no real cap or age limit for older divers, but you will need to be in good physical and mental condition to dive. Divers over 50 years are classified as older divers, but there are plenty of divers who enjoy dives into their 60s and 70s.
What health conditions will prevent me from going scuba diving?
If you have a cold (runny nose, blocked sinuses, fever), you should not go swimming. Apart from that, anyone who has had recent surgeries, active asthma, cardiac or respiratory conditions, spinal injuries or problems, or neck or shoulder stiffness should not go diving. If you are pregnant or suspect you might be, you should not go diving.
Everyone, not just scuba diving beginners, will be expected to fill in a comprehensive medical questionnaire declaring all medical conditions and current health status before the dive.
Can I pee in the scuba suit?
There’s a joke in the scuba community that might answer this question better. There are two types of divers: those who pee in their wetsuit, and those who lie about it. Here’s the truth, for every puzzled scuba diving beginner out there: It isn’t considered good etiquette to pee in a rental wetsuit, but if you have to go, you have to go.
You shouldn’t dive without being properly hydrated, and should sip on water between dives. That means sometimes you’ll want to go when you’re in the water. It’s not worth holding it and being distracted by the urge to pee during your dive. Holding your pee can also lead to urinary tract infections for women, and you certainly don’t want that.
However, do note that peeing in your wetsuit can be yucky. A wetsuit is designed to hold some water in against your skin so that it is warmed with the heat of your body. That means if you pee in your suit, you’ll be floating in your own urine for a while until it flushes out. If you do pee in your suit, pull the chest of your wetsuit away from your body a few times so water can enter and exit.
To avoid the whole debate, just go to the toilet if you can, before you set out on your dive. On returning to the dive centre, you’ll rinse out your dive suit in fresh water and hang it out to dry.
Should I eat before scuba diving?
Don’t dive on an empty stomach, but avoid eating a heavy breakfast before your dive. Avoid experimenting with your breakfast on the day of your dive – you really don’t want an upset stomach on dive day! Stick to toast or a bowl of oatmeal, fruit, and a single cup of tea or coffee. If you’re doing multiple dives, most operators will have coffee, fruit, and biscuits on the boat.
Should I do a scuba course or a Try Dive?
A Try Dive is a short taste of scuba diving, meant to help you decide if you like it enough to pursue a course. It’s suitable for those who want to cross scuba off their list, those who don’t know how to swim and want to experience scuba diving, or for scuba diving beginners who don’t know if they will be comfortable during scuba diving and want to check that out before signing up for a course.
However, a scuba diving course opens up a whole world of experiences that a Try Dive can’t. You will learn more about the equipment and skills required to dive to 40 feet, and will spend more time underwater with a course. Technically a Try Diver can go to 40 feet, but you usually won’t be comfortable enough in a single dive, so you’ll remain between 16-40 feet.
What does it feel like to breathe underwater?
Scuba diving is a brilliant experience, and one that you will definitely want to repeat. You’ll feel safe and prepared, because you’ll be trained fully before you enter the water, and will always have an instructor and buddy with you.
When you go scuba diving, you’ll be breathing through your mouth. It might take a few minutes to get used to it, but scuba diving beginners who are used to doing breathing exercises or yoga, or have been snorkelling before will find it easier. However, it’s not difficult to learn, and before you know it, it’ll come naturally. Many first-time scuba divers take to it immediately and easily.
- Scuba diving in the Andamans (and other adventures too!)
- Three great Andamans options for scuba beginners
- Scuba 101: Understanding scuba gear
If you have a question about scuba diving, feel free to get in touch. You can chat with us on our website or message us on Facebook or Instagram. Remember, when you’re planning your next adventure outing, there are no stupid questions. We’re India’s most talkative adventure advisors, and we’re here to answer all your questions, big and small.
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