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Swimming with dolphins. Seeing shipwrecks up close. The ocean becomes your oyster when you become a scuba diver.

I’m a big advocate for having hobbies. Not only does it keep you sane, but it also allows you to make new like minded friends, release stress, and explore new aspects of yourself.  I think scuba diving is one of those hobbies that changes your life forever. So if you’re interested in getting your Open Water scuba diving certification, here are a few things you should know.

Table of Contents

What Does SCUBA Stand For?

Lots of people are shocked to know that Scuba was originally an acronym.  SCUBA stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. It was originally coined by Dr. Christian Lambersten in 1965.

Dr. Lambersten was a US Army and OSS officer who also studied respiratory physiology at medical school. Dr.Lamberstenbuild built a closed  cicruit breathing device for the U.S Military Office of Strategic Services and was nicknamed, “The Father of U.S. Combat Swimming”. His invention lead the way for  the Navy SEALs and the Army Green Berets.

What are the Prerequisites to be able to Become Scuba Diving Certified?

Here are the prerequisites needed to become scuba diving certified:

  1. You must be at least 10 years old.
  2. You must be able to swim.
  3. You must be in good physical health.
    1. Scuba divers with disabilites are still able to scuba dive! Just choose a diving school that has experience with your needs and enjoy the water!
  4. You must be able to pass a knowledge test.
  5. You must pass a few confined water dives (usually in a pool).
  6. You must pass some tests in open water (the ocean, lake, river, etc).

Which Dive Certification is Best?

There are three main dive certification training programs. These are PADI, SSI, and NAUI. When going for your Open Water certification, all three will provide you with basic scuba diving fundamentals. And each recognzie each other’s certfication so there’s no problem going to a SSI dive shop with a PADI Open Water certifcation. In the beginning, it’s most important to choose a dive shop with good reviews and great teachers as teachers can make or break your relationship with scuba diving.

Scuba Diving Certification chart shows the different certification levels from PADI, SSI, and NAUI training agencies

Can You Scuba Dive without Being Certified?

Yes! Scuba diving courses can run from $500 to more so if you’re not sure, try a Discover Scuba Diving activity while on vacation. As long as you;re under supervison of a certified instructor with experience, you are able to try it out. Under no circumstances should you scuba dive with someone who isn’t a certified instructor WITH experience. Although scuba diving is pretty safe, it’s important to scuba dive with someone who knows proper safety techniques and protocols.  Don’t play with your life.

Which Country Should You Get your Scuba Certification?

If there’s a body of water nearby, there’s probably a dive shop. You can learn to dive in lakes, the ocean, a lagoon, or even a river. You can dive in warm water or cold water. My suggestion is to learn to dive in your ideal diving conditions. If you plan on mostly diving in cold frigid water, it will be best to learn in those conditions. If you plan on frequently  diving in a lake with low visibility,  then you should learn somewhere with low visbility. That way, you will feel more comfortable and  If you prefer tropical water, I suggest learning the basics at your local dive shop or traveling to Roatan, Belize, Bahamas,  Florida, or any tropical island with calm waters.

What Scuba Diving Equipment Should you Purchase First?

It’s so tempting to buy scuba diving equipment. I mean, who doesn’t want pink bunny ears? But no, I wouldn’t suggest buying scuba diving equipment before getting certified.

Finding good equipment is very personal. A mask that everyone loves, might not be the best for your head shape. I bought the wrong mask and it caused my mask to flood on every dive. That can completely ruin a trip for a new diver. The BCD that your friend raves about, may cause you to have back pain due to chest size or just plain old personal preference.

Most dive shops have scuba diving gear for rent. I suggest getting comfortable in the water first and buying gear later. After certification, I recommend buying your own snorkel, dive watch, and wetsuit or skins.

Can I Wear Glasses While Scuba Diving?

Yes, you can wear contact lenses or use a prescription diving mask. Prescription diving masks may take a few weeks to get so try and order these in advance. And also, make sure that the mask you purchases can be used with a prescription. Ask your manufacturer before purchasing.

Will Sharks be There?

shark swimming in the oceanWell sharks live in the ocean so there may be a possibility that you will see a shark. Shark sightings are largely dependent on location.  Shark attacks are very low, and may be provoked or unprovoked.

There are 500+ species of sharks but only 30 have been known to have killed humans. Globally, about 5 people are killed a year by sharks. Making it more common for someone to be killed by a bee sting, than a shark. Humans kill 100 million sharks a year according to the international Fund for Animal Welfare.

Where do I Use the Bathroom while Scuba Diving?

Most everyday scuba diving boats do not have bathrooms. It’s perfectly normal to pee in the ocean. I’ve seen people hop in the water with no scuba gear, take off their bottoms, and pee. If scuba diving, just pee in your wetsuit. Make sure to clean it really good afterwards or it’s going to smell.

There’s only types of people in this world. Those who pee in their wetsuite and those who lies about not peeing in their wetsuit.

Is Scuba Diving Safe?

Scuab diving is classified as an extreme sport but it is much safer than other extreme sports such as base jumping, ice climbing, and hand gliding. Most scuba diving injuries and death can be traced back to dive error so it very important to follow the rules of diving and obtrain proper training.

The Divers Alert Network (DAN)  tracks all diving fatalities. Click here to view their latest annual diving report.

yellow scuba fins resting on a scuba air tank

I hope we’ve answered most of your scuba diving questions. Check out our blog posts for more!

Majestic Manta rays swimming in ocean. A snorkeler is resting on the surface

“She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight.” 

Janet Fitch

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