The Scuba Beginners’ Guide for Your Next Diving Session
If you’re just getting started on your scuba diving career, you’re going to need to know the most important skills and theories in order to be a competent diver. Down below are some of the best tips we think will help you improve your skills underwater in our Scuba beginners guide.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
The first thing you need to know when you’re underwater is never to hold your breath. That’s a big no-no. In order to avoid holding your breath, what you need to do is just blow a constant stream of bubbles when you don’t have the regulator in your mouth and when you do have the regulator in your mouth, just breathe normally and continuously.
Equalize As Soon As Possible
The second thing in our Scuba beginners guide you need to know is when you’re descending, to equalize early and often. In order to equalize, what you need to do is block your nose and blow gently into your nose and you’ll feel both sides of your Eustachian tubes pop ever so slightly while you’re pushing air into them. Then there are three incredibly important skills that you need to know in order to master scuba diving.
Clear Your Mask
The third skill you need to know is to be able to clear your mask in case you get a little bit of water inside of it; the other reason that you might need to be able to clear your mask is in case your mask starts to fog up, then you can let a little bit of water into your mask, swish it around to clear the mist out, and then clear the mask and continue your dive.
Clear Your Regulator
The Fourth skill in our Scuba beginners guide that you need to know is to be able to clear your regulator. During a dive, your mouth can get a little bit dry. So what you can do is take your regulator out of your mouth, take a little bit of water into your mouth, swish it around to wet your palate, put your regulator back in, and clear your regulator.
Watch Your Buoyancy
The fifth skill you need to have to hand is something you’re going to use on every single dive – the ability to neutralize your buoyancy. You need to be able to neutralize your buoyancy, because at the surface of the water while you have your BCD inflated, you’re going to be positively point and float at the surface.
Then when you release the air out of your BCD, you’ll begin to descend. Once you start descending, what you need to do is to add a little bit of air so that you can neutralize your buoyancy and stay neutrally buoyant, floating just above the reef.
What is Scuba Diving?
Before we go any further in our Scuba beginners guide, we wanted to clarify what Scuba diving is. Scuba diving is a super fun sport where you can go underwater and see things that nobody else does.
The word scuba itself is actually an acronym which stands for the self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. Basically, scuba diving is just about breathing underwater.
Scuba Diving is for Everyone
Scuba diving has now been made so that everybody can try it. PADI themselves have programs starting as early as eight years old. PADI stands for the Professional Association of Dive Instructors and there’s really no limit.
There have even been many developments that allow handicapped people to scuba dive and people who typically have other types of athletic or physical disabilities love scuba diving because once you’re in water, you’re weightless.
It’s very easy to move around and overcome these other challenges which otherwise hinder them on a day to day basis.
Scuba diving also appeals to those who have the taste for the extreme, as well as those who just want to relax and enjoy a day at the spa.
You take a combination of these two events, as well as throw into the fact that you get to see things that you would never see anywhere else in the world and experience and relive the history of places through the marine history and aquatic life really draws everybody.
The Openness of Scuba Diving
People like to go diving in locations where they can be in awe of aquatic life. The type of creatures and organisms that live under water are so vastly different from that that we have here on the surface.
But another attraction, other than just fish and coral, is through visiting shipwrecks. We can tell you there’s nothing quite like it when you’re on the surface and you’re getting ready.
You have your dive leader who tells you about this shipwreck and the circumstances surrounding it sinking and then when you descend down and come upon the ship it’s like the whole story comes to life right before your eyes.
Bonaire is one place that is extremely popular because it’s outside of the hurricane belt. Fiji is one of the best locations in the world for soft coral. For those who like large sea mammals such as whale sharks, they might want to visit the Galapagos Islands.
It’s important that you take the right exposure protection in order to make sure that you yourself are comfortable throughout diving.
If you’re in the water, it’s stripping heat. If you have the right exposure protection, you can be very comfortable for a long time and the same thing can be said about going ice diving in 1-degree water in the wintertime.
If you have the right exposure protection you’re going to be comfortable for a very long period of time.
What Do You Need to Buy to Go Scuba Diving?
If you are new to scuba diving, here’s a quick guide on what to buy. As you might expect, the first thing that you need to buy is your mask. These come in two different varieties – you can get twin lenses and then you can get single lenses.
Twin lenses are better if you want prescription lenses, but then the single lenses are better for light. You get more light coming into twin lenses, meaning a lot of people prefer them.
Fins also come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Full foot fins are great for snorkelling, which make them very light weight, very simple, and a lot cheaper as well.
But then for proper scuba diving, you’re going to need an open heel fin which has dual material blades. They often have a nice hinge system and an adjustable fin strap at the back, which means that you can wear them with boots.
Wetsuits, depends on where you’re going to be diving. You can get short ones, which are nice and thin. You don’t have sleeves neither, so these are great for tropical diving.
But if you want to go somewhere colder, then you’ll need to get a full length wet suit that covers both your arms and your legs. These tend to be thicker neoprene, so they’re going to keep you warm in colder waters.
You need a dry suit for cold water which has skin tight neck, cuff seals, and a dry zip. That’s going to keep you dry inside the suit. This is great for arctic temperatures.
Your regulators you buy in three parts – first off you buy your primary and your first stage, and then you have a bright yellow version which is your octo-z alternate air source. And this has to be a matching brand. Then you buy your gauges, which come in either single gauge, double gauge, or even triple gauges.
Mostly starting with a large screen computer, you can upgrade this to a watch-size dive computer.
Being a little bit smaller, you can wear it everyday, and you can get a wireless transmitter to transfer tank data to your computer, or you can attach it to your regulators and have a console mounted dive computer. It has a nice big, open screen and it attaches to your regulators with a high-pressure hose.
BCDs come in two different varieties. A wing style has the bladder only behind you and then a harness to keep you inside of it. A bit more advanced, it holds you in a nice position in the water and is a lot lighter.
These are better for travel and because of the open harness system, you have a wider range of adjustment. And then you have jacket style BCDs, which have a bladder that inflates around your waist as well.
This gives you more space for pockets, but it does make them a little bit heavier and a little bit bulkier for travelling.
How to Progress in Your Diving Technique
Here are five basic progression steps to help you learn how to dive. Before we get into this, we just want to remind you that you need to be doing these with your certified coach. Also make sure you’re diving in a pool that is deep enough so you don’t hit the bottom.
The pool should be at least eight feet or two and a half meters deep. Diving can be dangerous, especially if you’re just learning.
Diving Step I
To start with, the first step is kneeling on the side of the pool in a tight streamline – make sure your streamline is super tight.
Squeeze your ears as tight as you can, then lean over the edge with your hands pointing down and roll into the pool.
The reason we need a deep pool for this is because when you roll in, you end up going straight down which is what we want.
Diving Step II
Stand up with one foot at the water and one foot behind you on the side of the pool in a tight streamline
Some main things to focus on are first, to curl your toes over the edge so your foot doesn’t slip by accident. Second, remember to keep the front leg straight and back leg bent. This dive is just like the first one, so point your streamline down and roll into the water.
Make sure you don’t let your straight front leg collapse as you roll in. When you bend your front leg the dive just doesn’t work.
Diving Step III
Get up on the block. If your block has a fin like mine, put it all the way back because we don’t need to use it yet. Kneel on the block just like the first step we did on the pool deck.
Make sure your toes are curled over the edge like before. You’re in a tight streamline with your head down and just roll down into the water. If the height of the block is scary, don’t worry. You’re just slowly rolling in and not jumping super far.
Diving Step IV
Stand on the block with one foot in front and one foot back. Keeping your back leg bent and your front leg straight, lean over in a tight streamline and roll into the pool.
It is extremely important that you keep your front leg straight and you don’t collapse it. Especially now that you’re on the block. Stay super streamlined and just slip down into the water.
Diving Step V
Put one foot in front and one foot back. If your block has a fin, you can use it. Bend your front and back leg just like the kneeling dive, but instead lift your back knee off the block.
Make sure your shoulders are leaning over past the block and that you don’t pull yourself back too far. Start to roll in slowly just like the other progressions we did and get your hands into a streamline as you go down into the water.
This start can be more complicated, since you’re getting into a streamline after you start to push off. Just roll in and work on getting the motions right.
Don’t try to rush through these steps. It may take a few days of working on perfecting only one step in this progression. Work with your coach on getting every step perfect before moving on.
Our Scuba Beginners’ Guide
Learning to scuba dive is a great undertaking. For all of the trails and tribulations you will encounter getting to grips with Scuba diving, there are ten times as many amazing experiences you can have learning this wonderful pastime.
Take your time, be gentle with yourself, follow the steps you need to, and before you know it, you’ll be a scuba diving pro yourself!
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