Updated: Nov 7, 2022
After a great documentary, an exceptional snorkeling session, or seeing cool sea life from the boat, many people start thinking that scuba diving is probably an awesome and fascinating activity. Sadly, for some, their immediate second thought is that they're just not up to it. This blog wants to debunk all the myths regarding who is fit or not to scuba dive. If you are medically fit and older than 8, you can dive!
I am not strong enough
Perhaps because diving was part of navy training in the past, some people assume that you need to be strong to carry all the gear. Dive gear is not all that heavy in reality, if you can carry a 5-year-old child, you can easily carry a scuba tank by yourself. More importantly, diving is a sport you always do with at least one other team member and you rely on them for safety and fun, but also to help with donning/carrying equipment. People with severe physical handicaps can dive and do dive, all that is needed is a little planning and a little help from your (dive) friends.
I am too old to dive
Bill Lambert would probably disagree with you, he got his PADI Open Water Diver certification at the age of 99 years old! There is no age limit when it comes to diving, it is not an overly strenuous activity, and, as long as your GP says you are fit to go, there is nothing to prevent you from starting diving in your 80s (or 90s!).
I am not fit enough to dive
As mentioned above, though scuba diving is a physical activity that will do your body a lot of good and help keep you fit, you do not need to be in exceptional physical form to partake. Many divers are all but very sporty. For some, it is the only physical activity they do. Start scuba diving now and see your levels of physical fitness slowly improve, bringing along with it all sorts of other great benefits to the body and mind (see a list of some below).
I am not comfortable enough in the water
Many people think that fear of water, disliking putting their head underwater, or not being confident swimmers means no diving for them. On the contrary, scuba diving can help get over these fears. Find a good instructor, someone you are comfortable with and who makes you feel safe, and take your time. A dive course can be done over a long(er) period, interspaced with swimming and snorkeling practice. You can also just sign up for a Discover Scuba Diving experience, that will take less than a day. Any diving instructor will tell you stories of people terrified to even put their face under a shower jet who went on to become experienced and proficient divers. Some even became scuba diving instructors!
I have had medical issues in the past so I cannot dive
Childhood asthma, frequent ear infections, swimmer's ear, as a kid, or other ailments often make people think they cannot dive. A quick trip to a dive doctor will clear that up. Many childhood/past medical issues may not have any influence at all on your present ability to dive. Even more severe conditions like a ruptured eardrum (or even a collapsed lung) might not be an impediment to your being able to scuba dive safely. You need several years of the 'all-clear' and some thorough checks with a dive specialized doctor. If in doubt and you want to dive, get yourself off to a specialist to be scanned and tested, you may well be pleasantly surprised by the results.
I am too scared to dive
Diving can bring up all sorts of deep-rooted fears, fear of water, claustrophobia, fear of the dark (yes, really), fear of the monsters that lurk below, of not being up to it or good enough, fear of drowning, and many more. Like with many things in life, when you manage to challenge your fears and supersede them, you get an incredible sense of accomplishment. As mentioned above, take it slowly, in easy conditions, with someone you trust. Diving may be the exact therapy you need to leave the phobias behind and bravely make a fresh start.
I am too shy
If you are the shy type, remember diving is a great way to meet people, you're all linked by a common activity/passion, and, the big big bonus is that there is no chatting underwater, so you won't have to get into awkward small talk! A great way to make a whole new set of friends in an easy comfortable way.
There are sharks and other monsters down there
Diving is off the list for some because of 'the fear of what lurks in the deep'. If you watched 'Jaws' a few too many times as a kid, you might not want to dip even the tip of a fin in the depths of the dark ocean full of monsters. The first thing you must know is that sharks are a rare encounter for divers, they are shy and relatively fearful creatures. We are way worse predators to them than they are to us (shark finning has brought numbers to close to extinction for many species). The second thing you must realize is the unadulterated joy you will feel - not fear- if you are so lucky as to meet one underwater, a sense of pure wonder and fascination for these incredible creatures.
I'm not rich enough
Diving can be an expensive sport but there are many ways to get around this. In many countries, you can join clubs or associations where you pay an affordable yearly membership fee, then a very small amount to regularly go on dive trips locally. These clubs often also organize dive holidays abroad and get a great group discount, making the trips within reach of most pockets. In many parts of the world, especially in Southeast Asia, the price of diving has remained the same for the last 30 years ( yes, yes) and is very affordable. Remember most dive center owners are passionate about diving- clearly not about money, take it from us! - so if you are skint and still want to go diving, try trading some skills or bring in some other divers and earn your fee/commission in diving excursions, many will be more than happy to oblige. Who knows you may even end up with a new job and free diving!
So now that you know that the evil little voice in your head telling you can't do it is wrong, here are some of the great benefits you'll get from diving:
See incredible sea life and fall in love with the sea and all its treasures
Meet people from all horizons and backgrounds
Supersede deep-seated fears
Have loads of bubbly fun
So come on, get wet, dive in, nothing's gonna stop you now!