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Learning to scuba dive: 10 things you need to know

Are you ready to become a scuba diver? You totally should! If you are considering taking a scuba diving course like the PADI Open Water diver, you probably have a lot of questions regarding scuba diving itself and how to learn. Here are some of the most common questions you might be asking yourself and of course some answers!

1 - Is scuba diving safe?

Overall, scuba diving is very safe. Like any sports it includes risks, but from the start your instructor should teach you the basic rules of underwater safety (a quick summary being: don't hold your breath, don't get lost and don't touch stuff underwater).

While the number of scuba divers increase every year, the number of accidents has been steadily decreasing over the last few years. It's like driving: if you pay attention and follow the rules you are likely to be fine, if you are on your phone and going to fast it could end poorly.

2 - How much does it cost?

Prices vary depending on location. You could pay over 600$ for a entry level course, or as cheap as 300$ in some locations.

You will find out that in diving locations, most prices are similar from one dive center to another, within a reasonable gap. Scuba diving is not a cheap activity, it requires equipment, instructors, often boats and a number of other things. If you find a course 30% cheaper than everyone else, there is a good chance that they are cutting costs somewhere (and therefore safety).

PADI Open Water course
Pool training for the Open Water course

3 - How long does it take?

In most places, getting your Open Water will take 3 to 4 days depending on the organisation. For a lot of courses now such as PADI Open Water, you can do all the theoretical learning ahead of time and only do the practical part when you arrive on site.

For local club diving, some clubs might spread the course over several months depending on the schedule.

4 - Is learning scuba diving for me?

Excellent question. If you are not comfortable in the water or do not enjoy having a look with a mask to see the fish, it might not be. If you are not ready to commit to a few days for a full course, most dive centers will offer a Discover Scuba or Try diving experience to give you a little taste of it. This might be a good way to figure out if scuba diving is for you.

5 - What level of fitness is required to scuba dive?

Anyone relatively fit and with no major condition should be able to dive, but everyone is different.

You will most likely have to fill a medical form before you start the course. Some of the questions are directed to find out if anything prevents you from scuba diving, or if you will need to consult a doctor to get medical clearance. The dive shop you select should be able to provide this information for you and let you know what is required. Whhich brings us to our next point...

Scuba diver in Nusa Penida
Ready for some underwater fun?

6 - How do I pick a dive center for my course?

You need to research a little bit in the area you have selected. With internet, this should be fairly easy: contact a few, see if you get your questions answered and enough details, have a look at their online reviews and a bit of a "feel" for who they are. Any reviews that question safety in equipment or with the dive staff practices should be a big red flag.

7 - Do I have to buy my own equipment before the course?

The short answer is no. Some places might encourage it, but most places will offer rental equipment. As a non diver, it is also quite difficult to know straight off what equipment would be a good fit for you or easy to use.

Our recommendation to start buying your gear: start with a mask so that it fits comfortably, and if you plan on diving regularly buy your own dive computer, for ease of use and safety. From there you can slowly progress towards the rest of your equipment.

8 - What is the training like?

An entry-level scuba diving course includes 3 components: theory, pool training and ocean dives. Theory is designed to teach you the basic concepts of scuba diving: safety procedures, equipment use, skills you will need to perform and such.

Pool training can also be done in a quiet natural environment, and this is where you will learn the skills you need to become a scuba diver. These involve some safety skills, as well as learning how to move underwater, how to use your equipment and so on.

Once this is done, you will go and do your training dives, during which you will repeat some of these skills, as well as discover the underwater world!

9 - Why do scuba divers seem to talk a LOT about scuba diving?

Because it's amazing. I mean, don't take our word for it and give it a try for yourself, but you are basically entering a new world where you are calm, weightless, surrounded by the sound of your own bubbles and the little sounds of the reefs, and it is truly a wonderful experience.

Scuba divers Nusa Penida
This is what happy divers look like

10- Will I get eaten by sharks?

Absolutely not. Sharks encountered underwater are usually more afraid of you than you are of them. There are very few fatalities caused by sharks, and even less happening on divers. Unless you go scuba diving waving around a dead tuna in an area known for big predator sharks, nothing will happen. Actually, if you are lucky enough to see a shark during your training dives, you will likely be amazed!

So, ready to become a diver? Get in touch!


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