Scuba diving is all about mastering certain skills in order to become an accomplished diver. With PADI’s variety of programs to help you become a proper diver, it means doing your homework and putting in hours.
If you are thinking about picking up scuba diving, this article is just for you!
Here are our top 5 tips of things to be aware of before starting your first breath underwater.
1. Respect the underwater marine life
You’ve seen the pictures or videos: freedivers hanging on to a dolphin’s dorsal fin, or divers petting a manta ray. There are also examples of unskilled divers breaking pieces of coral, undoing years and years of natural progress. The natural environment is there to be enjoyed from a respectable and responsible distance. We urge you to be highly aware of your surroundings: do visual checks every now and then to make sure you are clear of any obstructions — the corals as well as other divers will be grateful!
2. Understand your dive computer
Here at Thalassa, we always tell our new guests during a briefing that diving with a computer is required. Without a computer you are simply not in control of your own safety, and it really doesn’t matter how many dives you have made safely without one prior.
The computational model used to calculate your nitrogen absorption rates is there for one simple reason: to ensure you get to dive not just today, but tomorrow as well. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to re-read your computer’s user manual before embarking on a new diving adventure.
Here’s a tip: download the manual as a PDF, and you’ll have something to read during your trip to North Sulawesi!
3. Listening to the briefing
When the boat arrives at the dive site, pay attention to our guides. Even if you might have heard the same briefing a thousand times, going over the procedures is basically just good practice. From maximum bottom time to your three-minute safety stop, we all have to sing to the same tune.
The briefing is not just a dissemination of info, it also gets everyone into the right mindset before the dive: check your equipment, check your buddy’s, and make sure everything is ok. You don’t want to rush into the water, only to have one of our staff members hand you the fins which you forgot to put on!
4. Check your buoyancy
It’s a little bit of a shame when someone says they’ve done over a hundred dives, and they’re kicking as if they’re cycling through the water, arms flailing like one of those air hose puppets at public events. They have trouble staying neutrally buoyant and as a result they bump into fragile coral, or kick up sand and decrease visibility for everyone to enjoy the wild life in the sea.
Some divers are convinced they require 12 kilograms of weights without ever having done a buoyancy check at the surface. So, with all of these factors adding up, it won’t make your dive a very enjoyable one, and sometimes people never even realized they did all those “bad dives” in the first place!
What a world of difference focusing on buoyancy makes, and to see the smiles on people’s faces after having done a Peak Performance Buoyancy course is totally worth it. The main thing to remember is this: no amount of equipment will ever compensate for the amount of skill you put into your diving.
Diving as a hobby is one of pure zen. It’s a truly mindful experience, and purposefully relaxing and going slow makes every dive a pure joy. But this takes time.
When you’re just starting out diving, your air consumption can be just fine or really bad (some people simply have bigger lungs), but over time, experience tells us that breathing underwater becomes easier with each progressive dive, thus helping improve your efficiency.
If you combine this self-attaining skill with mindful and deliberate attempts at being calm and at peace, you will definitely notice a world of difference. No more early ascents for you!
So when you decide to become a diver, we urge you to be more than just a “fish watching tourist” — we really need you to be a positive force in the underwater world. Encourage your buddy for a buoyancy check, or tell them to stay away from the corals and not use gloves, for example.
Any efforts in keeping our marine life in pristine conditions is commendable as well as necessary, so that others can enjoy these fantastic gifts of nature in the future.