Scuba diving is a water sport that enables people to breathe underwater while exploring fascinating and unbelievable oceanography and vast marine life. For safety reasons, scuba divers usually dive with a partner or buddy. This article applies to recreational diving as opposed to technical diving.
The required scuba training is easy to find in most cities and dive destinations around the world. Instructors offer several levels of dive training certifications. Most dive destinations require the first level of certification (PADI calls this Open Water certification.) Everyone starts at the first level. Everyone has to demonstrate specific underwater diving skills to become certified. Most dive sites around the world require proof of scuba training (such as, a PADI dive certification card).e.
Scuba Diving Equipment Needed
Each scuba diver carries their own source of breathing gas in a tank on their back. Divers breathe from the mouth into a mouthpiece connected to the air tank. Keep in mind, that everything is lighter underwater, so the deeper you dive, the lighter you feel. That includes you and your tank. Divers carry an extra breathing source (called an octopus) for backup. The octopus can be used by another diver in an emergency or by the wearer. For example, if your buddy runs out of air before you do, you can share your air via the octopus. Experienced divers don’t run out of air, because they keep track of their air supply at all times.
Scuba Diving Gear
Recreational scuba diving gear includes an octopus, which consists of several hoses that connect to the top of the air tank. The hoses proved air and information to the diver. The primary hose has a mouthpiece for the diver to breathe underwater. Another hose also has a mouthpiece and is available as a secondary air source for the wearer or dive buddy in an emergency. A third hose attaches to the diver’s buoyancy compensator (called a BC). The BC is an inflatable vest that helps manage body weight underwater. Adding air from the tank to a BC lifts the diver. Releasing air from the BC allows the diver to descend when necessary. A computer that monitors the remaining air in the tank may also be attached by a hose to the tank.
Divers often use weights to manage buoyancy. The extra weight helps divers sink into the water under the pressure of the water. The BC and weights offset the water pressure so the body can ascend and descend as needed. Weights may be integrated into the BC or attached to a belt. Either way, weights are always easy to drop if necessary. The goal is to float calmly and naturally – buoyantly – as do the sea creatures around you.
A good dive computer puts all the important dive information at your fingertips. Dive computers may be attached to the air tank with the octopus, or they may be worn on the wrist as a watch-like device. A simple dive computer reports water depth, downtime and remaining air in the tank. New dive computers provide even more information and are well worth purchasing if you dive often.
Dive Mask and Fins
Besides an air tank and BC, scuba divers wear a mask and fins. The mask keeps water out of the eyes and nose. Dive masks can be customized with a vision prescription. Fins help divers move through the water quicker with less energy. Masks and fins are personal items, and many choices of each are available.
Finally, divers need to know what type of suit to wear underwater. This mainly depends on the temperature of the water at the dive destination. In warm tropical water, divers simply wear swim suits or skins, a lightweight jumpsuit that zips up the front and protects from sunburn and scratches. For cooler water, dive suits of increasing thicknesses are appropriate. A dive cap, gloves, vest, or any combination of dive wear is optional.
Most dive destinations offer scuba gear rentals. However, serious divers purchase their own gear and equipment to fit their preferences. Scuba diving does not have to be an expensive sport. Scuba gear should last for years. The options for scuba gear are endless and continually improving. It pays to do the research and choose the gear that fits your needs.
Nothing above water can match the beauty and serenity of the underwater scene. The photos and videos may entice, but they are no match for the real experience. On top of that, dive destinations make some of the most fabulous beach vacations on Earth. That’s why we scuba dive.