Q. Is it hard to learn to SCUBA dive?
A. No. In fact, it's probably easier than you imagine, especially if you're already confortable in the water. Our entry-level diving course is split into knowledge development, confined water (pool) training, and 4 SCUBA training dives in open water. The course is 'performance based,' which means that you progress as you learn, and as you demonstrate knowledge and skill.
Q. How long does it take to become a certified diver?
A. The course is typically split into 5 or 6 sessions, which may be scheduled in as few as 2 or 3 days, or over several weeks. Once the coursework is complete, the open water dives - where you apply and demonstrate the knowledge and skills that you learned in the course - are conducted on at least 2 separate days.
Q. How old do I have to be to become a certified SCUBA diver?
A. Twelve years old. If you're between 12 and 15, you receive a Junior Open Water Diver certification, which means you should dive with a SCUBA-certified adult. When you turn 15, you can upgrade your Junior certification to a regular Open Water certification.
Q. Do I have to meet any special qualifications or considerations before I can participate in a SCUBA class? Q. Do I have to be a great swimmer to SCUBA dive? A. No - all you need to be is a reasonably proficient swimmer who is comfortable and relaxed in the water. The swimming requirement for certification is a 200 yard nonstop swim (with no time limit) and a 10 minute tread/float.
A. No. Generally speaking, anyone in average good health and at least 12 years old can participate. As a precaution, you'll be asked to complete a routine medical questionnaire. If anything on the questionnaire indicates anything to be cautious about, you'll check with your physician to make sure it's OK for you to dive.
Q. Is SCUBA diving expensive?
A. Not really. Like any hobby or recreation, you can invest a lot or a little, depending on your interest level. SCUBA equipment can be rented, until you're ready to buy. One of the best things is that that we have excellent diving right here in South Florida, which means that you don't have to travel to distant destinations to participate in world-class diving!
Q. What equipment do I need to have before the course?
A. Generally, you'll want to buy your own mask, snorkel and fins (though we have these items to loan you during your course, if you want, at no extra charge). We provide the SCUBA gear during your course and certification dives, at no extra charge.
Q. How long does a tank of air last?
A. That depends on several factors, which we discuss during your course. In general, actual SCUBA dives last between 20-60 minutes.
Q. In the movies and on TV, divers are always running into sharks or eels. Are marine animals really much of a concern?
Q. My ears hurt when I dive to the bottom of the pool - won't they hurt when I SCUBA dive, too?
A. Your ears hurt because water pressure presses in on your ear drum. In the SCUBA course, you'll learn a simple technique to equalize your ears to the surrounding pressure, and they won't hurt at all.
A. Virtually all aquatic animals are passive and timid. There are a few that can bite or sting defensively, but you can avoid these by watching where you put your hands and feet, and by not touching things that you don't recognize. Divers aren't natural prey for sharks, so shark attacks are very rare -- more people die each year from bee stings than shark attacks.
Q. I need vision correction. Is that a problem?
Q. Is diving dangerous?
A. Not really. Statistics show that diving is about as safe as swimming. Certainly, there are potential hazards -- that's why you need training and certification -- but like driving a car, as long as you follow the rules and use common sense, it's pretty safe.
A. Not at all. If you wear contact lenses, you shouldn't have problems wearing them when you dive. If you wear hard lenses, you'll need the gas permeable type to dive. Another option is to have prescription lenses put into your mask.
Q. This all sounds interesting, but I'm not sure if it's for me. Is there a way to try SCUBA without signing up for the whole course?
A. Yes, there is. We offer the 'Discover SCUBA' program, which is an easy introduction to diving conducted in the pool... this is a way for you to experience the fun and excitement of diving before deciding to enroll in the Open Water course.
By: Al Bay
Bay Adventures, Inc.
Specializing in Cozumel Dive Travel