An incomplete and geek oriented scuba-diving FAQ

Where do I learn to scuba ?

What a lot of people do, since they don’t want to sit in a classroom while on vacation, is take a class at their local dive shop which consist of classroom and pool time. Once that’s done, they’re given a piece of paper that they can show to the dive operator wherever they go to indicate they’re ready for their 4 open water dives. Once that’s done, they can be issued a dive certification. With that c-card in hand (whether it is PADI,SSI, NAUI,CMAS or any other international scuba organization), they can scuba dive everywhere in the world (within the limit of recreational diving at their level, usually 60 feet with buddy diver or a group.

You can also get resort certifications that would allow you to dive then and there but I’d advise against that. It’s better to go through the Open Water certification that will allow you to dive everywhere anytime you want.

What physical shape do I have to be in to Scuba-dive ?

You have to be in good general physical shape but not necesseraly a triahtlete. You must know how to swim and be able to do a few laps as well as thead water for 10 minutes or so.

There are a few conditions that would prevent you from diving so consult your doctor prior to registering for a class. Drinking, recreational drugs and medication are strongly discouraged before diving (and the night before) so make sure you dive responsibly

Do I have to go to a tropical destination to Scuba

You don’t, though diving in 65F/20C water or warmer is much more comfortable. There is diving in New England, North California, the Carolinas, the Great Lakes, Brittish Columbia and all over the globe. Better hit those spots when you feel comfortable about diving already though. Then you’ll be able to try on a dry suit and go ice diving but really, no rush.


Why is Scuba-diving geek friendly

You’ve bought the large TV, the gaming computer, set up your wireless network, hacked your XBox, conquered Everquest. What is there left to do ?

With Scuba, you get to learn about diving physiology and psychology, buy new gear (dive computer, Buoyancy Control Devices, regulators, dive tables, …), you have an opportunity to learn some marine biology and experience total weightlessness !

With many dive computers, you can throw them in a USB/Serial craddle, download your dive profile, annotate your log. It’s fun.

Can I compete in a Scuba-diving contest ?

Scuba is not a competitive sport. There are no competitions, no medals and no world cup. Diving deep doesn’t make you a better diver (though you have to try it), getting new certifications (beyond Open Water Diver: Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, Master Scuba and DiveMaster) doesn’t either (though it you do learn many new things, always good).

Where is the best diving ?

There is good diving everywhere, it depends what you want to do/see. I heard the reefs of Brittish Columbia are pristine (but cold), that wreck diving in the Carolinas is amazing, even ice diving in Val d’Isère. As far as I am concerned, I very much enjoyed my diving in the Caribeans and West Indies (Turks and Caicos) and in the Maldives (the best so far but far and recently ravaged). You can probably dive in your backyard (Lobster diving for me, in MA) and enjoy it very much too.

What can I see when I scuba ?

Well, that really depends on where you go, right ? I’ve seen dolphins, Manta rays, giant eels, sea turtles, many different species of sharks, lobsters, octopi, fantastic corals, sponges the size of two humans, tiny garden eels, etc…

Our seas and their reef gardens are just too amazing a sight and a diverse ecosystem to simply describe

Why do you like to scuba-dive?

Well, I scuba dive for many reasons. I love traveling around the world, enjoy the activity and share it with many passionate people. I love the sights underwater obviously, always having been very interested by that other world. I love that it’s a sport and a very healthy one at that that I can practice easily and outside of the limiting boundaries of classic competitive sports. I love the technology, physiology and psychology aspects of it (I am a rescue diver now). I love to know that there is a lot for me to discover such as rebreather diving, dry suit diving and a lot more creature to observe, it’s endless

Is Scuba-diving dangerous ?

While Scuba-diving is not a risk free activity, the structures in place (dive organizations, shops, instructors) and divers always strive for safety. If you dive within your physical and mental limits, follow safety rules, make sure your equipment is in good condition, you will dive safely and enjoy it immensely.

You should alway carry a diver insurance when you’re diving as recreational diving incidents are not usually covered by your health insurance. Better safe that sorry.


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