1. Take it easy.
Have you snorkeled for a while and now want to try scuba diving? That’s great! However, scuba diving can be intimidating for some people. I mean, you dive to a certain depth, breathing underwater, wearing a tight suit and having a lot of bubbles come out of your face. It can be a weird felling.
Many people try doing a “baptism” before getting into a course to be sure they’ll enjoy the underwater experience.
2. Snorkeling and swimming.
Some people want to scuba dive but barely know how to swim. Are you kidding me? You must feel secure in this new environment. Swim, snorkel, dive deep and spend hours in the water. Having that experience will make you feel more secure and relaxed when you go scuba diving.
3. Find a good dive center.
Now that you are ready to get certified, you must find a good dive center. Where do you want to get your certificate? Perhaps an exotic destination? Find a dive center with a good reputation and experienced instructors. The course price may vary considerably depending on the country. More expensive doesn’t always mean better. Check out the center’s reviews.
4. What kind of certification do you want?
The first certification you’ll get is called “Open Water Diver”. Some people get the next level, the “Advanced Diver,” right away (i.e., the two courses, one after the other), which allows them to dive down to 30 meters. Although it’s possible to do this, I recommend that you get the “Open Water” first, then do a few dives. After that, when you have some experience, you can get the “Advanced.”
5. Did you know that there are other organizations besides PADI?
At first, it feels strange to breathe underwater. The first few times it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed and like you want to get out of the water. But why do you want to get out? To breathe? You have a regulator with air in your mouth. You don’t need to get out. Just relax.
7. Listen to your instructor.
During the first few days, your instructor will be almost the most important person in your life. Pay attention to him/her and everything will be all right.
8. Check your gear before every dive.
You must always follow this basic routine. Check all your gear (and your buddy’s). Be sure that no gear is leaking, that the tank is full and that everything works fine.
9. Take care of your partner.
If you are learning in a group or with a buddy, ask your partners if they are OK during your dives. They will take care of you, too. Don’t dive alone!
10. Try to go in small groups.
Although diving in a group can give you some security, the truth is that a big group can be difficult for the instructor to manage. Try to go in a six- to eight-person group at a maximum.
11. Drink lots of water.
Our bodies lose a lot of water when we dive. Therefore, it’s very important that we drink plenty of water before and after every dive.
12. Take dizziness pills if you need them.
Often, diving involves a boat trip. Sometimes the boat moves too much and some people get dizzy. Take pills if you think this might happen to you. Although vomiting underwater is entirely possible, it’s not exactly a fun experience.
13. Never hold your breath.
For some who have snorkeled a lot, holding your breath may seem natural. However, when scuba diving, rule number one is: Never hold your breath!
14. Breathe slowly.
Breathing slowly will help you relax, control your buoyancy and save air (making your dives longer). Once I was told that you should take in air as if it were an excellent wine rather than a cold beer on a hot day. You can use your tongue to help you take in less air. There are different tricks, but breathe slowly and constantly.
15. Avoid panic underwater.
Many accidents are the result of panic. When we panic and don’t know what to do, we usually make bad decisions. No matter what happens, relax, close your eyes if necessary, breathe and think. Remember what you’ve learned and resolve the problem.
16. Keep a calm rhythm.
Diving is not a race. It’s not about going faster than the others. Move slowly. You will save energy and air, and you will enjoy the environment much more. When ascending, never go up faster than your bubbles do!
17. Don’t drink alcohol the day before.
Alcohol dehydrates your body and hangovers are not pleasant on boat trips.
18. Be aware of the risks.
Study the possible risks and the symptoms of nitrogen narcosis and other problems.
19. Don’t take a flight after diving.
If you are flying, wait 18 hours before getting on a plane. Take special care if you’ve been diving for several days and completing successive dives a day.
20. Don’t take anything from the sea.
Please, we must take care of that precious ecosystem. Do not take coral, shells or other organisms. You can pick up the trash you find. That’s cool! 🙂
21. Beware of marine wildlife.
Don’t worry too much about sharks, as they usually keep a distance. If you see one, relax and do as your instructor says. On the other hand, there are many poisonous fish. Keep your distance. Look but don’t touch.
22. Keep your dive logbook updated.
Keep your dives up to date. Write down the dive site, diving time, air consumption, etc. This way you can see your progress.
Choose the right gear!
23. Dive mask.
To determine whether a dive mask fits you: Place the mask against your face, look down and inhale through your nose. Now let go; the mask should stay in position. If it falls, it is too big.
24. Diving suit.
When choosing a suit, keep in mind that it must be a little tight but comfortable.
There is a great array of regulators from which to choose depending on the type of diving you will be doing. Some are better for cold water and some are better for warm water. Others are balanced or unbalanced, etc.
26. Diving fins.
You can find many models and prices. If you are using open heel fins, I recommend that you wear booties.
27. Scuba BCD.
You can choose between jacket, back inflation BCDS or hybrid models.
28. Dive computer.
In the beginning, you’ll have enough to do worrying about buoyancy and air consumption. However, a dive computer can be a great asset when you have some experience.
29. Other accessories.
30. Take care of your gear.
Remember to clean all your gear with fresh water after each dive and keep it away from the sun. This will extend the life of your gear.