Scuba for Beginners — What to Expect on Your First Dive
Scuba diving is one of the most exhilarating pastimes, offering the chance to explore another world full of color and creatures. Diving can also be a very relaxing experience, as divers enjoy the feeling of near-weightlessness and the peacefulness of being underwater. Before your first big scuba diving adventure, consider these tips to prepare for the experience and make the most of your trip.
The best way to ensure a safe, fun diving experience is to go with an experienced scuba diving operator that covers all the equipment and safety basics. Be sure to pay attention when the operator demonstrates how the equipment functions and covers what to do in case of any problems.
Give yourself time to get used to breathing underwater with the scuba regulator. It takes some time to adjust to breathing air inside a mask while surrounded by water. Remember to exhale deeply so you don’t hyperventilate.
Learning to dive safely is of primary importance. For the dive to be enjoyable and safe for everyone, divers must maintain awareness of important details, such as their oxygen supply and buoyancy. Self-awareness and maintaining focus on breathing are also important. Divers must be able to monitor their mental state, especially if they are prone to anxiety, and keep taking slow, even breaths to conserve their oxygen supply and avoid overexerting themselves.
In addition to maintaining awareness of yourself, your gear, and your breathing, you also must maintain awareness of your environment to avoid injury. For instance, be careful not to get too close to coral to avoid damaging it or your equipment. Also, take care to check above you for boats, other divers, or marine life before ascending to the surface.
Don’t be alarmed by the loud sound of breathing underwater. Due to water having more density than air, the air coming through the regulator and the bubbles as you exhale can sound loud. After practicing breathing underwater, you will become more used to it and better able to tune out the sound of air flow.
Underwater vision also requires some adjustment time. Objects underwater are closer than they appear due to the different way our eyes perceive depth underwater. Once you go underwater, orient yourself and help your eyes adjust by touching things in your environment, such as the ocean floor or your friend’s arm.
Moreover, keep in mind that your peripheral vision is obstructed by the scuba mask. Practice turning your head from side to side while diving to take in the full view of your surroundings, and look for any potential obstacles or sharp edges.
Lastly, diving underwater has a different feeling than swimming near the surface. For example, you don’t need to tread water to stay in one position. Instead, relax your body and allow the buoyancy compensator you wear while scuba diving to help you maintain your depth in the water.
When you know what to expect and how to stay safe, scuba diving can be an exciting and memorable adventure. Remember to focus on the safety instructions your diving instructor gives you, and be patient with yourself as you learn a new skill. After you successfully complete your first dive, you will feel more confident about seeking out new diving experiences.