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Finally debunked: 10 + Most Common Myths that Prevent You from Trying Scuba Diving
So how is it?
You would like to try, but you heard all those terrifying stories about diving and you just don’t dare?
You have to go deep to see something.. There are scary sea monsters down there.. And it looks so damn difficult, with all this equipment and all..
There are many misconceptions concerning scuba diving. Too many, if you ask me. Maybe some of them are preventing you from plunging in?
Fear no more.
Keep on reading and you will learn, that your fears about scuba diving are completely ungrounded. That’s what you came here for, didn’t you?
MYTH # 1 – DIVING IS EXTREME SPORT
It can be, but it’s not by default.
If you feel like beating depth records or exploring unknown caves, then there is a lot of complicated training in before you and indeed diving becomes pretty extreme.
But if all you want is go few meters under the surface and see up close all those beautiful things you saw on Blue Planet. In this case diving is very safe and fun, and nowhere close to extreme sport.
Great thing about scuba diving is – with appropriate training you can take it as far as you like. If you feel happy with exploring shallow waters with your camera and taking photos of colorful fish, nobody can push you further.
So no, diving is not extreme. Unless you want it to be.
MYTH # 2 – SHAAAAARK !
You know, when you watch movies about aliens abducting humans to carry out weird experiments on them, you don’t really believe it’s true, do ya? You don’t, because you know it’s fiction.
The same kind of criticism you should apply to movies about evil, monstrous sharks hunting down every single person that enters water.
Thank you Mr. Spielberg for making millions of people think that sharks are notorious human killers. Although ‘Jaws’ were filmed AGES ago, conviction that sharks are super dangerous to divers is still one of the most popular scuba diving myths.
Greg admiring sleeping Nurse Shark, Jamaica.
Do you know how many people died of shark attack last year?
First of all, sharks are not interested in you. Even if you dive in the place where they reside, believe me they won’t be thrilled to see you at all. Divers are loud and clumsy in water (certainly in sharks standards). We do make a lot of noise breathing our weird bubbles and sharks don’t like it.
Secondly, not all sharks are Great White Shark (that one, I admit is pretty scary). There are around thousand of shark species (according to WWF). Great majority of them is harmless and more afraid of you, then you should be of them. See the sleeping Nurse Shark on the picture above? Big, but gentle.
Thirdly, it’s not so easy to find them, even if you want to. Apart from few reef species most of them live deep in the sea. I was lucky to dive with few species of sharks in my life, and I admit it is impressive to see this majestic animal move gracefully through water. What they do in divers presence? They mind they own business and most of the time try to stay away from us.
So can we agree once and forever that sharks are not scary beasts that dream of biting our ass off?
MYTH # 3 – DIVING IS ELITE SPORT FOR CLOSED GROUP OF PEOPLE
I get it. We speak ‘different language’ you don’t entirely understand, sometimes we talk about things you have no idea about. We have our in-jokes, that nobody else laughs at. It seems like divers are some closed elite club.
In fact the opposite is true. Divers are very sociable and friendly people, and they are usually happy to greet fresh adepts of underwater adventures.
You’re concerned you don’t know any scuba divers, and you heard you need a buddy to dive with? What a great opportunity to make new friends! Just pop in to dive shop or dive club nearby. When you start your scuba course you are sure to find a buddy with similar experience level.
MYTH # 4 – DIVING IS ONLY FOR BOYS
Ok, if you still think so, then you definitely haven’t heard about awesome community of mermaids called Girls That Scuba. Just check out their page, better yet Facebook Group and look how many ladies are in love with diving. Read their stories and get inspired to try it yourself.
Do you think driving a car is only for men? You certainly don’t, and it’s the same story with diving.
There are more and more female divers, Divemasters, Instructors and even Dive Shop owners (like yours truly). According to PADI around 1/3 of all divers are ladies and the numbers are growing.
MYTH # 5 – YOU NEET TO BE SUPER FIT TO DIVE
Divers come in all shapes and sizes and it’s totally ok. In the ideal world all divers would run, eat healthy, stay away from smoking, but in reality it’s rarely the case. If you think that you need to be a strong man in order to start scuba diving, you are wrong!
Of course, healthy lifestyle is recommended by all diving organizations, but don’t worry if you have few extra pounds. If your general health is ok, you should be fine to dive.
Scuba diving community tries to be as much inclusive as possible. There are even people with disabilities that are diving and they are rocking it.
If you are afraid that you won’t be a good diver because you don’t run few kilometers daily (I certainly can’t) or lift weights at the gym, forget about it and just try.
Remember, in water you are weightless!
* If you however have a serious medical condition, check with a doctor, if it’s ok for you to dive.
MYTH # 6 – DIVING IS VERY DIFFICULT TO LEARN
Minimum age to start Open Water Diver Course is 10 years old. Do you think there are things that 10 year old kid can learn that you cannot? Very doubtful.
Admittedly, there is theory to be learned, but with e-Learning program PADI made it very interactive and easy to comprehend. With loads of pictures, charts and videos even physics of diving becomes simple. And best part? With e-Learning you can take as long as you need to cover the material and you can do it from your own sofa.
The practical training in water is super fun, although you learn a lot. And believe me if you struggle with any skill, your instructor will find a thousand ways to explain it differently and they will not give up until you’re happy. That’s just what we do!
MYTH # 7 – DIVING IS VERY EXPENSIVE
Cost of diving certification varies between locations and what’s included, but typically it can be compared to cost of driving license.
The certification includes
5 sections of knowledge development (with loads of interesting information, interactive contents and videos)
5 sessions of shallow water skill practice with PADI Instructor and
4 actual dives
The practical part usually takes 3 to 4 days of intensive training, after which you receive certification that enables you to dive worldwide till the rest of your life.
Ask any diver – the cost is well worth it!
MYTH # 8 – WHEN YOU BECOME DIVER YOU NEED TO BUY A LOT OF EQUIPMENT
Theoretically you don’t need to buy anything, but most likely you will want to. In most dive shops you can come in from the street wearing your shorts and flip-flops and go diving. They will provide you with all that you need head to toe.
The truth is however that if you get hooked with diving, you will want to have at least few basic pieces of equipment of your own. For some people it’s mask and snorkel – there’s nothing better for diving comfort like a mask perfectly fitted to your face. Others prefer to have their own wetsuit.
The thing is, it’s your choice what you want to own or rent. When you’re traveling and want to keep your luggage light you may be better off using the dive shop’s equipment.
Basically, you don’t have to own single piece of diving equipment, in order to enjoy diving.
MYTH # 9 – SNORKELLING IS JUST AS GOOD
Would you like to lick a lollipop through the foil? That’s what snorkeling is compared to scuba diving. Go ahead, ask any diver.
Don’t get me wrong, we also like to have some fun on the surface, swimming with mask and snorkel on a sunny day. But no diver will ever agree that snorkeling is just as good as the REAL THING.
Seeing all the wonders of the underwater world up close – colorful fish and corals, turtles munching the sea grass or octopus hiding in the rocks is awesome enough. Add to this a feeling that you are flying, your body – weightless – gliding over those wonders.
Nothing can beat that. Not snorkeling, or glass bottom boat nor going to fancy aquarium! Nothing!
Decompression sickness, commonly called Bends, is for many one of the most terrifying things about diving. Does it really happen that often and can it happen on your first dive?
Without going into diving theory and all the details, let me simply explain how it works. When you go deep enough and stay there for a while you accumulate nitrogen in your body (the second gas forming air, aside oxygen).
If then, instead of going up slowly taking your time and making safety stop, you bolt to the surface, the nitrogen instead of leaving your body will form bubbles, that may be harmful or deadly.
Ok, still scary. I get it.
The thing is on your first dive you won’t go deep enough for this to happen. Your instructor can take you up to 12 meters, most of the time you’ll stay way shallower anyway.
Only after a proper training can you go deeper, and guess what – training prepares you for that. You will learn what to do and not to do in order to stay safe.
But for now, don’t worry about bends, listen to your instructor and breath calmly.
BONUS ONE: DIVERS BREATH OXYGEN UNDERWATER
It wouldn’t be particularly good idea to breath pure oxygen under the water. Enough to say, that oxygen becomes toxic under pressure, so with O2 in out tank we couldn’t go much deeper than 5 meter.
What divers have in their tanks is normal atmospheric air. It’s just compressed, so that a lot of air fits in a small space. Next time someone says divers breath from oxygen tanks you can correct them. Surprisingly even some certified divers make this mistake..
There! Now you no longer have any excuse not to try diving.
Scuba diving myths debunked for good!
You’ll thank me later, after your first experience in the amazing underwater world.
If you’re curious how it is to breath those bubbles, but you’re anxious, just give it a try ! You know very well that going out of your comfort zone usually ends up in something unforgettable.
Is there is any other doubt you have, or you heard some scary stories and you’re not sure they are true, go ahead and ask us. The comment section below is exactly for that.
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