If you’re a person who loves the water and beauty of the ocean and you’ve tried various water activities, there may be one you haven’t tried yet – Scuba Diving! If you would love to explore underwater creatures and sights, you can become certified by taking a scuba diving course.
To qualify for the entry level scuba diving course, you must be twelve or more years of age and in good physical health. Some that are younger than twelve may also be able to enroll in a junior diver training course. Some advantages in becoming certified are: you learn about diving safety; you enjoy diving more because you know what to do and how to use your equipment better; when in a group, you’ll be able to go off on your own in deeper water and not have to stay close to an instructor because of your training; and you’ll be able to rent equipment easier if you want to travel to different locations around the world.
To know what’s involved, there are three main things comprised in the certification training: Classroom and academic study; Confined water or pool training; and Open water participation and training. Before you get started, along with these three aspects and your age requirement is met, there are steps to follow and examine to determine if you’re able to take the training. They are as follows:
1. FITNESS – To find out if you’re physically fit, a questionnaire can be downloaded from one of two websites: World Recreational Scuba Training Council or International Diving Safety Standards Commission. This will tell if diving is right for you or if there are any health issues that would be a hindrance. You can also check with your doctor.
2. INSTRUCTION – Choose an instructor with many years of diving experience and one that fits in with your needs and way of learning. Get referrals and one who is well-qualified.
3. CONVENIENCE – Find a place convenient for your training because there are many days or weeks of attendance requirements. You may also want to make sure there is a pool at the location so you will have all instruction in one place to avoid traveling elsewhere.
4. COST OF TRAINING – Check various training facilities and instructors for the total charge, whether it will be a flat rate for both classroom training and pool or a separate charge for each. Also, find out if equipment costs are included of if rental equipment is needed. It’s a good idea to know all details before getting started so there are no surprises.
5. WATERMANSHIP TEST – This is done to show the instructor how well you perform in the water. You must swim for 200 yards without stopping and float ten minutes without anything to aid you.
6. REGISTRATION – You need to fill out and sign all appropriate forms and know all risks involved when training and release the facility and instructors from any liabilities.
After going through all of these steps, it’s time to start the academic training. You can choose to read the book, take an online course or watch a DVD. This part of the training teaches the safety aspects and theory of diving. You will be quizzed after each small segment then a final exam will be given to show how well you understand all you have learned. You must pass the academic portion in order to move on to the open water training. This training is in a pool or restricted water space where you will learn how to use your scuba equipment and shown the skills needed to use everything properly and safely. This will take a lot of patience and practice, practice, practice!
Finally, to receive your certification, for two or more days in a lake or the ocean, you will complete four open water training dives in depths of 15-60 feet. Everything you learned in the pool or confined water training will be done with your instructor to show that you can perform the same tasks well in the open waters. After these requirements are met, per the recommendation from your instructor, a training agency will provide you with a C-card, with your name.
Now with a sense of great accomplishment, it’s time to go out on your own without supervision and explore and enjoy the breathtaking sights to see underwater. If you want to further your training, there are some other diver courses you can take, as follows: Enriched Air Nitrox Diver; Advanced Scuba Diver; Rescue Scuba Diver; Master Scuba Diver; and First Aid Provider.
Whatever you decide to do, your C-card never expires so for years to come, you will be able to scuba dive to your favorite scuba diving spots.