Every time you see a large body of water, have you ever wondered what life is like beneath it? Hopefully you’re not terrified of scuba diving, because you know how to snorkel or scuba dive, then you can explore it! Scuba is not a real word, but actually an acronym that stands for self contained underwater breathing apparatus. That’s quite a mouthful, but basically it refers to the equipment divers use to stay underwater for lengths of time much longer than a human can hold their breath.
Most people who get into scuba diving do so for recreational purposes. They are curious, adventurous folks who want to try new things out and see what amazing things lie in the ocean waters. Others do it professionally, descending much further than hobbyists for commercial, scientific, or military endeavors.
Getting Started with Scuba Diving
When you think about scuba diving, what’s the first image that comes to mind? Is it swimming through clear and pristine ocean waters, with schools of fish swimming around you? Some divers will enjoy exploring nearby lakes, and others will follow the river’s waters. Whatever you plan on doing, you will first have to get started with lessons.
Taking a beginner’s diving class is important because scuba diving has its fair share of dangers for those who are not prepared. A diving instructor will teach you the basic skills you need, such as ocean awareness, proper equipment usage, diving with a buddy, and defense techniques. There are many facilities worldwide that will be able to get you started.
For the most part, scuba divers wear similar gear, though some people in colder water may need extra equipment. Basic scuba equipment consists of fins, a tank, a mask, a watch, and gauges. Depending on how cold it is, divers may want to consider wearing a hood, gloves, and a wet or dry suit.
The oxygen tank worn on divers’ back provides a source of fresh air, allowing one to stay underwater for a long time. In order to convert the high pressure air in the tanks to safe, breathable levels, divers also need a scuba regulator to help them out. Pressure and depth gauges give crucial information to divers about their location and how far beneath the surface they are. A compass and watch will also assist the diver while they are under water.
What do Scuba Divers Do Underwater?
For people diving for leisure, scuba diving will allow you to experience the ocean’s beauty like never before. Recreational divers can observe the various sea life such as sharks, whales, dolphins, turtles, schools of fish, and even shipwrecks. Divers will also invariably come across ocean flora such as anemones and other underwater plant life during their adventures.
If this all sounds too intimidating for you, don’t worry. Inexperienced divers can practice the basics in pools or shallow waters. Once out in the ocean, if you are part of a guided tour, then you will generally not be allowed to venture out to depths more than 60 feet deep (18 meters). As you will learn, divers should always bring a friend just in case an emergency situation happens.
Commercial divers can use their skills and experience to aid corporations in their projects such as bridge construction or ocean oil drilling. Scientists may scuba dive so that they can study all of the marine life they encounter as well as their biology. Soldiers in the military can train as divers so that they can assist their country by performing underwater tasks when called upon.