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Diving into a new hobby: how to get started in scuba

So, you think you’ve heard about SCUBA diving. Maybe you went snorkeling last time you were in the Caribbean. Maybe you have heard horror stories about diving-related accidents. Maybe you say that if God wanted us to see the ocean floor he would have given us gills. But then you realize that you didn’t even know that SCUBA stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Maybe you don’t know as much as you thought you did. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.

Photo by Miqueas Barreiro

First, I must address the issue of safety. While many terrible things like nitrogen narcosis and decompression sickness may happen to you while SCUBA diving, they are pretty rare.  SCUBA diving leads to only about 1,000 ER visits per year, compared to 170,000 for fishing and 20,000 for bowling. Also, taking good care of your gear, and following the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) guidelines greatly decreases the odds of having an accident. Almost all SCUBA-related injuries come from someone doing something outside of their skill set or not paying attention to their environment. And no, sharks aren’t that interested in you. So long as you don’t bother them, they normally don’t bother you.

Yeah, it also costs a lot. A good pair of fins is around $100-120, masks and snorkels are around 40 a piece, not to mention the cost of the NAUI certification. But the gear lasts for years if you take care of it, and the experience is worth the price of admission. Plus you can often rent gear, which is much cheaper if you aren’t going to be diving every other weekend.

Most new divers are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of science in SCUBA. Chemistry, biology, physics—there is a lot that goes into SCUBA diving, but it isn’t as bad as it may seem. It all makes sense the more you dive and even the Dive Tables become second nature after a while. Just like the skills you learn in the pool, learning the background knowledge will come with practice and persistence.

ORU offers a course in SCUBA diving that counts for both HPE credit and toward earning a NAUI SCUBA certification. Students get discounted prices on the gear, so what’s your excuse?

You want to look at the world around you right here on the ocean floor. Such wonderful things surround you, what more are you looking for?

Photo by Miqueas Barreiro

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