A big goal for the coming year I have is learning how to SCUBA dive. Every time I go to a beautiful place full of endless underwater discoveries, I wish I wasn’t limited to just my snorkel. Although I have a fancy set with a geeky prescription mask, I still have a desire to swim deeper and longer into the blue.
My father and my brother are both certified to dive. They just went on an amazing adventure to the Cayman Islands, getting up close and personal with Caribbean sea life. While based on Little Cayman is an oasis for scuba divers, there’s not much else to do. Reed-filled beaches don’t allow for swimming or snorkeling, and the reefs are too deep to see from the surface.
I’d love to join them on the next trip, so it’s time to invest in the idea of scuba diving myself! Besides my immediate family, my cousin Chloe and her boyfriend have masters degrees in marine biology. They’ve been encouraging me to do a certification course in the UK. Here’s some of the options available to scuba – which I hope to do soon!
Climate and your expectations about depth are the two main factors when choosing dive gear. Any dive centers will have rental equipment for tanks and mouth pieces, but investing in a wet and dry suit is ideal for serious divers. Most divers will need additional accessories such as fins, gloves, a dive knife and more.
Underwater cameras are pretty much a given as well alongside all the other essential equipment. I have a GoPro, but something made specifically for depths and light under the water would be ideal. A flash and sturdy handles are also key to great underwater images.
Levels of scuba certification
A basic open water certification is great for most divers who are starting out. This allows you to dive with a buddy (ALWAYS with a buddy) to a reasonable depth, around 120 feet maximum. Next up are more advanced courses to help you manage your surroundings, then later on can certify you to help your fellow dive buddies, or even lead a dive group.
Where to get scuba certified
While I plan for the trip to Thailand, I thought a certification course could be fun to book. But with the nervousness over the idea of scuba, I think I’d be more comfortable in the UK or US.
Scuba certification is a global test, so you can give it a try almost anywhere. But consider the conditions – for instance, does cold water drive you crazy? Maybe a pool test run first or somewhere in the Caribbean would be suitable.
To be extra cautious, look for centers that offer PADI courses, which are internationally recognized, or some other global federation that will be honored no matter where you dive.
Do you know how to scuba dive? Where is you favorite place to do it? If not, would you ever want to try?