When non-divers hear the words “scuba diving,” many might imagine being surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and vibrantly-colored fish. Others imagine being attacked by sharks while breathing like Darth Vader through a straw-sized tube. The truth is that diving isn’t as scary as you might think, and it might just be the most exciting and rewarding thing you ever try. Here are the top five reasons why you should ditch the fear and sign up for a scuba class today.
Diving brings you to places you might not otherwise visit—or even know about.
Can you point out Belize on a map? Do you know what’s in Thailand other than nice beaches and ladyboys? Does the Mediterranean have anything to offer except great food? Have you even heard of Bonaire? These places all have one thing in common: they’re popular diving destinations! Divers from all over the world flock to these reefs. Bonus: they’ve all got great beaches too!
Diving helps you meet new and interesting people from all over the world.
Divers are diverse; in fact, the only thing that they all have in common is their love of the underwater world. They come from all countries and span the full range of age, income, interests, and experience. Some love the warm water and colorful reefs of the Caribbean, while others prefer the colder water and larger marine life of the Pacific Northwest. Divers also love to exchange the stories and photos, often over a post-dive happy hour drink!
It’s easy to get started.
Divers are required to take a class and get certified before they can venture out on their own. However, most dive schools offer a sort of “discover scuba” class, where a diving instructor teaches you a few basic skills and leads you on an underwater tour. It only takes a few hours, it doesn’t cost much, and the skills aren’t difficult to master. You can also skip that class and enroll directly into a certification class, which usually takes a few days to complete. Local dive schools are more abundant than you might think, but you can often find them at resorts and even on some cruise ships.
There’s always room to improve and learn.
The world of diving has so much to offer that a single class couldn’t possibly cover it all. Night diving, shipwreck exploration, deep diving, drysuit diving, and enriched air diving are just a few of the specialties you can try. You can become a rescue diver, a search and recovery diver, or even a diving instructor. You can learn how to mix different breathing gases and go to incredible depths, or learn how to safely explore underwater caves. You can learn the names of the animals and plants you see, and learn to document those sightings to assist with worldwide scientific studies of ocean health. Nobody ever ‘gets bored’ with diving.
It makes you a more interesting person.
Many people are curious about diving, but relatively few people ever try it. This is unfortunate, but it means that people will always be interested in your experiences. Whether you have professional-grade photos or just vivid memories, you’ll always have something to share at a work function or holiday party. Nobody wants to see another generic beach photo. But a photo of you swimming with sharks? Very cool.
Photos: riekiss, Safari Partners and Jihye Choi used under Creative Commons License