New Scuba Divers FAQ
We know you probably have a LOT of questions (I know I sure did when I first started). As a new Scuba Diver, the entire underwater world is most likely new to you. The things we take for granted knowing on the surface like grass, flowers, trees, sidewalks, etc jsut don't exist in the same way underwater. We've written down & answered some of the more common questions we hear as instructors. If you have questions about diving we missed, please ask a certified instructor or reach out to us!
This is dependent on the certifying agency and dive school you train with. In general there are 3 parts to getting certified. You have an elearning/education section you must read & pass tests to show understanding of the material. Second, you must fill out medical questionnaires and liability waivers before getting into the water (there may be a physician sign off needed depending on your medical form answers). This paperwork is pretty straightforward but important. Finally you have the diving lessons. Typically speaking, you'll spend 2 sessions in the pool (generally 3-4 hours each per session) then you'll move up to your open water dives which also has 2 sessions (generally 4-5 hours per session). You can read more on how long it takes to get your open water certification here.
What's required to get certified?
We offer both "scheduled" classes during weekends (and holidays) but also offer private classes which are much more flexible on time. You can view our scheduled scuba classes here.
Can I schedule my own classes?
For our open water students, you'll be expected to purchase your mask, fins & snorkel. The class fee covers your tanks, regulator, BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) & wetsuit rentals for the duration of the class.
What gear do I need to buy?
The fees for your initial training rangs from around $500 - $800 for your starting open water course. These fees usually do not include your personal gear (Scuba-grade mask, fins, snorkel, and boots). The scuba equipment rentals consisting of your BC/BCD, regulators, weights, tanks and wetsuit are usually included. More info: scuba certification cost.
How much does scuba cost?
Is scuba dangerous?
Scuba has dangers like any other recreational sport. The level of danger is dependent on many factors but as a general rule, diving is a safe sport as long as you stay within your training, use gear serviced on a regular schedule and have good training. Diving within your limits is a premise we teach in ALL classes.
What's a dive agency?
Recreational dive agencies (PADI, SDI, NAUI, etc) are organizations that issue certification cards to students, train instructors and generally responsible for setting the parameters of diving education & ratings. They all do things a little differently but ALL adhere to the minimum standards set by the WSRTC. While choosing which agency you are certified thru is important (you want to insure they are recognized in the area in which you are diving, the instructor is usually the most important factor.
No, but we recommend getting your own scuba equipment if you plan on diving often. Typically, if you dive at least 7 times a year or more, it makes fiscal sense to look at gear ownership. An advantage to having your own gear is knowing its condition, operation and can customize it to your needs. However, when you are starting out we recommend renting to get an idea of what you like or don't like before buying.
Should I buy my own gear after i'm certified?
Diving is not difficult. In fact, we often refer to it as the lazy persons sport. However, it does require practicing of skills to be efficient and get more out of each dive.
Is diving hard?
My child wants to dive. How old do they have to be to learn?
Some locations & agencies allow children to begin their dive experience around 8 years old. We feel this is too young. We allow a child to begin their training at 10 year old. Children this age are subject to certain restrictions to insure their safety.
How deep can I go?
Your depth rating is dependent on your certification level & agency. Most agencies initial certification have a maximum depth of 60'. The maximum allowable depth for any recreational diver is 130'. There are certification levels which go beyond that but require extensive training.
We get this question a lot. The answer is simple; no. The reason is because we have iron & other metals in our blood which is not part of the diet of any shark. It is repulsive to them, therefore if you are bleeding for any reason in the water, they will not be interested.
Does my blood attract sharks?
I'm afraid of the water, can I Scuba dive?
Honestly, it depends on your ability to overcome that fear and embrace the wondrous underwater world. As part of the certification process there are swim & float tests (without scuba gear). This helps your instructor assess your water worthiness before proceeding. Your safety is paramount to us and we will not put someone overcome by fear underwater.
I can't swim, can I scuba?
Part of becoming a certified diver is passing both a swim & float test (in a pool). You must pass these tests before moving on to scuba training. If you are unable to swim please contact us and we can provide resources which will help you learn. The requirements are:
I'm over overweight, can I dive?
Absolutely. Though physical fitness helps you be a safer and more efficient diver, you can absolutely be overweight and dive. We highly recommend getting a thorough physical before learning to scuba dive as it may involve wearing neoprene (over heating) and lifting heavy objects (tanks).
Unfortunately there is no way to answer this questions. It depends on several factors from your breathing rate, stress levels, body temperature, depth, and comfort in the water. It also depends on your tank size and how much breathing gas contained within it.
How long will a tank last?
No, there are plenty of lakes, rivers, and quarries available for you to dive in with plenty to see and do! The ocean is an amazing place with tons of fish, shipwrecks and amazing reefs. However most areas have local dive spots they use for training or to simply spend some time blowing bubbles.
Do I have to dive in the ocean to be a scuba diver?
I'm breastfeeding, can I dive?
Yes! There are many people with claustrophobia that find deep enjoyment in diving. They say that they feel like they are able to fly since they can control both forward and backward as well as side to side, but they can also control going up and down! Certain masks have clear skirts that help with feelings of claustrophobia.
I'm claustrophobic, can I dive?
Can I use snorkeling gear to scuba?
Yes and no. Your mask and snorkel should be fine as long as they properly fit your face and the mask is made of tempered glass. No to snorkeling fins (they are made for travel on top of the water and will result in you having to work harder to get where you are going under water, which means more air consumption.
Absolutely. Talk with your doctor about options. What is available over the counter is Dramamine (get non-drowsy), Bonine, QueaseEase (smelling), Seabands (pressure points), ginger beer (non-alcoholic), ginger chews, and peppermint are some popular options we have heard help. Before taking ANY medication please consult your physician and only use as recommended.
I get motion sickness, can I dive?
I need glasses, do they make Prescription masks?
Prescription masks are available in varieties of types. In general, there are 2 options: find a mask that allows for prescription lenses to be exchanged for the OEM lenses, or find the perfect mask for you and get it custom fit for your prescription. The latter is significantly more expensive than the ones that are already designed to change out prescriptions. You can plan on spending around $100 for the prescription lenses that are exchangeable. A custom mask is upwards of $250 in addition to the cost of the mask itself.
Consult your ENT, but in most cases, yes.
I had ear tubes, can I dive?
I have long hair, what do I do with it?
Chop it off! Just kidding. See below.
How do I keep my hair from tangling while diving?
We have several suggestions, but only trial and error will let you know what works best for you... Generally it you put it up in a messy bun on the top of your head and put a neoprene beanie over it, it keeps it under control. Some people like to french braid their hair, but fine hair falls out of them. A neoprene beanie is a tried & tested method of keeping those gorgeous locks under control.
Ok, go ahead and giggle, but we get this question a lot. To put it simply, there are 2 types of divers.. those that pee in their wetsuit, and liars. Seriously, it's often not convenient to end a dive so you can hop onto a boat, remove your gear and visit the head. Not only did you cut your dive short, you will not be allowed to go back down on that dive. However, it's easy enough to "flush" a wetsuit by pulling the neck seal out and letting fresh water in.
What if I have to pee while im in a wetsuit?
I love my instructor, can I take ALL of my classes with them?
We love you too. Most of our instructors are able to teach basic and advanced certifications. Just like students, instructors also have certification ratings on what they are qualified to teach. With that being said, we highly recommend finding an instructor you are comfortable with but also venture out and find other instructors. Dive instructors possess a LOT of knowledge in various areas, so one instructor may simply have more experience in a certain type of diving you are interested in.
We're with you on this one as it's really confusing terminology. A "master diver" is the pinnacle rating of a recreational diver. While there are many different certifications levels in recreational diving , master diver is "highest on the ladder", so to speak. A divemaster is the entry level professional rating and a necessary step to becoming an assistant or instructor.
What's the deal with master diver vs divemaster?
I have "X" medical condition, can I dive?
Here's the thing about diving, while it's relatively safe, you are venturing into a brand new world. There are factors you learn about like pressure, gas consumption & general laws of physics. While it's relatively safe, there are physiological factors that must be considered. Every class requires a completed medical waiver (by the student) which will lead you through the process of determining if you are "ready to go" or need to consult with your physician. Our job as instructors is to keep you safe, so if the medical form requires clearance from your physician, you will not be able to train until we receive that clearance.
I'm afraid of the water
Welcome to being human. At some point, most of us have had to come to terms with being afraid of the water. As long as you can pass a basic swim test, you are cleared to train for scuba. We start out our dives in very shallow water, shallow enough to stand. From there we have you bend over and put your face in the water (while still standing) and breathe off your regulator for a minute. After that, we baby step our way into completely submerging. For me, I feel more in control while diving because I can go up, down, sideways and moving around is much easier underwater then while snorkeling. If at any point you decide it's not for you, no one will force you to finish. Our instructors are specially trained to keep you safe and in the event of an emergency, how to get you safely to dry land.
What if I already purchased my e-learning?
How much swimming is involved?
Don't worry, you don't need to be an olympic swimmer. There are 2 "swim tests" you must complete before moving into dive training. If you need resources for swimming lessons, contact us and we will help you out.
- 200 yard swim (no time limit) with no swim aids OR 300 yard swim (no time limit) with mask, fins & snorkel (recommended).
- 10 minute float/tread with no flotation aids (neutrally buoyant)