Certified 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!

Your advanced certification is made up of 5 specialty dives (A specialty dive is the 1st dive of the specialty certification class). 2 of these dives MUST include a deep & navigation dive. The other 3 dives MUST consist of at least 2 in-water activities (many students choose wreck & buoyancy) and the last dive can either be in-water OR classroom (we HIGHLY recommend Nitrox*). A typical advanced schedule looks like this:


Doing the 1st dive of Nitrox will NOT certify you to use this breathing gas BUT you can do the full class and earn your Nitrox certification while qualifying as a dive to earn your advanced certification. Read more about earning your advanced certification.

Earning your advanced certification gives you a "taste" of different specialities, the speciality certification itself is a very deep dive (lol) into that specific type of diving. There's no real "right" answer for this question as it depends totally on the type of diving you want to do.

Earning a speciality certification involves e-learning specific to that certification, a knowledge review with an instructor,  multiple dives (in most cases) and you will receive a separate certification card showing you've earned that rating.

Every person is different but, generally speaking, many divers start their advanced certification immediately after their Open Water certification. The advanced certification process is designed to help you gain additional diving experience. If you plan on diving off the North Carolina coast, you'll definitely want to get your advanced certification as a LOT of the cool stuff is below 60'. You can learn more about earning your advanced certification here.

As you likely already know, diving is a very location dependent activity. Each location generally has their own special requirements & needed skill sets. For diving in North Carolina, we highly recommend the following specialty certifications:

Advanced (gets you additional experience & increases your depth rating to 100').
Nitrox (allows for longer NDL times).
Deep (Off of our coast we have some great diving below 100').
Wreck (NC has some of the best wreck diving in the world).
Navigation (While we love aimlessly wandering underwater, sometimes you wanna know where you are going).
Buoyancy (Learn how to adjust your own trim and techniques to make you look fabulous, and use less gas, underwater).

LDS is short for your local dive shop and usually a great place to see, try on and purchase gear. Most locations also offer scuba tank inspections, fill station, gear repair/servicing. Local dive communities simply can’t exist or flourish without a LDS with a good reputation.

Having a properly fitting mask from the beginning is vital. If you visited your local LDS staff, they should helped you determine if the mask you liked properly fit your face type.

If your mask just started to leak after not having issues, there are a couple of things that can be happening. Your mask may be too loose or too tight (yes, that will make it leak!), the strap may be too low/too high on your head (it should rest on the crown on the back of your head, it may have a tear in the skirt material or, for men, you may need to groom your beard to allow for a better seal.

If you find yourself smiling a lot underwater (we sure do), you’ll find it can also flood your mask. We haven’t found a mask (outside of a full face mask) which prevents flooding when smiling.

A technical diver is a catch all title for divers who have undergone extensive training and obtained certifications which allow them to go beyond recreational or no stop time limits. It’s important to note these divers acknowledge the safety factors in doing so and have developed a precise skill set & equipment inventory which maximize their safety in doing so.

For some people, it may certainly be unnerving, at least at the beginning. Night diving has a lot to offer that daytime diving does not. You are much more likely to see nocturnal creatures like octopus, lobsters, and crabs as well as see completely different behavior from creatures you know well.

While most pictures of scuba diving feature also limitless visibility, that’s not necessarily reality (unless you live in the Caribbean – in which case call us, we should be friends). Many bodies of water have less than perfect visibility and that requires a different skillset. The best way I can explain it is by using flight terminology. When you earn your private pilots license, you operate under VFR (Visual Flight Rules). If you plan on flying in low visibility conditions (night, rain, etc), you’ll have to undergo IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) training. Same goes for diving. While watching your gauges while diving is less complicated than flying a plane at night, you’ll want to make sure you full understand your computer and practice in controlled environments. 

We offer certifications in night/low visibility diving if you’d like to gain more experience.

Go diving of course! We highly recommend taking a refresher course with an instructor if it’s been a while since your last dive. Diving skills are perishable and we offer refresher scuba courses which get you back into the water with an instructor to run you through skills, dive around some and essentially get you comfortable in the water again.

If you own your own scuba gear, you definitely want to check the recommended service interval and have everything serviced by an authorized technician prior to using it in the water. We offer scuba equipment servicing for specific brands of equipment.

There’s a few different kick types that are widely used in Scuba diving. The “flutter” kick is what you’ve most likely seen. The downside with this kick is if you are close to the bottom (or inside a wreck), it can stir up a massive amount of silt. The “frog” kick is used by experienced divers as it keeps the water from being forced down into the silt. We recommend this video from SDI on proper finning techniques.

Absolutely, for signalling your buddy. For swimming? Absolutely not. Using your hands while diving is a sure way to burn up your gas supply more quickly while being mostly ineffective. Typically, if you feel you need to use your hands on a dive, there’s an issue elsewhere. It could be as simple as having a tank too high/too low, overweighting or other gear issues. If you find you cannot dive without hand swimming, our advanced buoyancy course would be a great course to help you sort out your issues.

None of it works. If it says “waterproof”, that means you’ll be a waterproofed raccoon when you come out of the water. We’ve never seen, heard of or experienced anything that works underwater for that long. Just be your beautiful, natural self! The only alternative is wearing a full face mask and avoid getting your face wet at all.

I experienced this myself as a newly certified diver and KNOW i’m not alone. As a newly certified diver you tend to be very observant of your gas level (as you should be). However, there is typically NOT voodoo making you burn a lot of gas when you first go under* (There are factors like anxiety, working against current, temperature that WILL impact your gas usage).

What we’ve found, more often than not, is it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with water temperature which interacts with your tank that’s been sitting in the sun. As your tank warms up, pressure increases. So when you check it before going in you may have 3500 psi. Once you hit the cooler water, it will cool the tank quickly and can drop your pressure 200-300 psi, or more

Yes, you should.. diving is a great way to clear out the sinuses and no one wants that epic post-dive photo to be marred by a snot glob.

This is probably the #1 question we get asked by new & existing divers. The short answer is yes, they are dangerous, but mostly to fish. Sharks have evolved over millennia to be very efficient predators. However, the only things that need to worry are the fish they eat. Sharks are apex predators and they most often find old, weak  or injured fish to prey upon.

Sharks generally take only a passing interest to divers UNLESS they are either acting wounded OR have fish on them (spear fishing). Even then, divers a pretty sizable when underwater, we’re noisy, generally smell bad and not their food. 

If you have sharks around, enjoy their grace and majestic nature, don’t act like food and keep your distance. There are tons of great articles around on interacting with sharks