The world of SCUBA is an exciting one. But you can’t just pick up some cheap gear and dive right in.
Instead, you’ll need some classes and know what kind of gear for the diving that you’re planning on doing.
So, if you’re new then read on and we’ll explore what you need to do to get out on your first dive.
Before you can breach the marine surface to gaze at what lies beneath you’ll need to get certified.
Many organizations offer courses, but the one which is used most frequently is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. It’s recognized worldwide and can open you up to an amazing amount of experience in the end.
Most people will be satisfied with the Open Water Diver certification, which usually takes 3-5 days to complete depending on your own skills and the instructor. This certification is recognized internationally, allowing you to dive up to 60 feet deep as long as you have a partner.
It’s important to at least complete the Open Water Diver course if you’re planning on diving frequently, so bring along a friend. It’ll reduce costs by quite a bit since you won’t need to have a professional along on every dive.
The course itself consists of an academic portion, a practical session which is held in a pool or other contained body of water, and finally four different dives in the waters of a lake or ocean.
Once you’ve completed all of these you’ll be able to get the gear you need for future dives.
Those who are serious about SCUBA will most likely want to continue to advance their skills. PADI offers an Advanced Open Water course and from there you’ll find more specialized courses to suit the kind of diving you’re planning on getting into.
You’ll usually be able to find an instructor at the nearest dive center and the initial certification will most likely run you between $300-$500.
The basic course is a bit intensive, but you’ll be able to dive safely after you’ve completed it.
Rent or Own Your SCUBA Gear?
SCUBA gear is rather expensive, especially when we’re talking about regulators and tanks.
That means most non-professional divers will opt to rent the majority, or all, of their gear. It makes the hobby much less expensive overall, especially if you’re not planning on hopping in the water on a daily or weekly basis.
Others opt to purchase their own gear, particularly those who’ve sought out high-level certifications and plan on diving on a regular basis.
The biggest difference is fit. The better your suit, fins, masks, and other pieces of the ensemble fit the more comfortable you’ll be in the water. For this reason, we recommend getting as much of your own gear as possible.
So, What Kind of Gear Do I Need?
As a newbie, the dive shop you’re working with is likely to have most of the gear you’re looking for. The rental cost is often included in the cost of the course itself so you should probably go that route.
Afterward, there’s a few key pieces of gear you’ll want to look into getting for yourself.
Wetsuit or Drysuit
Wetsuits and drysuits are often the first piece of gear that a newbie buys. The difference is pretty big: wetsuits allow water to pass through them and trap a layer over the skin. This will allow you to get some insulation from the water warmed by your own body heat.
Thicker wetsuits are generally used as temperatures drop, but they don’t cut it in ever climate.
Drysuits are made for extremely cold water. They keep water out of your suit and have a baggy fit, allowing you to wear insulating layers under them. In addition, they have a regulator which also allows you to bring gas in to form an additional insulating layer.
Most divers will only need a wetsuit, and having one around can increase comfort due to a better fit than a rental.
Most divers will want to purchase their own fins. They’ll have less wear than rentals and they’re not super expensive, so finding a good pair that suits your swimming style will help a lot.
Masks are important to your dive and they can range from rather cheap to rather expensive.
There are a ton of varieties out there depending on what you’re doing. For instance, in night time dives you can use a polarized dive mask to get a better view underwater.
It really depends on application and personal taste, but some people still opt for rentals. That’s particularly the case if you’re only doing shallow, clear water dives where a regular mask will work just fine.
One piece of gear which isn’t always available as a rental are scuba diving computers. These are used to calculate the length of time you have left, and how rapidly you can ascend while still avoiding the bends on deeper dives.
Ready for the World of SCUBA?
When you’re getting ready to dive into the ocean it can take quite a bit of preparation. This is just a basic overview of what you’ll need: the truth is that there is a ton more to the world of SCUBA than we were able to include.
Still, it’s much easier than many people think to get certified and get yourself into open water. What are you waiting for? It all starts with a PADI certificate and then the possibilities are endless.
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