[Advice] Scuba Certification Lessons Learned

Random Observation/Comment #339: Scuba certified! Triumph moment of May is going to be tough to top for the coming months…

see lemons dive

I’m addicted. Scuba diving is everything I’ve ever wanted from an activity and so much more. The underwater blue realm is stunningly beautiful and It’s surprisingly relaxing (when you’re not being chased by sharks).  It’s like being transported into the movie Avatar and you get free reign to hover around Pandora..

Some use diving to feel as close to zero-g as possible (it’s freaking amazing).  I use it as a form of meditation.  The reef is eerily silent and the inhaling sound from the regulator is relaxing and reassuring.   When neutrally buoyant, the amount of air in your lungs is crucial for hovering the right depth to get that closer look.  You never hold your breath, but instead learn to inhale 80%, exhale slowly to 40% to maintain buoyancy, inhale back to 100% to avoid rocks, etc.  This constant adjustment and attention to your breath is like meditation with tangible results.

Getting Scuba Certified and Things I wish I knew:

  • Diving is expensive. The eLearning/Textbooks/DVD + classroom training + 8-hour pool closed water dives were around $350. The required gear (mask, fins, booties, snorkel) are not included and cost around $250.  The open water dives that must be completed in order to get the full certification costs around $350 at the location.  All-in-all, I’d say it’s about $1000. Luckily, this is a one-time thing and you’ll be certified for life.
  • Dive resorts have full certification packages on location. If you have a 10-day vacation in one of those Caribbean islands, you’ll be able to do the eLearning ahead of time, Day 1 classroom training with exams, Day 2 pool dives, Day 3 open water dives 1 & 2, and Day 4 open water dives 3 & 4.  This package will probably cost around $650 with equipment rentals.  I don’t know if I would have wanted to do it this way because it’s a bit rushed and most people will get a little nervous.
  • Dive certification requires you to swim 8 laps and stay afloat in water for 15 minutes.  These were not difficult to do, but it may be good to let people know that they should be able to swim if they want to dive..
  • Diving is not scary and oddly natural.  I must admit, I thought it was going to be similar to my skydiving experience. This is nothing like that – it’s more relaxing and the rush is when you peer into the underwater life or swim-throughs. They teach you what to do if you run out of air, but people just don’t do that if they’re not being stupid.
  • The Dive Community is excellent.  By far one of the best parts about diving is meeting new people. You’ll find people of all age groups and backgrounds using diving for stress relief.  There are those like us who have only done 2 official dives outside of certification, and others who in the past 3 years have done 200.  The thing we all have in common is that we’re addicted to the thrill and the sights. It’s really hard to explain, but when you see it, I guarantee you won’t stop either.

Final thought: It’s definitely worth the money (if you can afford it) and effort (if you’re into cool stuff) to get certified. Even as I write this now, the thought of doing more dives makes me giddy and excited.  I’ll probably start doing some underwater photography – I love combining hobbies.

~See Lemons Dive