Having pre-dive jitters, even before stepping foot in a pool is not uncommon. While some new divers feel comfortable from the get go, others struggle or panic with the thought of putting their head underwater.
After teaching hundreds of divers, and overcoming my own fear of scuba diving, I find that new divers often share some of the same common fears. If you are thinking about trying scuba diving for the first time but have some trepidation, we’ve broken down 5 of the most common fears new scuba divers share to help calm your nerves before a dive.
1. Putting your head underwater
Before your first open water dive you will practice new skills in a pool or shallow confined water. After getting familiar with your dive gear, the first thing your instructor will ask you to do is to put the regulator in your mouth, take a few breaths and then put your face in the water.
Once you feel comfortable with your face in the water you are ready to descend onto your knee’s in the pool. If you still feel nervous don’t rush yourself and take as many breaths you need standing up with you face in the water until you are ready.
You can find more information about how to breathe from a regulator here.
2. Breathing Underwater
It’s ok to be nervous, humans weren’t built to breathe underwater which is why we invented scuba. Your scuba regulator is designed to give you all the air you need underwater. Have confidence in your equipment.
Stay calm and breathe normally taking long slow breaths. If you find yourself getting nervous, you start breathing heavily and can feel out of breath. Make sure to signal your instructor and take a minute to slow down.
3. Feeling claustrophobic
New divers often express they feel claustrophobic underwater. This can even cause some people to back out of scuba diving before they even get started. Remember the earth is over 70% water! You have more space underwater than above, so there is no need to feel closed in.
Some of this fear comes from wearing a scuba mask and not being able to breathe from your nose. If you know that being unable to breathe from your nose will affect you, try to pinch your nose and practice breathing from your mouth before hitting the water.
4. Clearing your mask
Clearing your mask is one of the first, and most important skills you will learn. New divers often struggle with this skill. When you try clearing your mask the biggest mistake people make is to blow air from their mouth instead of their nose. This results in people getting water up their nose, which is quite uncomfortable.
Don’t give up on this skill. Practice makes perfect and after a few tries the success rate rises dramatically and you’re one step closer to conquering all your diving fears. Here are three tips which are helpful to know for clearing your dive mask.
5. Marine life
After mastering all your confined water skills and making it past the pool you’re ready for your first open water dive. The ocean is full of interesting creatures, which is why we learn to dive in the first place.
It is normal to be nervous before taking the plunge especially if you are worried about the marine life you will encounter. Underwater you will notice that fish and marine life keep their distance as they are more afraid of you than you are of them. This applies for all creatures big and small.
Overcoming your fear
Scuba diving will open your eyes to many unknowns, and it’s alright to feel scared or nervous before your dive. Overcoming your fear of diving will empower you and give you the confidence you need
Have you overcome a fear of diving or wish you could dive but are still dealing with some level of fear. Leave a message in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.