So you’ve decided you want to take the plunge and learn to scuba dive! Great, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together this list of 5 things to know, before your first open water dive. These simple tips will help you feel more comfortable and ready to master scuba diving from day one.
1. Get help from the pro’s
It is important to get training from a certified diving professional before your first open water dive. You instructor will have you watch a new diver video and have you answer some questions before the dive.
When you are visiting a dive center, ask to sign up for the PADI Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) course. The DSD course is a one day intro to scuba diving experience.
The course includes classroom work covering basic skills and safety, followed by skills practice in a pool or confined water, followed by an open water dive. After the dive, if you love the experience you can enroll in a full course and apply your first dive to any PADI Open Water or PADI Scuba Diver course.
2. Practice your skills first in a pool or confined water
Practice makes perfect, and scuba diving is no exception. It is important to practice all your new skills in a shallow pool or confined water before diving in open water. If there is no pool available, your instructor should choose a calm setting in the ocean or a lake where you can touch the bottom, and easily stand up with your head above water.
3. Make sure your equipment fits properly
Once you’ve signed up for a dive course, plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your first dive. You want to leave enough time before the dive to fill out all the necessary paperwork, and not to be rushed when picking out the appropriately sized equipment.
Mask | You will want to pay extra attention to find a mask which fits your face. Your mask is a very important piece of dive equipment, and it is important that it fits your face properly.
Fins | You will also want to make sure your fins are the right size. Fins that are too tight can cause cramps in your feet and legs, and fins which are too big could fall off during a dive.
Wetsuit | Make sure your wetsuit fits snug but not too tight around you neck. If you find the wetsuit is very loose around the neck, more water will get in the wetsuit, and you might find yourself getting cold underwater. Try wearing an extra layer under the wetsuit, and consider purchasing a personal wetsuit for your next dive holiday.
4. Ask for help if you haven’t mastered a new skill
Before your first dive, you will practice removing your regulator underwater and clearing water from your mask. You should feel 100% confident while performing these skills in confined water.
If you don’t feel like you have mastered the skill, ask your instructor if you can practice again before your open water dive. You should be able to perform every skill with confidence, whether it be the first or the last dive of your course.
5. Keep calm and catch your breath
Jumping in the water for your very first dive can give you butterflies, and most if not all new divers will feel nervous before getting in the water. It is important to stay calm and keep your breathing regular before your dive.
If you are feeling scared or nervous and breathing quickly before a dive, it becomes a lot harder to catch your breath once you’re are underwater. Let your instructor know you need a minute to catch your breath before the dive, and always remember the most important rule of scuba diving, never hold your breath!