you are new to the sport of diving, welcome to the underwater world.
You have joined a fast growing population of scuba enthusiasts around
And if you are dreaming about or planning your first dive vacation,
we offer the following tips and suggestions to help guide you and answer
some of your questions. We also hope that it will help you to gain more
confidence in how to plan and what to expect.
Planning your first dive trip is exciting, but can also result in unnecessary
anxiety. You are excited about that first exotic experience, but you
are not quite sure of what to expect. It all seems so overwhelming.
If this is where you are right now, take comfort in the fact that many
have trversed this path before you. Every dive vacation should be planned
very carefully , but this is especially true of your first few trips.
Plan your initial vacations to help you gain experience, become more
comfortable, and develop proficiency with your diving skills. Sure,
that slick ad looked great hawking the opening of diving on the Bikini
Atoll. And they are probably some of the most fantastic experiences
a diver could hope for. But at this point, they are not for you.
Choose a location with good visibility, within your Open Water depth
limits, and lacking of strong currents. Nice comfortable, easy dives
will help you become acclimated to the underwater environment, it's
inhabitants, your equipment, and diving from charter boats. You have
your certification now, but there is still a tremendous amount to learn.
Let's take a look at some of these more closely.
Become comfortable with the environment - Diving comfortably will allow
you to fine tune your buoyancy, fin kicks and breathing habits. Until
you master these, you should avoid swimming over corals or wrecks. Corals
can be easily damaged by touching or kicking, not to mention that coming
into contact with types such as fire coral will make you wish you had
steered clear. And many wrecks, particularly if they have been around
awhile, can have lethal weapons jutting out from their mass, monfilament
line to become entangled in, and dark recesses luring you inside.
Become comfortable with marine life - If you are ocean diving, there
are a multitude of critters you will become familiar with. The sea is
teeming with color. Take the time to learn what they are and their general
habits. It makes diving so much more fun if you know the residents.
And at some point in time, you will probably get to meet some of the
larger ocean creatures as well. Morey eels, barracuda and sharks probably
cause the most anxiety in newer divers. But remember what you learned
in your training. Most critters are defensive in nature. Leave them
alone and they will do the same. In time you will probably become like
most divers who relish the experience of seeing big critters, because
it is so rare.
Become comfortable with your equipment - First and foremost, if you
plan on diving as often as possible, purchase your own equipment. Comfort
is best achieved by being familiar with your own gear. You should have
bought fins, mask and snorkel for your initial training. Now you should
acquire a BCD that fits correctly, is comfortable and provides sufficient
lift. Choose a regulator that feels comfortable in your mouth, and breathes
easily to you. Your wetsuit should neither be too tight or loose. A
proper fitting suit should be snug, but allow a film of water to help
insulate your body. Get your own weight belt so that you can adjust
your weights comfortably to the contours of your hips and to profile
your body in the water correctly.
As you use and grow accustomed to your equipment, donning, adjusting
and diving with it will become second nature.
Choose your first charters with care. Diving from a crowded boat can
be unnerving for any diver. Learn to use good "dive boat ettiquette"
by using your space on the boat proficiently. This should start with
packing your gear in the order that you will need it once you begin
setting up your tanks and getting ready to dive. This way you will avoid
plundering through your dive back and scattering your beloning all over
the deck for another diver to trip over.
If all of this sounds just a little overwhelming, rest assured it is
not. Like anything else that is new to you, it is a learning process.
Just remember to start easy and work your way along. There will be plenty
of time to expand your limits later on.
You may want to consider combing further training with your vacation.
An advanced class or a selection of specialty dives are available to
help you reach a more comfortable and proficient level. Under the guidance
of an instructor, you can learn the skills talked about here and many
more. These classes require little or no academic time and provide you
with some excellent diving experiences. And they are available at most