The formal name–Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus–seems daunting. However, scuba diving has become a pastime enjoyed by millions worldwide, from those just beginning to learn scuba diving basics to those who invest thousands in gear and descend to treacherous, unforgiving dive sites.
For most folks, their experience with scuba diving is part of a lovely vacation. They stroll a tropical beach or boulevard, and a happy salesman pitches them the wonder and ease of a joyous hour-or-so under the waves. Can it really be that simple? Indeed.
Getting Ready for Undersea Fun
Scuba diving doesn’t require you to be an amazing swimmer. In fact, much of the basic training has been designed to show you just how unnecessary that is. The first step in your experience will likely be to squeeze into a full-body wetsuit. Don’t worry–it’s tight on everyone, and that’s for good reason. The tighter the suit, the less drag you have in the water. You’ve already become a slightly better swimmer just by jumping and squishing into the suit!
The next step in gearing up for your adventure will likely be time spent learning how to use your “regulator.” That word shouldn’t be scary–it’s simply the mouthpiece you’ll use to breathe like the fishes you’re about to see do–underwater! The technical side of this is that your regulator is hooked up to a large tank full of delicious oxygen for your use under the sea. So you’ll be carrying that tank with you, but it seems a small price to pay–as it will allow you to stay submerged and breathing without issue.
Most guides will then have you plop on a nearby bench, either located near the dive site or the boat dedicated to take you there, to flipper up. Not only are you breathing like the fishies, but you now get the perk of using a fish-like adaptation to aid in your movement. Strapping a pair of flippers to your feet will allow even the worst swimmer to move gracefully through the water with a small amount of practice. Just remember to alternate those kicks and avoid flailing your legs. Finally, the piece of gear that may be the most important in creating a lasting memory will be strapped on–your mask or eyewear.
What good would spending time amongst the beautiful fish and corals without the ability to clearly see them? The eyewear will be an integral part of giving you a nice viewing window to check out the clownfish playing in the anemones, the rays slowly gliding over the hard corals and sponges, and the shark making a beeline for you–just kidding! Though sharks are much more plentiful underwater than on land, the fact that you will likely be in a large group of fellow tourist divers and led by an instructor will preclude them from seeing you as a potential meal.
Final Words of Encouragement
Scuba diving is an amazing way to spend an afternoon, and despite the fact that it incorporates a ton of cutting-edge technological innovation to allow its participants the experience the feeling of living underwater, it’s quite simple to do. Even for a first-time participant, the basics are easy to learn and the water is fine. Dive in!