We’re often asked questions by new scuba divers, this guide answers just about all of them

1. Is scuba diving safe?

Scuba diving is generally considered safe when practiced properly and within your limits. However, like any activity, it carries inherent risks. Proper training, certification, and adherence to safety guidelines are crucial.

2. What are the basic requirements to go scuba diving?

To scuba dive safely you need to complete a diving certification course from a recognised organisation like BSAC, CMAS, PADI, SSI, or NAUI. Some courses, like those from BSAC, are more thorough than others.

3. Where are the best places to go diving?

A subject dear to our hearts. We’ve been asking divers which dives they prefer for years, and are proud to have compiled the definitive guide to the top ten dives in the world. We also know the:

Choose your location, or favourite dive type, and off you go.

4. How deep can I dive as a beginner?

The maximum depth for newly qualified divers depends on the training you have received, but is generally 18 or 20 m. Younger divers may be less deep, for example a PADI Open Water Diver who is under 12 can dive to 12 m.

5. What equipment do I need for scuba diving?

When learning you can often hire all the equipment, but you’ll soon want to buy some of your own. If you tend to get cold make sure you get a well fitting wetsuit plus your basic kit of mask, fins and snorkel. Again, make sure your mask fits well. Put it onto your face without the strap on and breath in. Does it stay on?

6. Can I scuba dive if I can’t swim?

If you are able to learn to swim – do! You don’t have to be fast, just comfortable and confident in the water. But if you have a disability which means you can’t swim, you can still dive. More and more dive training centres around the world are now offering courses for disabled divers.

7. How long does it take to get certified?

This depends on your course, typically 4-5 days for an entry-level qualification

8. I have a medical condition, can I scuba dive?

You need to consult your doctor and possibly get a diving medical. Ask for a medical form from your chosen dive training agency.

9. How long can I stay underwater while scuba diving?

It depends on many factors. How deep you go (the deeper the dive the more air you breathe), how experienced you are (new divers tend to use a lot more air than the more experienced), how fit you are (fitter divers tend to use less air), how warm the water is, how much work you are doing underwater (swimming hard or just floating about). In warm water an experienced diver stays down for around an hour.

10. Can 60 or 70 year olds scuba dive?

Jacques Cousteau, the inventor of scuba diving, called it “the sport for active grandmothers“, and he was still diving in his eighties. If you are fit then yes, you can scuba dive. If in any doubt consult your doctor and get a diving medical.

11. How can I minimise my environmental impact when scuba diving?

  1. Good buoyancy control is essential so you don’t damage the underwater environment – crashing into, for example, coral.
  2. In warm water don’t wear gloves – you will be more careful about where you put your hands.
  3. Use reef-safe sunscreen: many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that can damage coral reefs and marine life.
  4. Avoid bringing single-use plastics or disposable items on dive trips. For example, opt for reusable water bottles.
  5. Get involved in local marine conservation projects or volunteer for beach cleanups to help protect marine ecosystems and reduce pollution. If you don’t live near the sea, join a marine conservation society.
  6. Respect marine life: observe marine life from a safe distance and avoid disturbing or harassing animals.
  7. Choose a responsible dive operator which has environmentally friendly policies in place.

Got another question? Just ask

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