10 Reasons Why You Should Scuba Dive

10 Reasons Why You Should Scuba Dive

Becoming a scuba diver is kind of like getting inducted into an elite club. Regardless of race, religion and creed, divers from all walks of life share a camaraderie and common ground from which friendships and conversations have sprung where they normally wouldn’t.

Why? Because divers normally share similar interest in the beauty of nature and . . . let’s face it you need be somewhat brazen to face the risks of breathing through a tube at the bottom of the ocean, lake or river.

Most people find this concept a little scary. Breathing compressed air at most depths means you can’t just come up for air if something goes wrong. Additionally, when you tell a non-diver you scuba dive its common to hear “You’re not scared of sharks?” It’s a common and culturally re-enforced notion that an oversized and unforeseen sea creature will gobble you up when you’re least suspecting.

The list below is not only meant to dispel some common myths and fears around scuba diving but also outline the amazing experiences and thrills that can be enjoyed by this cool hobby.

1.) There are countless beautiful dive locations around the globe

Getting SCUBA certified opens up an entire world of opportunity when it comes to travel. While it may not be the intention of your next vacation it can be an additional activity on your vacation itinerary.

If you live on the north, central or south content of the America’s you already have hundreds of amazing dive destinations that might take you a lifetime to get too. The southeastern United States offers incredible reef and wreck diving sites from the Gulf of Mexico to the Keys of Florida and the Bahamas.

In Central America, the tropical waters of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica both offer world class dive sites on both the pacific and Atlantic sides of the continent.  

Smugglers Plane Wreck. A popular dive site off Norman Cay, Bahamas. IMAGE CREDIT: CRAIG HATFIELD CC

Belize is also a fantastic destination commonly known for the Blue Hole and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.The number of worldwide dive locations, ocean floor topography, dive types and marine life are enough to fill a lifetime. Get out there!

Blue Hole - Belize. A popular dive site among Scuba divers and free divers. IMAGE CREDIT: ERIC PHETERSON CC.

2.) SCUBA diving is relatively safe with the proper training and precautions

Jumping into the water with a breathing tube and a metal canister strapped to your back sounds like a bad idea if you aren’t a strong swimmer or have an irrational fear of the water. It’s understandable that most people are concerned with the unknowns of being at the sea floor and wanting to surface for air and being unable too should something go wrong.

Having respect for the ocean and potential hazards you might encounter is necessary however, when proper training, preparation and precautions are taken, scuba diving is very safe.

Scuba Training in a swimming pool. This is normally the transition between the classroom portion of training and the open water. IMAGE CREDIT: BotMultichillT CC

SCUBA diving annual mortality rates are only slightly higher than motor vehicle mortality rates. The motor vehicle mortality rate is 12 deaths per 100,000 driver annually versus 16 deaths per 100,000 SCUBA divers.

Data shows a number of different causes of death that point to risk factors other than just being a healthy individual that takes normal precautions (if you’d like to dig into the statistics you can find some here).

Doing a pre dive check, dive flag usage, using the buddy system and paying attention to air and depth are important and necessary when it comes to staying safe underwater.

3.) You won't get eaten by sharks

If were to ask most divers, chances are that most have seen a shark while diving and they would tell you that sharks are either curious or passing through. You’ve probly heard some of the numbers that people rattle off when discussing your chances of getting bit by a shark. . In case you haven’t you can read more here.

A diver more concerned with catching up on his reading than the threat of sharks. IMAGE CREDIT Barnaby Dorfman CC

Your chances of getting killed by a shark are 1 in 264 million and while that number may fluctuate year to year you’re still going to have a better chance of winning most lottery’s or getting struck by lightning.

The vast majority of shark attacks occur because the shark either mistakes a human for food (a seal for example) or the diver or swimmer is holding a bleeding fish. Unless you are holding a bleeding fish underwater, sharks are normally going to steer clear you.

Many dive charters offer shark diving expeditions in which the purpose is. .you guessed it. .to dive with sharks.

4.) It can be done regularly on a budget

Most hobbies require an investment of time and money. Scuba diving is no different and, while you can easily spend thousands of dollars on gear, you don’t have too. For new divers, renting equipment initially can save you upfront cost while still allowing you to get started.

Purchasing gear that needs to be specifically fitted and personalized like a mask and fins is essential however you don’t need to initially purchase the more costly equipment like a buoyancy control device or regulator initially.

Once you’ve purchased a mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit you can rent your BCD, octopus and tanks for relatively cheap. Most dive shops in Florida charge anywhere from $40 to $80 to rent a BCD, regulator and a couple tanks for the day.

5.) Diving fulfills your sense of adventure

Scuba diving allows humans to interact with and view a foreign environment in which we would not normally have access to. It’s like being an astronaut in the sense that it requires a degree of skill, training, equipment and physical ability that allow you to go where people weren’t intended too.

It isn’t until you’ve been there and seen the creatures and corals that live on and near the sea floor that you can begin to appreciate the experience. Scuba diving is different than viewing corals, reef fish, rays and turtles in an aquarium. You are in the wild with them and what you see isn’t relegated to what’s been stocked in the aquarium.

Diving provides a sense of accomplishment and activity. Between getting your gear together, getting to the boat, completing your dive and getting back home there are two things you can be sure of . . . you bound to be hungry and you will have burned more calories than spending your Saturday on the sofa.

6.) Its a great way to spend the day with your partner or friends

Similar to any exciting and exclusive activity experienced with friends, diving can engender camaraderie and bonding. Divers share a common ground . . . but it’s more profound than your office softball league. Recreational divers share a common love for the ocean and a desire to experience it firsthand on their terms.

A dive group gets together for a photo at virginia state park. IMAGE CREDIT: Virginia State Parks CC

Realizing these experiences requires more than floating on the surface and looking down. Experiencing the beauty of an environment you’re body wasn’t designed for and coming back in one piece tends to immediately spark conversation . . . almost as soon as you’re back on the surface.

Diving is a great hobby for couples because you’re going to need a dive buddy. If you’ve just moved to a new city and you’re lucky to be near the coast, diving will provide you with instant friendships.

7.) Chances are you live in a dive friendly location

Over half of the people living in America are concentrated in counties bordering the coastline according to NOAA. The numbers are also pretty close to half when you look at the worldwide population living near the coast.

Most coastal communities are going to have dive shops and resources. They might be further and fewer in between depending on your location though. If you’re in the southeastern coastal or west coastal area’s you can be sure to find a dive community and certifying center that accessible.

There are even dive friendly locations in states you wouldn’t expect. For example TexasOutside.com provides information on a number of interesting dive sites on the interior and coastal areas of Texas . . . a state known for long stretches of solid ground.

8.) Your first dive won't be a dark and scary experience

. . . Because a dive class is designed to ease you into the process gradually while being monitored by seasoned and professional master divers.

Your first time putting on gear and getting in the water actually happens in a swimming pool. This will get you comfortable using your dive gear and maneuvering with it on in the water. After you’ve gotten comfortable in the pool and taken a written on what you learned in the classroom, the last step in the certification is normally an ocean dive with a class of your peers and your dive instructor / dive master.

Dive courses through certifying organizations like PADI are taught by Master Divers. Master divers through PADI (the world’s largest certifying organization) are required to have 50 logged dives and certification in advanced diving classes like wreck and nitrox classes. The reality is that most dive masters have been diving for years, have encountered risky situations and have numerous dives in various conditions under their belt.

Although you might have the jitters, don’t worry . . . everyone normally does. Your dive instructor will be there to watch you.

9.) SCUBA diving will give you a new respect and love for the ocean

Throughout history humans have faced various humanitarian, ecological and economic crises that trend to large scale levels of awareness. The awareness of human pollution in the form of plastics and non-biodegradable materials to be a topic of concern and the ocean needs more advocates for changing the current paradigm.

IMAGE CREDIT: Muntaka Chasant CC

SCUBA diving will broaden your understanding of why we need to preserve our oceans and marine environments. All too often we as divers notice the increasing amount of trash in the ocean that wasn’t previously seen.

All peoples with a love for our oceans and coastlines need to realize that the catalyst for change starts at the individual level. Supporting companies like RebornRubber , a business that makes products from used materials, or 4Ocean, a business that removes trash from the ocean as a commitment for each purpose, can raise awareness and promote change in the environment.

10.) You can keep your dives entry level or build to an advanced level

Diving a 20 foot reef can be an amazing experience. A dive of that depth can render a variety of interesting fish and marine mammals as well as intensly beautiful corals but if you are one to push the limits there are plenty of courses on technical and deep water diving available to you.

Technical diver returning from a 178 metres (584 ft) dive to the SS Kyogle in Queensland, Australia. IMAGE CREDIT: Magnus Manske CC

Depending on where you live the focus of your diving might vary. For example is you live in an area that has a number of shipwrecks and manmade reefs then you might want to specialize and learn more about diving wrecks.

Diving the MV Cominoland Wreck in Gozo Malta IMAGE CREDIT: Mal B CC

PADI has a number is focus based classes that are available after your initial SCUBA certification. Many divers get a nitrox certification after they become open water certified. Rescue diver, Support diver and instructor are just a few of the courses they offer. More information can be found here

Key Takeaways

Diving is a hobby that has multi-faceted benefits. While diving without certification, preparation and the proper equipment is risky, most fears about scuba diving are irrational and over exaggerated by singular events that get widespread media coverage.

The truth is you will most likely see some unforgettable and colorful ocean life and make some friends doing it. Divers are enthusiastic about everything from the gear they use to the places they’ve been and underwater sights they’ve seen. As a bi-product of diving you’ll get some sun, breathe some salt air and feel a sense of accomplishment after doing something only a small portion of the population gets to do.