Dispelling the myths surrounding why you shouldn’t dive
I have been a diver for almost 20 years and a dive instructor for over 5 years. Still, I’m surprised to hear some of the myths about why people don’t want to dive. Some of the more common myths include: diving is too difficult; there is nowhere around here to dive; diving equipment costs too much; or my favorite is that the diving is too extreme or dangerous.
Let’s start last, diving is too extreme for the common person or it is dangerous. First, we have to understand that being human has inherent risks that we cannot control (as a current commercial says, “it could be other humans”). Yes, diving has some inherent risks. If you are properly trained and follow the safety protocols that almost all certifying agencies prescribe (i.e. PADI, NAUI, SSI), your chances of injury are drastically reduced. We continue to believe that your instructor is the main influencing factor for your future safety. IF they are deficient, chances are your experience is also bad (keep in mind that if you had a bad experience with an instructor, don’t stop diving, find a different professional to dive with).
As for being an extreme sport, I have not seen the diving sponsored by Mountain Dew or advertised at the X Games, so it can’t be that extreme! Humor aside, the reason diving got the reputation of being an extreme sport was because the original scuba gear did not promote a feeling of being comfortable and safe in the water. I know this because I started diving with much of this equipment. Looking back, if I had to choose diving over another activity, I would have stuck with the other activities. Since those days are long in the rear view mirror, the scuba gear has been delayed so that you are safer in the water, more comfortable in the water, and therefore safer in the water. Properly configured gear will do wonders for your skills. That scuba gear eliminates the extreme nature of scuba diving.
So is the cost or scuba gear too high? Remember what I just said, the right gear works wonders on your ability to dive with confidence and comfort. That being said, if you are looking to fully dress up, a complete scuba gear kit; It could cost anywhere from $ 500 to holy chickpeas! Scuba gear should be viewed as life-saving gear, so cheap is not always the answer here. What you plan to do with your diving adventures is what you should base your purchasing decisions on. Your dive locations will influence what you should buy more than the cost. This is where you should trust a professional to guide you through your buying process. They should have the knowledge and be willing to listen to you about what you are looking to do with your diving, then help you make the right decisions about the equipment.
Remember, you don’t have to buy everything at once. You can buy items here and there as money becomes available. Otherwise, you will rent the necessary equipment until you reach the point of purchase. No matter where you live, you will probably find a dive shop to help you make those decisions.
So if there are dive shops almost anywhere, does that mean you can dive almost anywhere? Why yes you can. I’ll tell you a little known fact: the founders of PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) were originally from the Chicago area. If they could find a way to dive there, you can probably dive where you are too. You don’t have to live less than an hour from the Florida Keys or the Gulf of Mexico. Or you don’t have to live less than an hour from the Catalina Islands in California. While those places lend themselves to the diving lifestyle, you can dive in the Great Lakes or even the lakes near your home. There are quarries scattered across the country that dive shops use to certify people. Along with that, there are several lakes that also lend themselves to diving. I live in the Midwest, outside of Chicago, in Northwest Indiana. If time permits, I can dive wrecks in an hour or two from my home.
So if you want to know where the locals dive, go to the dive shop and find out where they dive. Most of the time it is within the local area. If they really want you to dive, they will offer you trips to go to other places to dive. Doesn’t that sound easy enough?
So we still haven’t talked about diving being too difficult. Check out the conversation above on gear and perception. Diving has gotten easier. With any certifying agency, we are asking what your current health status is. If you have any questions, a doctor will approve your ability to dive. If they clarify for you, then we’re good to have fun and start exploring. There is a physical aspect to diving, of that there is no doubt. I try to reduce that stress as much as possible. On the other hand, there is also a mental aspect of diving. More people are obsessed with the mental side more than the physical side.
Face it, when you enter the water, put the regulator in your mouth and slide under the waves, you take a step back in the evolutionary chain. Once you relax and realize that you have a full tank of air, everything becomes easier. We are going to have him practice water skills to overcome common problems. While you may not like the skills, if you follow what the instructor teaches, that also becomes easier and more relaxing.
For this reason, diving equipment manufacturers have created equipment that makes us feel more comfortable and safe in the water. Proper instruction helps you understand common problems that can occur underwater and gives you techniques to correct those problems. Your instructor is also there to remove many of the physical stresses that will happen while diving. So how can this be too difficult? Once again, diving suffers from a perception of what it used to be, and not what it is today.
From someone who has been diving for years, we begin to see that diving, with the right instructors, is not too difficult. They will show us many places to dive and it really doesn’t cost that much for our safety and comfort. Since we don’t see Mountain Dew advertising about diving, it really can’t be that extreme. Diving should be considered a relaxing and enjoyable sport that almost everyone can enjoy.