So you have jumped on the scuba diving band wagon and have fallen in love. Congratulations, and welcome to the beautiful world of scuba diving! You have had your first breaths underwater and you’re hooked! Every instructor and Divemaster have started where you are now. We all have to start somewhere, right? An initial spark of interest in scuba diving can lead to a lifetime passion. We have compiled some tips and advice for you to use as a reference as you embark on your new journey into the scuba diving world.
1. Go Slow
Relax and enjoy the experience. It’s not a race to be faster then everyone else, move slowly and take in your surroundings. You will notice that your air consumption will decrease if you relax and take it easy. Add air to your BCD in small increments, wait a few seconds, and see how the air you have added changes your buoyancy. Add a few more puffs, take a few breaths and reassess. Remember, you don’t need to add air to your BCD to ascend, use your fins instead and slowly release expanding air.
2. Air Hog? Want Better Air Consumption?
The answer to your questions - log more dives. It is as simple as that. It’s natural to breathe more and consume more air when you are a new diver; the more excited and nervous a diver is, the more air they will inhale. This is normal and happens to most people new to the sport. The good news is, your air consumption will improve and it’s important not to get to discouraged. As you gain more experience, you will become more comfortable with your gear, and develop better buoyancy control. And it will become second nature after a while! Think about when you first started driving as a teenager -- you may have had a similar experience.
3. Don’t be peer pressured.
Taking up scuba diving should be exciting and stimulating, and it is a great way to push your personal boundaries. While you’ll want to embrace new experiences in diving, don’t allow others to pressure you into doing something that doesn’t feel right. Any diver can call off any dive for any reason, no questions asked. Respect the fact that sometimes it is not safe to dive, and there will be times when you need to call a dive. Also remember that if something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. Trust your gut.
4. Get a well- fitted mask.
You might not think it’s a big deal, but I can assure you that the biggest diver complaint is a leaky and uncomfortable mask. The whole point of diving is to see underwater, right? If you are always having trouble with a leaking and/or foggy mask, it will distract you and impair your vision. Sometimes finding a well-fitting mask can be a hit or miss. Take the time to try on different kinds of masks, until you find the perfect one. Try on different masks in the pool and figure out which style is the right fit for you.
5. Control your weight.
Now I’m not telling you to go on a diet here, we are talking about the weight in (or on) your weight system. It is commonplace for new divers to overweight themselves, which will in turn make your diving experience a lot more difficult. Take the time to experiment and fine tune your weighting. The payoff is neutral buoyancy throughout your dive. Neutral buoyancy is the sweet spot, the holy grail of being a good diver. Once you find that sweet spot, everything seems to come together. Come to a Monday night pool session and experiment with different weights. When you find that perfect weighting and have achieved neutral buoyancy, it will keep you from bumping into reefs, help with controlled descents, reduce the risk of ear injuries, and also improve your air consumption dramatically.
6. Equalize Early & Often.
Another common complaint in new divers is ear discomfort when descending. If you descend faster than your ability to equalize, you will put yourself at risk for an ear injury. Use a descent line to help gauge your speed. The moment you feel any discomfort, stop and go back up a little bit, until you can equalize and you no longer feel discomfort. Do not keep going and hope the pain will go away – IT WON’T. If you really can’t equalize, it is time to signal your buddy and call the dive. Only continue when you can equalize the pressure in your ears. Pushing your ears past their limit can cause serious injury and it is not worth the risk.
7. Keep Diving – Continue Your Education
Practice, practice, practice, and log more dives. Just like any new hobby, practice is the key to mastering a skill. Every minute you spend underwater, you are becoming a more experienced diver. With every dive you will learn something new, see something different and experience new environments. A great way to improve your skills is to enroll in the PADI Advanced Open Water Course, which is the next step up from PADI Open Water Diver. The PADI Advanced Course involves theory and 5 dives, each dive introducing you to different specialties. Some options include: deep, navigation, wreck, night, boat, and peak performance buoyancy dives, and there are many more that might spark your interest. The PADI Advance Open Water also lets you go deeper (to 100ft/30m), which lets you experience deeper wrecks and environments.
And there you have it newbies! You are well on your way to becoming experienced divers! We all start from the bottom, we all get nervous sometimes, and we are not all perfect divers. Every diver has strengths and weaknesses, like most things in life. The best advice I can give you is to practice your little heart out, find your perfect weight balance, and move up in the diving world. Diving should be fun and exhilarating, not stressful. Unlike most activities, diving brings a whole different level of benefits. Which form of exercise lets you swim with sharks? What other hobby lets you explore a 100 year old ship wreck? None that I can think of!
Safe & Happy Diving!
Enclosed nose - Your nose must be within the eye pocket so you can adjust for pressure changes. This is why swim goggles cannot be used for scuba diving.
Tempered glass - Plastic fogs up and standard glass is hazardous if accidentally broken.
- found in virtually all masks intended for scuba diving.
Feathered, double skirt - Makes mask seal more reliable and comfortable.
Wide strap with touch buckle adjustment - Mask adjusts quickly, easily and stay adjusted during the dive.
Canted-in bottom - Shapes eye panel for maximum viewing angle up and down and side to side.
Low volume - The smaller the mask, the less drag it has while diving. Your face may require something a bit larger, so don't consider this an absolute.
Purge valve - Use to blow water out (but you can do this easily without a valve).
Special lenses - Some masks can be fitted with prescription lenses, which is convenient if you wear glasses or use contacts.
How to choose a mask?
Try a few with the features you like.
1. Hold the mask up to your face without pressing it to your skin (try to keep your hair out of the way so that you can get a good seal. Inhale gently through your nose. If it fits, the mask will stick to your face and stay there without leaking air and without having to continuously inhale. To release mask, exhale gently through your nose.
2. Choose from the masks that fit your face and feel comfortable.
3. Don’t buy a cheap mask. They may look the same, but will the silicone skirt quality may be very different; it may not be the soft, malleable silicone necessary for a good seal, and may also lose its limited softness after repeated use. Is the glass tempered and treated to provide good undistorted vision and withstand the pressure under water? If you are diving, your safety should be your first consideration.
You bought a mask?
Before you use it, the glass needs to be treated. Nobody wants to dive with a fogging mask that obscures your vision. This problem is actually easy to prevent. Gently scrub the glass of your new mask with toothpaste to remove the manufacturers coating that can cause fogging. This is a one-time task that you will not have to do again. Then, before each dive, use a defogging solution to clean your lens and keep it fog free!
Scuba Pro Spectra Mirrored Mask
This mask sports an orange mirrored tint lens that both reduces glare and acts like sunglasses at the surface, and helps to correct underwater colours with clarity beneath the waves.
The straps and swivel buckle make this mask easy to adjust, and the tempered glass translates into durability and safety when you dive.
While low volume for clearing convenience, the Spectra mirrored mask is designed for maximum visibility.
Definitely a cool option for divers!
TruFit Spectra Mask
From the same family as the Spectra Mirrored mask, with a small difference – the Trufit boasts a wide, ultra malleable skirt with creases (like darts) all around it, making it better able to fit the contours of any face shape.
While all of our scuba masks are high quality scuba wear, Trufit is particularly popular with new divers because of the extra comfort, and trufit seal, lowering their anxiety and making their dives more enjoyable as they gain confidence (many experienced divers love it for its superior soft comfort)!
Unfortunately, the Trufit is not available with the filtered mirrored lens. It seems we always have hard choices to make!