What to expect
Scuba diving’s underwater swimming – you’ll wear an air tank so you can breathe freely.
Tasters and introductory sessions are essential, as they’ll teach you to breathe properly, float, and work with the change in pressure.
It can feel a little odd at first: we’re not used to feeling weightless underwater, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll find a whole new world of experiences opens up. You could go on to explore shipwrecks or get up close and personal with marine wildlife.
What you’ll learn
It may sound bizarre – but one of the most important things you’ll learn is how to breathe. Breathing feels very different with a mask on your face (and an oxygen tank on your back), so an instructor will help you learn to concentrate on taking slow and steady breaths. If you’ve ever tried yoga or meditation, and are in tune with how breathing makes your body feel, you’ll have a bit of a head start.
We’re used to seeing colourful pictures of underwater life, but light reflects differently underwater and colours start to disappear. Red will likely disappear at about 7 metres, followed by orange at around 15 metres and yellow at roughly 30 metres (though, as always there are some exceptions).
- You don’t need to be a brilliant swimmer. You’ll need to be comfortable in water, but you don’t need record-breaking skill or technique.
- You won’t be thrown straight into the sea. Don’t worry if you’re feeling unsure about open water – you’ll be in a pool first. Beginner courses are available at swimming pools up and down the country; find your nearest diving club and ask where they organise training days.
- Don’t touch anything. Once you’ve graduated from the pool and are ready to dive into nature, you’ll find an exciting world beneath the surface. It can be tempting to feel your way around, but you should always keep your hands to yourself and leave your environment as you found it. Not only will it protect the wildlife you encounter, it’ll keep you safe too.
- Get to know the signals. The British Sub-Aqua Club say that ‘divers should be completely familiar with the standard code of visual signals and should give them accurately and clearly’. Help your first scuba diving experience run smoothly by practising some of the common scuba diving hand signals before you arrive – ask your provider which signals you’ll use.
Scuba diving was a great chance to be active and get used to taking deep breaths. How did people find being aware of their breathing? It may have been weird at first, but once they were used to it people may have found it calming. How did it feel to be immersed in water, surrounded by quiet? How could people prepare themselves for scuba diving? They might think about chatting on the way there, or listening to a playlist they’ve made.
Once people have mastered the basics, scuba diving is also a great way to connect with nature. What sorts of wildlife would people like to see underwater? How can people respect the outdoors when they’re scuba diving? Why is it important that people are aware of the impact they have on wildlife?