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SCUBA Diving Tips for Beginners

author image Jon Williams
Jon Williams is a clinical psychologist and freelance writer. He has performed, presented and published research on a variety of psychological and physical health issues.
SCUBA Diving Tips for Beginners
Scuba opens a new world to you. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

More than two thirds of the planet is underwater. The underwater world is home to hundreds of thousands of different animals and plants. Most land lubbers will never see these life forms in their natural habitat. Incredible underwater vistas, spectacular coral formations, lush aquatic plants and exotic wildlife all await those who are willing to strap on scuba gear and venture into the hidden underwater world. If you are one of the adventurous souls who isn’t simply content to see marine life on TV or on a plate served up with butter, then scuba diving may be just the thing you need to inject a bit of adrenaline into your next tropical vacation.

Give Scuba Test Dive

Scuba, short for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, draws those who yearn for adventure. But, before you invest beaucoup bucks into extensive training and equipment, take the sport for a test dive to see how you like it. Many die-hard scuba divers first got their fins wet taking resort scuba classes. These courses provide you with all the equipment you need and acquaint you with the gear and the basics skills you’ll need. Then you go out for an ocean dive in a group with an instructor present. You can only go to a maximum depth of 10 meters, or 33 feet, but that is plenty deep to get a taste for what the sport is about and to create some unforgettable tropical memories.

Go Healthy

If you have a sinus infection, breathing problems or some other significant illness or condition that compromises your health, you may be best off postponing your first under sea venture until you feel more sea-worthy. If you have sinus problems, even a depth of 20 to 30 feet can place enough pressure on your ears to create discomfort. Don’t compromise your first excursion. Go when you’re feeling healthy. Also, you should be in reasonable condition and feel comfortable being in wide, open bodies of water. Obviously, you should know how to swim and be physically able to swim. If you tend toward sea sickness, start taking sea sickness pills 12 to 24 hours before you get on the boat. Build up the medication in your blood stream. It is more effective to prevent queasiness than to treat it.


You are strapping on strange hardware, squeezing into a rubber suit and jumping into an alien environment, true, but don’t let your adrenaline get the better of you. You are being lead by a trained, licensed, experienced diver who is taking you on his umpteenth dive in those waters. The world you know, along with plenty of air, is just a few feet over head. When you are anxious or over-excited, you breathe more rapidly, which uses your limited oxygen supply more quickly. Don’t worry, your instructor won’t let you drown, but you don’t want to cut your dive short because you're hyperventilated.


Don’t hold your breath. This will only cause you to use more oxygen. Breathe slowly and deeply using your diaphragm. Fill your lungs completely, and exhale slowly. Pause for a moment, holding your breath with your chest muscles, before inhaling and exhaling. This allows more gas to be exchanged within your lungs and conserves oxygen. Move slowly and gently to reduce exertion and limit oxygen use. When you kick your fins, do so slowly and keep your kick within your slipstream to reduce drag. Minimize arm movement.

Be Safe

Don’t attempt to dive if you are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Listen carefully to your dive instructor and astutely follow all advice and directions. Use good judgment. Save the horseplay for the hotel pool. Stay close to your instructor and dive group. Wear sun block and sunglasses when on the surface. Drink fluids while on the surface to stay hydrated.

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