After having received your scuba certification and have acquired the necessary gear for your first scuba experience, you are now itching to go on your first dive. And while the scuba certification covered the basic knowledge required for this adventure, there are some other practicalities of which an informed diver should be made aware. Compiled below is a brief outline of critical information you will want to know before entering the water.
Select a Suitable Location
There are many sites that accommodate beginners, but there are some issues you will want to keep in mind when choosing your first dive location.
- Visibility: your first dive should be in a calm, clear and unobstructed area.
- Depth: you should never dive below 130 feet without the proper equipment, the deeper you go the more stress is placed upon a diver causing you to use more air.
- Temperature: if it is cold, then you will need a wetsuit, in warm climates a bathing suit may be all that is necessary.
Water Conditions: Areas with strong currents should be avoided by beginners and places with strong surf conditions may make it harder getting in and out of the water.
Do Some Location Homework
If possible, seek advice from local divers about the tides, currents, depths, visibility and other hazards of the diving area. Find out if it storms regularly in the area and how fast they may move in. Inform your dive master this is your first dive, review the local area information and the hand signals that will be used when underwater. Listen to their advice carefully and ask any questions you may have before the dive.
Prepare Gear Suitable for the Area
Selecting and ensuring the proper operation of your scuba gear for the water conditions of the area is a critical component of a fun, safe and successful dive.
- Wetsuit: If you are using a wetsuit, make sure it fits you well while still providing ample flexibility. An improper fit can cause issues with your mobility and comfort.
- BCD (Buoyancy Compensation Device): Ensure this primary piece of diving equipment is working properly before any dive.
- Scuba Tanks: Select a tank that is tailored to your overall dive plan. Short dives in warm clear water will require less air than ones in colder and obscured areas.
- Regulators: Again ensure that this requisite device is functioning properly before you enter the water.
Mask and Snorkel: Make sure your mask has a nose enclosure and contains pressure tempered glass. Ensure that it fits properly and is watertight to your face.
Perform Your Final Check
Once all of your equipment has been prepared and checked, make sure that you are physically ready for the dive as well. Ensure that you have properly eaten and are hydrated before taking your first dive. Maintain a positive outlook and clear focus in case unplanned situations arise. Do not panic if something goes wrong, your dive partner or captain is there to help you.
Determine How You Will Enter the Water
Generally, there are two ways to enter the water on a dive: from a boat, or by walking into the water from the beach. If you are walking in from the beach, make sure you are aware of any local sandbars, coral or rock formations near the area that may hamper your entry. If you are going to enter from a boat, you can roll in backward from the side, or jump off the rear of the boat.
By practicing these methods your first dive will be fun, successful and safe. For better clarity in this regard, you may enroll for Cairns scuba diving course with Dive Career Centre. The instructors out there will certainly help you learn to dive in Cairns.
Albert Clamark is a well-versed SCUBA diver and explorer. He has experienced SCUBA diving in its entirety and he loves to explore diving spots across Australian waters so that he could share his first-hand experience with the newbies.