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Posted by Wayne on August 07, 2000 at 12:29:44:

In Reply to: Re: want to learn to dive posted by kelphead on August 06, 2000 at 12:37:02:

I mostly agree with everything stated above. But you might want to consider a few more things. Diving is better with a partner -- especially when you are first getting started. I would learn with a friend or two. As you get more experienced, it is easier to get dive buddies to go out with. As a new diver, with no diving friends, it is sometimes harder.

I would attend a club meeting or two BEFORE starting training. See how you like the other divers in these clubs. You might find some new friends who can recommend local shops and introduce you to their favorite instructors.

Another thing I like to see is at least one divemaster to help out. Some of the cheap classes do not offer this. But I strongly believe that your learning experience will be more fun with an assistant or two in the class.

And I might start a fight with this one. I do not agree that the fast track approach to certification is bad. It is a question of pre class preparation. I have been involved with many 3-day classes(Friday night classroom, Saturday morning classroom, Saturday afternoon Pool Dives, Sunday morning classroom, Sunday afternoon pool dives. Ocean dives take place the next weekend), and the students who came prepared excelled. The students who did not perform well, would have had the same problems in a class of any length. And let's face it -- some people should not dive.

Not that you have to be superhuman or anything like that, but you need to be able to swim and you must enjoy being in water. If you do not enjoy the ocean already, you should do some ocean swimming and snorkeling. Make sure you have a comfort level in the ocean before adding the stresses of learing to dive.

If you have fears or phobias that prevent you from placing your face in water, do not dive. If you are subject to panic attacks, do not dive. If you are grouchy, do not dive near me.

In July, I worked with a student who did not complete her skills in a pool dive. She could not deal with water touching her nose. Kneeling in the shallow end of the pool, breathing through a scuba regulator in her mouth, no mask on, she paniced if water touched her nose. She was truly motivated to try, but after about 3 minutes of just dipping her nose, she began uncontrolled hyperventillation and had to be assisted out of the pool. She is not comfortable in the aquatic environment and should never scuba dive, in my opinion. On the same morning I worked with another student who had trouble with taking the regulator out of her mouth. With small steps in a safe environment she was able to develop confidence and comfort. She was having difficulty learning the skill, but was comfortable with water. In her case, 10 minutes of one-on-one time and her skills were top notch. The key is comfort in water!

I love to dive and so does my family (Wife and three older kids already dive). It is fun, educational, beautiful and can put some really fresh sea food on the table. The world becomes a better place everytime another diver is trained.

Hope to see you on a dive somewhere.


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