By Bernard Supetran
If you can breathe, you can dive. This is the reassuring slogan you will see in almost all dive centers around the world – what the dive instructor will tell you before your first foray underwater. Scuba diving is easier than you think. But just like any other sport, it takes a good amount of training, dedication, and practice. Here are some pointers for diving beginners, if only to help you conquer fear of the water.
1. IT’S NOT THAT HARD – YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A GOOD SWIMMER
The greatest misconception that discourages people to try diving is their inability to swim well. While being a good swimmer is a plus, it is not a prerequisite to try diving. Human kinetics is different underwater than it is at the surface because of buoyancy. Therefore, it is not impossible for non-swimmers to learn how to dive before they learn how to swim. But just like any extreme sport, you need a great deal of confidence as diving can be a mind game.
2. IT IS SUPERB EXERCISE
Diving is an excellent full-body workout, which pushes your lower half, toning your abdominals, thighs, and calves. You might not notice it, but divers perspire as they kick their way beneath the surface, burning around 500 to 700 calories per hour. Add to this the effort of carrying your oxygen tank, climbing into the boat, and kicking on the surface. The beautiful thing here is you enjoy the workout with a visual treat, minus the boring gym routine.
3. IT TAKES YOU TO TWO-THIRDS OF THE WORLD
Geography tells us that two-thirds of the earth’s surface is made up of water. Diving exposes you to the more exciting portion of the world, which only a fraction of the seven billion plus population is able to appreciate. The marine kingdom is the world’s most diverse ecosystem, which scientists have yet to fully explore.
4. IT OFFERS A CERTAIN DISTINCTION
While it’s easy to learn how to dive, it’s not that easy to get certified. There’s a literal and figurative badge of prestige because of the rigid training one undergoes to receive international certification. Divers are a class of their own. Unlike other sports, you need to be certified in order to be called a scuba diver, which also involves an investment (at least P15,000 for a three-day course), just like your succeeding dives at out-of-town destinations (around P1,200 per dive).
5. IT BRINGS OUT THE ECO WARRIOR IN YOU
Once you are into the sport, your concern for the environment is kindled, and you automatically become an advocate for Mother Nature. The marine world is such an amazing dimension that you’d fight to preserve it. Having seen it up close, it would pain you to see non-biodegradable waste, plastics, bottles, and rubbish on the seabed.
The summer season is near. Maybe it’s time for you to try exploring the underwater. Don the mask, put on the scuba gear, and plunge into the deep. ###