You could be in it for the adventure or for the wildlife, either way, scuba diving is a mind-blowing escapade that is made possible by diligent training and hard work.
The popularity of this sport is increasing, and certification courses are becoming more available. But, as with any activity, experience teaches what a course cannot.
This is a compilation of top tips and insider hacks from experienced divers. Read on to learn how to have a more delightful diving experience for you and your dive team.
Picking the Perfect Diving Mask
Having a diving mask that perfectly conforms to your face is very important. A bit of water or fog gets in, and your diving experience is ruined. So, take extra care when choosing a diving mask.
The vacuum seal should be unbreakable, and there are various ways to test this:
- Tilt your face down, place the mask on your face without the straps, then inhale. This will create a natural vacuum. If the mask doesn’t move or slide, then it’s a good fit.
- Remember that your face doesn’t remain expressionless while diving. So, you need to ensure that facial movement doesn’t dislodge the seal. Do a smile test. Also, try to mimic your oxygen mouthpiece being in. If the mask stays on despite all this, then it’s a good fit.
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Wetsuits are made with a slippery material that makes putting them on and taking them off a harder task than it should be. Since it’s supposed to be a snug fit, you won’t have wiggle room either. Here are some hacks to put on your suit without a struggle:
- Invert the legs so it’s inside-out, and then slide your ankle in. Then, roll up the rest of the suit over your leg. This will minimize the surface area that you have to squeeze through.
- Put on a plastic bag as you would put on a sock. Slide your foot into the suit’s leg. This extra layer will stop the battle you otherwise need to wage. You can repeat this for your other limbs as well. Keep in mind the plastic bag should not be disposed of in the ocean.
Reducing Your Bag’s Weight
Scuba diving includes a lot of expensive extra items. So, when checking them in on a flight, your mind will be on the safety of the equipment the entire time. Conventionally, hard-shell cases are used. But, this adds about 20 pounds (that’s 9.07 kilos) extra weight to your check-in limit. Here are some alternatives:
- Use lightweight rolling luggage. Pack high-value items in individual Tupperware containers. This will add protection while not adding weight.
- Pack larger items in milk crates. This is a very lightweight alternative to a hard-shell case. The crates also make it easy to carry essential equipment out in the boat, so you won’t have to unpack your whole bag.
Things You’ll Need
The following items usually aren’t mentioned on other packing lists, but they are just as essential if you want a safe and fun diving experience.:
- Swimmer’s Ear Drops – This is a combination of vinegar and rubbing alcohol that is used to flush out your ears, so you retain your hearing on your trip. Clean your ears with fresh water, and then flush them with this solution. It also prevents you from getting ear infections.
- Ocean-Safe Sunscreen – Sunscreen is probably on your list, but ensure that you use an ocean-safe sunscreen that is at least SPF 30. A sunscreen that is mineral-based has a much lower impact on ocean life than its chemical-laden alternatives.
- Appropriate Insurance – Having travel insurance when you’re on a scuba diving trip is critical. You will be traveling with expensive gear, then you’ll go underwater to partake in a fairly dangerous activity. So, you’re going to want the biggest safety net you can get.
Insubuy is a good place to start when you’re looking for travel insurance plans. They have activity-related insurance plans that can cover everything you can think of and more. On Insubuy, you can compare different plans and purchase in a matter of minutes.
- Save the Dive Kit – Minor problems before a dive, like a broken strap, are an easy fix with the right tools. That is what a Save the Dive Kit is. It is an amalgamation of spares and tools that will save you in a crunch.
A typical Save the Dive Kit has the following: Mask straps, an extra mouthpiece, O-tings, suit sealant, and defogging agent.
Diving Methods and Rules
One of the worst places to have a crisis is underwater. But if you do, please do not panic. 20% of global diver deaths happen solely due to panic. Warn your instructor and diving buddy about the emergency first. They will be able to help you.
Work on your Kick
Flutter kicking is one of the easiest ways to propel yourself. But, everyone behind you will hate you for it. Flutter kicking disturbs the silt on the ocean floor, limiting visibility to other divers. Since you’ll be in constant motion, it also takes up more energy.
Frog kicking is the way to go when you’re underwater. It has a rest cycle, allowing you some respite. Ask your diving instructor about methods to help you master this kick. Note that the frog kick isn’t effective with split fins.
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Proper Breathing Methods
Breathing through an oxygen mask is a finicky task to get right. You will be taught about techniques endlessly in your diving certification classes. You’ll also be given classes in pools or shallow waters. But, when you’re in the ocean, it’s easy to panic. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Never Hold Your Breath – Divers are warned not to hold their breath while diving. But, beginners tend to do it unaware that they are. Holding your breath causes your lungs to over-expand due to the difference in air pressure. If you don’t exhale, there is a high chance your lung can tear, or air bubbles can leak into your bloodstream.
These are both fatal occurrences, so ensure you keep breathing even if something goes wrong.
- Don’t breathe too much – This is another thing beginners are prone to do. Over breathing will result in you depleting your tank and having to cut the dive short.
To control your breathing, count while inhaling and exhaling. This will naturally force you to breathe slower. Another method is to put your tongue near the roof of your mouth. This will partially obstruct your mouthpiece, preventing you from gulping in air. It will, however, give you the air you need.
Getting a peek into the underwater world is an experience many enjoy. Make the most of your trip underwater with these handy hacks.
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