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Learning to Scuba Dive
Introduction to Dive Training
Scuba diving is a fascinating activity offering the opportunity for years of personal fun and adventure. With a wide variety of activities and opportunities, depending upon your special interests your diving experiences can be anything from mild to wild. It's totally up to you. But first, as in all things, you first need to learn to walk before you can run.
In order for divers to explore the underwater portion of our world, they need to use specialized equipment. Additionally, due the fact that humans were designed to live beneath a sea of air rather than water, certain physical and physiological considerations must be taken into account. Because of these facts some basic training is required to allow you to explore the underwater realm without putting yourself at undue risk.
Learning to dive is a fun, low risk and relatively easy task. A typical entry-level scuba course will include a few short classroom sessions combined with a few enjoyable visits to a local swimming pool. Upon the completion of your academic and pool training, you'll get the opportunity to make four or five dives under the supervision of your instructor. After that you're free to dive where you want, when you want or to pursue specialized training in areas of interest to you.
Choosing a Course
The prospective diver is sometimes confused by the variety of training options. You'll find courses sanctioned by several different certification agencies offered. Examples would include; NAUI, PADI, YMCA, and SSI. So often times the new diver's first question is, "which agency is best?" The fact is that all agencies teach the same basic skills and academic knowledge. The biggest differences will be in how the material is presented and the support materials used (textbooks, videos, slide presentations, etc.).
The most significant factor effecting the quality of an entry-level scuba course is the instructor. The prospective student is well advised to put more effort into choosing an instructor than an agency. If possible, meet with the instructor and see if you find their personality compatible with yours. Most instructors will be happy to allow you to observe a classroom session and pool training session to get a feel for their style of teaching. Ask for references and talk to people they have trained to get a good feel for what you're getting into. Remember, while scuba diving is a fun, low risk activity enjoyed by people of all ages, you are putting yourself in a potentially life-threaten environment. It only makes sense to seek out the best training you can.
You'll also likely find a variety of scheduling structures available. Some courses will be offered over a period of several weeks, some over two or three consecutive weekends, still others will offer complete training in only one weekend. The reality of the situation is, the longer path is often the road best taken. While learning to dive is not extremely difficult, training does seem to be more effective if the newly acquired skills and information have a little time to be absorbed before progressing to the next learning set. If you're schedule permits, give strong consideration to choosing a course that meets once or twice a week over a period of several weeks. Should your lifestyle demand your training is done on weekends, consider a program that meets two or three weekends rather than one that crams everything into one.
Just as you'll find a variety of agencies and scheduling options, you're likely to encounter some differences in pricing. Remember, you're goal is to learn to explore the underwater world with as little risk as possible. Beware of bargain priced courses. In many cases you'll discover an array of hidden costs, only after you've made the initial commitment. In other situations you may well find the cost is so low because the training is substandard. The adage, "you get what you pay for," usually holds true for dive education as well.
Ok, now you're armed with some information on what to look for in an entry-level scuba course, where do you find training locally? Open up the yellow pages in your local phone book. You should find listings of dive centers and instructors in your local area under "Diving Instruction." If you don't find any in the yellow pages, try visiting the websites of some of the certification agencies. Most agencies will maintain an online list of affiliate dive centers and instructors, by state. Or, simply sign-up for quality dive training with SportDiverHQ using our convenient Enrollment Form.
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