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Your first scuba dive will change your life. The ability to swim and breathe many feet under the surface of the water, surrounded by animals you’ve only ever seen from behind a glass tank, is an incredibly surreal experience. Suspended in the powerful current, you’ll feel—perhaps for the first time ever—just how incredibly big and beautiful our world is. 

If you like what you’ve read so far, you might be thinking, “Sign me up!” Unfortunately, due to the rigors of scuba diving there is a bit of a learning curve that requires training before you can hit the water. If you’re interested in beginning the process, here’s how to get started:

Determine Physical Condition

Most people can scuba dive as long as they are comfortable in the water and decent swimmers. Due to the effects of the water’s high pressure, diving can be hard on the body. Before every diving course, attendees must fill out a questionnaire that determines their ability to dive safely

If you have lung problems such as asthma or a collapsed lung, trouble with your ears, allergies, or certain diseases, you will most likely be unable to dive. In general, it is recommended that those who consider becoming involved with the activity are moderately physically fit. 

Obtain Certification

A majority of the dangers associated with scuba diving can be negated with proper training and certification. To dive safely, you’ll need to learn how to properly monitor and use your gear, how to react in emergency situations, and memorize important safety guidelines. After you’re comfortable with the basics, you’ll need to put your knowledge into action during practice dives! During the dives themselves, a good instructor will teach you how to communicate underwater, as well as how to manage your body as you get used to the pressure level.

There are many different types of certifications, as well as certification agencies. To find the best fit for you, consider the type of diving you want to do and begin researching each agency. DeeperBlue has a great resource that breaks down scuba diving agencies and the certifications they offer.

Finding a course is one of the most important aspects of scuba diving, since they teach you everything you need to know about staying safe in the water. It’s important not to choose a course just because they’re the most affordable or the easiest to get to. Choose a top-rated agency or well-reviewed instructor and you’ll be good to go!

Go Scuba Diving!

The final (and most obvious) step is to actually start scuba diving! Your first dive will most likely be incredibly controlled. You’ll experience a wide range of emotions—perhaps fear, nervousness, excitement, wonder—and maybe even forget snippets of your training! That’s why the first dive is usually controlled and closely monitored by a guide or instructor. 

It’s encouraged that you ask a ton of questions following your first dive to learn as much as possible and continue growing as a diver. Like any sport, your chance to grow your knowledge and skill is never finished. So, the more you ask and the more you practice, the better you’ll become!

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