Diving the First Time

As a hobby, scuba diving quickly becomes irresistible. Even the most dedicated workaholics become mystified when encountering an unusual ocean realm the first time. The variety of fish and creatures found o­n a tropical reef defy imagination. All live in natural symbiosis despite an infinite variety of colors, textures and styles.

Scuba enthusiasts must receive special training before entering the water. Proof of training and official certification is required to rent scuba gear from all reputable shops. Training provides essential safety information about using equipment, decompression tables, safety practices and accident prevention.

Scuba diving classes are widely available through retail shops and universities. The cost is nominal. Classroom sessions, perhaps a few simple tests, swimming pool practice, an open-water dive, and the recommendation of a master are required for certification. The certification process is fun and perhaps provides a great way to make new friends who share a common interest.

Once hooked o­n diving, purchasing equipment is the next logical step. Rental equipment tends to be overused and outdated despite paying somewhat expensive fees. Personal equipment always fits better, provides an added degree of safety, and costs less for even occasional use. Equipment prices vary according to quality. The best deals are found o­nline.

Essential personal equipment includes a buoyancy compensator (inflatable vest with tank harness), air regulator, mask, snorkel, fins, weight belt, booties, gloves and a snorkel. An underwater watch is essential for proper decompression assents. Most people eventually purchase a thin body suit, underwater flashlight and an underwater compass.

In most cases, resort shops provide lead weights free of charge for all charter customers. For beginners, a group charter under the supervision of a master is the best way to gain experience.