Nov 2014

‘Taking the Plunge’ – Discover Scuba Diving

By Mike Waddington

If you have ever thought about the idea of taking the plunge and going diving, but not sure whether or not it is for you, try to take a ‘Discover Scuba Dive’ (DSD). This is a dive program designed for non-divers to experience the underwater world without committing too much time or money. The program takes no more than one day to complete and will give you a good idea if diving is for you or not.

Discover Scuba Diving Philosophy

The philosophy of the Discover Scuba Diving program is to give non divers a safe, enjoyable introduction to scuba diving while in a controlled environment. Many non-divers have different misconceptions about diving which could result in them being too anxious to gain a certification. Because the Discover Scuba Diving program is initially conducted in confined water it gives the new diver a chance to work through these anxieties, and hopefully give them a good idea of what diving is really about.

You will meet your Instructor or DSD leader and go over some paperwork, which will include a medical statement to ensure you are fit for diving, or if you need a doctor to assess you first. You will be given a basic theory session in which you will learn the answers to a quick 10 question quiz that you must complete before going into the water. Don’t worry if you get these wrong, you are not under examination. Anything that you do not understand your instructor will go over with you and make sure you understand.


You will be sized up with a full set of equipment, and your instructor will either show you how to set it up, and get you to try setting it up on your own, or they will set it up for you while you are watching. They will explain what everything does, and go into the basics of how it works. When you step into the water you will be briefed on a few skills that you need to learn. Again these are just ones for your safety and comfort, such as how to clear a mask of any water and how to find your regulator if you drop it while swimming around. After you have completed these skills you can then go for a dive! Most places will complete these skills in a swimming pool, and then you will be free to swim around and practice your buoyancy and get a feel for diving.

If you enjoyed the skills in the pool, and liked the feeling of swimming around in a new more three dimensional world then you should consider taking an Open Water Dive. This will again be under constant supervision of the instructor, who will assist you with buoyancy, check your air for you, and pretty much do everything for you, all you need to do is kick, equalize and enjoy the scenery. On this dive you will be able to go to a maximum depth of 12 meters however if you do not feel comfortable with this depth just let your instructor know and they will not take you so deep.


Once you have completed the Discover Scuba Diving program your details will be sent to PADI, where they will store this on their database. This is because the Discover Scuba Dive counts as the first confined dive and the first Open Water dive of the Open Water Diver Course, so if you did want to complete the course at some point then this shows you already have some experience and you may get a discount.

One important thing to remember with the Discover Scuba Diving program is that it is not a qualification, only an experience. This does not qualify you to dive independently or go into dive shops and be able to go fun diving. To be able to dive independently you need to be at least an Open Water Diver and to be able to go fun diving with a dive shop you need to have the Scuba Diver qualification as a minimum.

If you are interested in ‘taking the plunge’ and going on your first ever dive, then head into your local dive shop and sign up today. You will not regret it!

‘Taking the Plunge – Discover Scuba Diving’ was written by Mike

Photo Credit: PADI & Davy Jones Locker Diving

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Mike Waddington

I first discovered diving in 2008 after going snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. After trying diving at a flooded quarry in England I decided to head out to warmer more interesting waters in Thailand where I ended on the Island of Koh Tao completing my Open Water course. Instantly addicted with money to spend and plenty of time on my hands I decided to continue until I became a Divemaster so I could live what seemed as the perfect life.

After that I headed to the Caribbean to an island called Utila to complete my instructor course, I spent several months out there completing the MSDT internship, teaching students and leading dives. This is also where I discovered my interest in the technical side of diving, taking part in equipment repair courses and learning about blending gasses and running compressors.

With all my new qualifications it was time to head back to where it had all started, Back to Koh Tao where I intended on living the dream. Once I arrived I quickly found a job and started teaching straight away. During my time on Koh Tao I took part in all many technical diving courses, learning how to dive with re-breathers, in caves and even going down to 90m/300ft!


PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
PADI/DSAT Tech Deep Instructor
PADI/DSAT Gas Trimix Gas Blender
PADI/DSAT Trimix Diver
TDI Intro to Cave Diver
TDI Advanced Wreck Diver
TDI Inspiration rebreather Decompression Procedures
PADI Professional Videographer
BSAC Compressor Operator
TDI Equipment Service Technician

Dream Dive Locations:

Silfra, Iceland
Cenotes, Mexico
Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia
Ice Diving in Russia