Dust off your mask, dig out those fins and squeeze into that wetsuit. That exciting feeling of anticipation inside you as you prepare to go on holiday, knowing you are heading back below the surface. It’s been a long time, too long in fact! Time ticks away in the real world and it’s easy to rack up the months and years without scuba diving. We work hard all year and we deserve to head to warmer climates and immerse ourselves in the fascinating, weird and wonderful underwater world. All the stresses of modern life seem to disappear with the every bubble blown – forget work, forget bills and become one with the ocean.
It is common to be a little nervous or anxious about getting back in the water after such a break from diving. Worried you will have forgotten all the important information fed to you from your dive instructor all those years ago? Don’t let that put you off. Your dive school will offer a refresher course, designed to help people get back into the water, you’ll soon be hovering weightlessly above the corals, whilst being mesmerised by the great shoals of beautiful fish.
Some divers may feel they don’t need to, or wish not to spend their money on a scuba refresher course. “But I just want to go diving, I remember all the underwater skills” – Well that may be, however it is important that you are fully confident in your own ability to deal with situations underwater, such as ‘out of air’ or a ‘flooded mask’ scenarios. It is important that the dive leader too is happy with your ability, otherwise there could be risk to them and the group should any issues occur. In most packages your dive school offers a recap of the theory, practice of the underwater skills and often includes a couple of dives without breaking the bank.
Beginning with a quiz, the cogs start turning in your head – let’s see what theory you remember from your course. Don’t worry if you have forgotten some details; the Divemaster conducting the program will then know what information to go back over. I’m sure you will be surprised how much you can recall.
It’s then time to get wet! Jumping into the BCD, relaying your buddy checks and entering a shallow confined water where you will practice the important practical skills. It’s all coming back to you now, taking the first breath underwater sends you right back to that first pool session when you learned to dive for the very first time. Watching your dive professional demonstrate the skills then performing them in return, remembering all the key points such as blowing bubbles when the regulator is out of your mouth, not forgetting to lean to your right when recovering the mouthpiece from behind and “Buddy Buddy, I’m out of air”.
You will be impressed with how well you do despite taking a break from diving – many people say it is like riding a bike. However, it’s best to practice these skills in the safety of a shallow confined water area; it will fill you with confidence and allow you to enjoy your dives without the nerves or anxiety, and you will be well prepared for any situation underwater.
So if you, like many certified divers, are limited to diving holidays or every few years then make sure you are prepared to undertake a scuba refresher course and enjoy your dives safely.
‘Getting back into the water’ was written by scuba blogger Bobby.
Photo Credit: PADI