This program allows children starting at age six to go underwater and sample the different ways they can explore the aquatic world around them.
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Did you know that sea sponges are older than dinosaurs? Or that thresher sharks use their long tail to stun their prey? The ocean covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface… That is a lot of water for us to explore!
If you are an experienced scuba diver who wants to enjoy the underwater world in fun new ways, or if you are a nervous newbie who has never even dipped a toe in the ocean, we have got you covered. We have three exciting ways that you can explore the ocean, no matter who you are or what your experience level is.
Snorkeling is a simple and really fun way to explore underwater. You just float at the surface with your face submerged, and look down to watch the marine life.
You only really need two pieces of equipment to snorkel: a mask and a snorkel. A snorkeling mask is similar to swimming goggles, except it also has a part that covers your nose. Masks come in various styles, sizes, and colors, the best way to select the right mask for you is to try a few different ones on and see which feels the most comfortable. The snorkel is a plastic tube that can be attached to the mask. One end of the snorkel stays in your mouth, and the other above the water. This is how you breathe while you have your face in the water.
Other pieces of equipment could be added to improve your snorkeling experience, such as a buoyancy aid to make floating easier, fins to wear on your feet to make kicking more efficient, and perhaps a wetsuit if you are snorkeling in colder waters.
If you plan to go snorkeling in a new place, it is a good idea to join an organized snorkel tour or seek a snorkel guide. Local scuba diving centers can usually arrange this for you. Never snorkel alone, especially if you are unsure of currents, tides, or weather in that area.
Snorkeling is ideal for people who are new to exploring the ocean, and for children as it is easy to do, low-risk, and it is inexpensive.
Scuba diving is a little more adventurous than snorkeling, but can still be enjoyed by people who are nervous or inexperienced in the water. You just have to be able to swim a short distance, and be over ten years old to start learning to scuba dive.
Scuba diving is a way to explore the ocean from depth, and still breathe air as you go. This allows you to see a lot more than snorkeling and get a closer view.
The basic equipment required for scuba diving is a mask and snorkel, fins, a tank of air, a buoyancy control device (a jacket that can be inflated and deflated underwater to keep you at the desired depth), and a regulator (tubes that connect the air from the tank to your mouth and to the BCD). A wetsuit may also be desirable.
Scuba diving can be strange at first but soon becomes very relaxing. It is an incredible way to spend a long time under the water. Scuba diving is fun, and easy once you know how, but it requires a certain amount of safety and technique that has to be learned. As a beginner, your two main options are:
Try Scuba Diving: The SSI Try Scuba Diving program is a taster of scuba diving, without having to commit to the full first course. If you sign up for a try dive, your instructor will first introduce you to your equipment and explain a little about how scuba diving works. Then you head to the shallows to give it a go. You start with some simple skills, and then you are scuba diving! The instructor stays very close to you the entire time and you can relax and enjoy the view. The maximum depth for this program is 12m deep.
Open Water Diver: The SSI Open Water Diver course is the first real step in your scuba diving journey. After you complete the course you are certified to dive recreationally for the rest of your life. During this course you learn a variety of skills that prepare you for scuba diving, as well as vital safety practices, and lots more. It is information-packed, and super fun! The maximum depth you will be certified to is 18m deep.
After your Open Water Diver course you can go on to do many more courses if you wish. There is always more to learn!
Freediving is the practice of holding your breath underwater. Most people learn how to freedive so that they can explore the ocean, but some go on to compete in freediving competitions, or use it to improve their spearfishing.
Freediving is an excellent way to see the underwater world, it allows you to dive down and stay underwater for a while. It is obviously important to learn how to do this in a safe way, and to always freedive with buddies. If you would like to start freediving, your first step would be to take a course. Similar to scuba diving courses, you will learn a lot of information about technique and what to do in a diving emergency. Here are your two main options to get started:
Try Freediving: Similarly to the Try Scuba Diving program, the SSI Try Freediving program allows you to have a taster of what freediving is all about. You will learn some basic theory about equipment, equalization, and breathing techniques, before hitting the confined water to give it a go with an instructor close by.
Freediving Level 1: The SSI Freediving Level 1 course is the first proper certification on your journey as a freediver, you will learn in depth knowledge about freediving, as well as vital safety procedures.
There are further courses that you can go on to take, and steps you can follow once you are certified as a Level 1 freediver.
Those are the three main ways to explore the underwater world. Which one will you choose?