6 Common Worries of First Time Scuba Divers

It is normal to have some worries or anxieties about the idea of scuba diving for the first time. But this planet is 71 percent water! That is a huge chunk of the planet waiting to be explored. Scuba diving is an amazing way to experience what the underwater world has to offer, but many people avoid trying scuba diving because they fear the worst might happen to them. The chances of something bad happening to you underwater are actually extremely low. Sharks with huge teeth are not waiting for you around every rock… we promise!

We are going to put your mind at ease and talk about the following six common worries of first time scuba divers.

1.Running out of air

This is probably the number one fear that people have about scuba diving. But it is extremely unlikely to happen. When you sign up for a scuba diving course or a try dive, one of the first practical skills that you learn is how to check how much air is in your tank as you dive. A full tank of air will usually last a scuba diver at least 40 minutes but could even last over one hour. Another thing you learn is that scuba divers never end the dive with an empty tank, we always finish with a little left over, to make absolutely sure we will not run out in the final minutes. Certified divers are in charge of checking their own air gauge when scuba diving, however the dive guide or instructor will keep reminding you to check also. So there is really no reason to ever run out of air when scuba diving.

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2. Sharks

The media has given sharks a really bad reputation over the years, with movies like Jaws spreading fear across the world and stopping people from entering the sea. But sharks are not mindless eating machines, and we are not on their menu. Most shark encounters do not end in a bite, usually they will ignore divers completely. Did you know that your chances of being attacked by a shark are 1 in 3,748,067? And you are ten times more likely to lose your life to fireworks than to a shark attack. Sharks are not to be feared but we must respect them. If we give them space and peace when diving near them, then there is no need to be worried. Plus, sharks are not in every corner of the sea, many divers travel the globe hoping to spot sharks. So depending on where you are diving, you will probably not even see one.

3. Decompression sickness

Decompression sickness or "the bends" as you might have heard it be called, is a condition that can occur if a scuba diver comes to the surface too fast, or stays too deep for too long. But this is very unlikely to happen to you. During your Open Water Diver course you will learn about "no decompression limits", these tell us how long we can stay at a certain depth for before our bodies take on too much nitrogen. It is the high levels of nitrogen that can lead to decompression sickness. As we start to slowly ascend from a dive, our bodies will "off-gas" this nitrogen, which takes time to do. This is why if we shoot to the surface very fast we risk getting the bends. However, this only really becomes a risk when you start to dive deep. When you first try scuba diving you will not be diving deep enough to risk getting decompression sickness, you should always avoid bolting to the surface very fast, but even if you did, you are still unlikely to experience decompression sickness. Your instructor will not take you deep underwater until they feel you are ready.

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4. Getting lost underwater

Another thing you learn during a scuba diving course is how to work as a buddy team. The number one rule of scuba diving is to never dive alone, so we work as buddies to keep each other safe. This makes it extremely unlikely to ever get separated, but if you ever did, you would have the skills and knowledge to ascend safely and meet your buddy at the surface. If you are thinking of taking part in a try dive, your instructor will be very close to you the whole time, perhaps even holding your hand or tank to make sure you are safe.

5. Not being able to breathe

As discussed above, scuba divers check their air regularly while underwater to make sure they are not going to run out. But maybe you are worried your equipment will fail? Fear not… there are procedures in place for this unlikely scenario, too. The first thing you should know is that tanks and regulators (the thing you breathe from) are serviced regularly and every dive school has to follow strict laws to make sure their equipment is safe. Secondly, you will not only have one regulator to breathe from; every scuba diver also carries a spare regulator which can be used if your primary regulator fails, or if your dive buddy runs out of air. They really have thought of everything!

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6. Hurting your ears

If you have flown on an airplane you may have felt how pressure can affect your ears. You will have a similar sensation when descending underwater. Before you head in the water for your first dive your instructor will make sure that you know how to "equalize" your ears. This process adds a little air to the inside of your ears and relieves any discomfort. It is quite simple to do, you just hold your nose closed and blow (like blowing into a tissue). You will feel when you need to do this as you dive but your instructor will also prompt you to make sure you are doing it enough. They will also make sure you are descending very slowly to give you time to equalize your ears successfully. If you feel intense discomfort or pain it is important not to go any deeper until that pressure has been equalized. Simply pointing to your ear will let your instructor know if you are having trouble and they can assist you.

We hope we have eased your mind and you are now considering signing up for a try dive or even your full Open Water Diver course. Once you hit the water, you will wonder why you waited so long!