By Dillon Waters
The days of scuba diving being considered a bucket list item you check off on a random tropical vacation are long gone. Scuba diving is a growing lifetime recreational activity that has families, friends, and individuals all bonding over the beauty of the new world they’ve discovered. Did you know scuba offers many other benefits besides the obvious exercise and sightseeing opportunities? These are benefits for divers of any age too!
Now let’s look at just a FEW things that scuba diving can be used for:
Scuba diving allows people to enter a different world full of new and exciting things. For divers of any age, this can create a thirst for new knowledge and, after your initial certification, the opportunities to learn more about the underwater world continue to grow. There are a plethora of specialty courses that offer you a chance to learn different activities while diving and, since scuba courses are egalitarian, you and your family or friends can take the classes together without the worry of being the person who knows the least.
Scuba divers learn to love the water and the creatures that call it home. For many divers, marine conservation becomes an important part of their thinking and they want to do their part to help protect it. In addition, citizen science courses offer students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they are learning in the classroom to something practical and useful in the real world. This can mean volunteering to help build coral reef trees in the Florida Keys, raising awareness in their local communities, creating non-profit groups, or even deciding to take up marine conservation as a career path.
If you were to ask a group of divers what scuba is to them, you will probably hear many variations of the same answer: therapeutic. Diving has a surreal meditational feeling that seems to silence the outside world and the mundane reality that comes with it. All your above-water problems are left at the surface. As we breathe throughout a dive, we tend to breath slower and deeper than normal, which induces a state of calmness. This allows you to enjoy your underwater surroundings in an almost surreal state of being and helps you feel mentally relaxed once your day of diving is over.
Scientific research conducted by John Hopkins University has shown that scuba diving greatly assists those with serious physical injuries and is exceptionally successful in reducing reported symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). It is no wonder the therapeutic benefits of scuba are being used to treat physical and emotional disabilities among soldiers and many other groups of people and is being researched for other types of rehabilitation. Check out www.sudsdiving.org and our adaptive scuba courses in the Scubility program for more information.
If you are looking for a new hobby to do in your free time, there are plenty to choose from as a diver. Many of your land-based hobbies can also be practiced underwater. If you enjoy photography, underwater photos can be a wonderful addition to your portfolio. A history buff can focus on diving historical dive sites and shipwrecks, while someone who enjoys marine life can dive coral reefs or do a shark dive. Or let’s say that you enjoy hunting and fishing, you could combine the two with diving and begin spearfishing on the weekends. No matter what it is that you like to do, you can more than likely find a way to do it below the surface too.
Scuba diving gives you an undeniable sense of adventure. There is an entirely new world underwater with its own species, communities, and ways of life waiting to be discovered by you. With 71% of the earth being water, it goes without saying that if you want to “see the world”, you need to break free from the larger reality of the other 29%. Not only is being underwater a part of the adventure, but the new places you will travel for diving may be ones that you had never considered going before. In short, scuba diving allows you to see and experience things that can be found in no other way!
Scuba is a social sport. You will meet many new people and make new friends from all over the world in an intercultural exchange. Just by going out and diving, you will begin to build relationships within the local and world diving community. In addition, when children become scuba divers, they will be immersed in a multi-generational circle of healthy-living adventure enthusiasts. Once certified, you may find local dive clubs in your community that you didn’t know existed, or you can even start one of your own! Attending or hosting a dive club meeting is a great way to meet the local divers in your area, share dive stories, and learn about new dive sites that you will want to try out. Of all the things that scuba has given me the opportunity to do, the part I enjoy the most is being involved in the community that is built around it.
Scuba diving has long been seen as an activity that you would participate in on a tropical vacation, or as part of a cruise package, to check off yet another bucket list item. Scuba is much more than a one-time vacation activity though, and once you are certified, the opportunities become almost endless. Not only does scuba offer something for almost anyone, it can also benefit you, your family, and your friends in many ways!
The benefits that this sport has to offer could be talked about all day, but the only real way to see them all for yourself is to complete your scuba certification and immerse yourself into the world of underwater enthusiasts. Contact the instructor or dive center that shared this article today, or locate the dive center closest to you using our locator, and ask them what it’s like to be a scuba diver.
To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.