Scuba diving is an adventure sport that allows people young and old the opportunity to visit an alien environment where human beings are the outsiders. It can be done in any body of water around the world, from inland lakes and quarries to rivers and oceans. All that is required is a willingness to learn and the dedication to become a certified scuba diver.
The first step in getting certified to scuba dive is to locate a dive shop in your area that offers beginner classes. These classes can be completed in as little as four weeks time. They usually combine two hours of classroom instruction followed by two more hours in a pool where you learn the skills necessary to earn the basic level of certification. Because there are several different scuba diving certifying agencies there may be differences in the length of some programs as compared to others. The difference between agencies is minimal and tends to be related to the material and skills taught during their respective basic scuba diving certification courses.
Next you will need to purchase your personal equipment. This equipment consists of your mask, fins, snorkel, weights, and a weight belt. Items such as regulators, gauges, tanks, buoyancy compensator, and wetsuits are usually supplied by the dive shop as part of your tuition.
The classroom portion of the program deals with the basic concepts of scuba diving. You will learn about the relationship between depth and pressure, how to use the dive tables to plan a dive, and how to properly assemble and maintain your dive equipment. At the end of the class there is a final exam that you must pass before you progress to the open water portion of the program.
During the pools sessions you will learn the skills that are essential for all scuba divers to understand and be proficient with. Some of these include how to maintain proper buoyancy, how to clear a flooded mask, and proper ascent techniques. Mastering these skills is an important step toward earning your scuba diving certification.
The final step in the certification process is the successful completion of the open water dives. These dives are conducted over a two or three day period in any large body of water outside of a pool. During these dives your overall comfort level and ability to complete the skills learned in the pool are assessed. Completing these dives earns you your scuba diving certification.