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Debunking Myths: Overcoming Scuba Diving Fears
There’s a completely different world underwater! What we see on the water’s surface is a far cry from what scuba divers get to explore in traverse depths. But unfounded fears of scuba diving brought about by myths, hearsay and lack of knowledge get in the way of experiencing the exciting sport.
It’s natural to fear something you haven’t tried or do not have first hand knowledge of. The term SCUBA is derived from Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Scuba divers need special gears to be able to stay below the water’s surface for extensive lengths of time. The discovery of teeming aquatic life, breathtaking drop-offs and even mysterious shipwrecks are only a few perks of scuba diving. So read on to overcome your fears and enjoy the other wonders of scuba diving!
Sharks will attack me when I go scuba diving
Whatever Hollywood taught you is definitely an exaggeration. Majority of divers have never even laid eyes on large sharks. When they do, the shark species which they often encounter during scuba dives are typically timid and unwilling to approach, such as sand tigers, nurses, greys, bulls, and rarely, hammerheads. Most species of sharks are not to be feared. The kind that poses some danger is the Great White shark, but they are rare species which usually reside in selected areas in Northern California or off the south coast of Australia. Most will actually leave you alone if you will do the same for them.
As for the shark’s smaller “dangerous” counterparts that are believed to be a threat are actually great subjects for underwater photographers. Stinging marine creatures like sting rays, lionfish and jellyfish can be easily avoided and are not aggressive. An encounter with a moray eel is even a rare treat since they rarely go out of their caves and holes.
Scuba diving will give me “the bends”
Getting a diving certification requires each diver to take the corresponding course for each desired level. Among the many things that you’ll learn is how to prevent getting “bent.” Decompression sickness, better known among divers as “the bends,” is a diving disorder which can almost entirely be prevented. It is brought on by going too deep and coming up too fast, resulting in bubbles of inert gases (like nitrogen or helium) getting trapped in the organs, blood vessels and tissues.
Staying above 60 feet poses no serious risk. But once beyond that depth, a good preventive measure to off-gas nitrogen even further is to follow a dive profile which requires a safety stop of three minutes at 15 feet. Always remember to ascend at a slow pace, while continuously breathing. Keeping within the limits of your dive chart and following what your dive instructor taught you are the best tips to avoid “the bend.”
Scuba diving will cost me an arm an a leg
The rich are not the only people who can enjoy scuba diving. There are ways to go about money issues if you’re really interested in the sport. The most practical thing to do for beginners is to rent the equipment they will need for the actual dive. Professional dive centers have all sorts of gears for rent, catering to the diver’s basic or advanced needs, while varying qualities and different brands come in different prices. Renting will incur a minimal additional cost to the original fee of your diving course but will save you time and money than buying your own equipment. After several dives, you will be able to tell if you’re ready to commit to the sport and invest in your own gear.
Scuba diving is a life-threatening sport
With the growing popularity of scuba diving, divers now have more options to choose from. Today’s contemporary diving programs, development of diving vehicles and resorts, and technologically-advanced equipment are consistently making scuba diving a safer outdoor activity. The chance of acquiring injury is lower for diving that for any other adventure-oriented activities like snow skiing and snowmobiling.
If you do things correctly, scuba diving can be an activity you have almost complete control of. Start right -- review your choices, select a reputable diving school, choose an instructor you feel comfortable with, assess what program suits you, and complete the required training before an actual dive. Be a smart diver at all times -- check your gear before going into the water, use your instincts combined with wise judgment, never dive alone, and remember the cardinal rules of diving taught by your instructor.
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