I started scuba diving in 2018. It was something that I had always wanted to do because I love the water. The main reason I started scuba diving is because I would like to join the Navy SEALS and keep going to school to get my Ph.D. someday in Marine Biology.
I started my training at the beginning of spring, and I finished training at the end of summer. I was a little nervous to do training with a partner I didn’t know, so I asked my friend, Brenna, if she would do it with me and she said, “Yes.” We did our first half of training in the community pool and we had work online; the second half we finished off in the lake to secure our first dive in our dive book. My friend and I had an absolute blast scuba diving together. Our instructors helped us with any trouble we had, and they made us feel at ease. Once we were done with our lake dives, we were certified as Junior Open Water, which is the first level. I loved it so much I decided to get certified for advanced open water and I will finish training at the end of the summer 2019.
I have 2 diving instructors. My main diving instructor for this year is Jimmi Yarbrough. Jimmi and her husband, Danny, own a dive shop named Divers Oasis. Jimmi has a daughter named Cody that also works at the dive shop with them. Jimmi has been diving for 20 years. She is now certified as a Master Scuba Diver Trainer. When asked why she started diving, she said, “I started diving after my interest peaked at the lake watching Danny and his brother spearfishing. I knew I wanted a part of that! That was 20 years ago. Teaching has been extra bonus seeing people achieve a goal or get rid of a fear of the water like I did. I love the look of joy on their faces when they master a skill they didn’t think they could do.”
She continued, “Women are making a strong comeback in the diving world that used to be considered a pretty male sport. That is awesome! Then to have ambitious and eager to learn girls, like Shelby, is beyond awesome. My favorite quote that make me laugh about scuba diving is, “I can breathe under water, what’s your superpower?”
When shopping for gear, you can shop for it online, but I highly recommend going to a diving shop and getting fitted. This gear is the simplest of the gear that you need to start scuba diving, but it’s the most important – meaning it needs to fit properly. There are different kinds of masks for different kinds of face shapes and the boots need to fit just right to where they won’t rub your feet. Normally the dive shop you chose to go with for your training will have gear and they will fit you to some gear before you start training.
Disclaimer about prices: These are prices from Divers Oasis. To get started with scuba diving, depending on what scuba shop you choose, it can start from $465 and go up for open water training. I am certified through PADI there are other training courses you can be certified through like SDI, SSI and many more. Before you make that kind of commitment, I suggest doing the Try-Scuba class to make sure you are sure about scuba diving. The Try-Scuba class is $75, and they take you under the water in a pool with everything on and you stay down for what you are comfortable with. Learn more here.
A scuba diving mask and snorkel are going to be the first things you buy before training starts. It’s important that when buying the mask, you are fitted to the mask, because if not fitted properly, your mask isn’t going to stay on your face very well and you’re going to get some water in your mask. After you find a mask, they have matching snorkels, so it almost comes as a set. Learn more here.
Fins and boots are they next thing you are going to need. They have many different types of boots; you can get a thick or thin sole boot, depending on your preference. When looking for diving boots, you want to find boots that aren’t going to squeeze or rub your feet. They have to fit comfortably because you are going to be wearing them on with your fins. When looking at fins, its best to ask what type of fin the dive shop suggests. They will know which is best for beginners and which well be comfortable. The best-looking fins are not always going to be the most convenient. Learn more here.
The reason I say added “possibly” to a wetsuit is because if it not in your budget to get one at the moment, that is totally fine. Dive shops will have loaners for you to rent when you do lake or ocean dives while in training. It’s not mandatory that you buy one right away. When looking for a wetsuit, you want it to fit snug – so, no gaps or bulging to where lots of water can get in. If this happens, you are just going to get cold faster. It should fit snug, but not tight so you can’t move around. At first wetsuits are a bit uncomfortable, but the more you wear it the more you get used to it. Learn more here.
Scuba diving isn’t for everybody. If you love water and don’t mind being under water for a few hours, this is definitely your sport. Scuba diving is exhilarating, but it takes work to become certified. It can take a while to become proficient. If you want to extend your skill list, I suggest to keep training. Dive shops have dives and will advise their customers if it’s in the customers’ certification ranges. I highly suggest going on their trips, because it’s a great way to work on skills with your partner and you meet lots of new people.
Shelby Odom is an active teen who loves adventure indoors and outdoors. Her favorite things to do are shooting, scuba diving and rock climbing. View all posts by Shelby Odom
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