Imagine submerging yourself into the deep blue, with a huge tank of life support, knowing that you have to simultaneously focus on your breathing, your underwater sign language, your swimming and do all that dressed in your newly-acquired scuba diving gear that you’re not really sure how to use yet. Not a pleasant picture, right? Fear of scuba diving is very real: you have to think about all these things at the same time and try not to freak out, so it’s only natural that you’re putting some extra thought into this sport before deciding to give it a shot.
Truth be told, all it takes is one second of feeling like you can’t take a breath to have a wave of panic take over your entire body. This is why it’s important to learn how to handle this fear properly before entering the waters. So if you’re planning on visiting exotic places, with gorgeous beaches and amazing underwater scenery – rest assured you will be tempted to give scuba diving a try and these top 10 tips will help you on your way to beating your scuba phobia!
Think Slow And Breathe Steadily
You already know how hard it is to move through the water. Why put yourself through the stress of speeding and tiring your muscles when you have other things to think about? When underwater – do everything slowly. The same goes for breathing – concentrate on breathing in and out at a calm pace and don’t worry if it feels super weird at first: you’re just not used to the oxygen tank, but once you get a hang of it and learn to maintain a steady pace of breathing, it will come naturally to you.
Get To Know The Calmer Waters First
It probably isn’t the smartest idea to deal with your fear of scuba diving for the first time when you’re already in your scuba diving suit, with your oxygen tank, getting ready to take the plunge! Take your time and practice in the calmer waters and more relaxed conditions: try walking into the water from the shore instead of diving in from the back of the boat, or practice in a pool. This will make you feel more comfortable and safe, and you’ll get an idea of how the real scuba diving experience feels like.
Bring Fellow Scuba Divers
You must have someone to dive with: so much so, in fact, that most diving schools will make sure that everyone has a partner, apart from the scuba instructor, before venturing into the blue depths, so that they can signal each other if something goes wrong and cooperate when moving through the waters. Going diving with a buddy who is more experienced in scuba diving will make you feel more comfortable, not to mention the friendships you’ll make when sharing your diving experiences.
Know Your Signals
Another important thing any scuba diving school will teach you before you make that jump off the boat is to use the basic underwater signals, like okay – not okay, going up/ending the dive, down, slow down, stop or low on air. It’s no big deal if you forget some of them, just remember the most important ones and you’re all set.
Work On Your Equalizing
When down in the waters, you will also have to think about equalizing your ears as you dive deeper. Ear woes or blocked ears are somewhat of a struggle for divers, and it is resolved by equalizing: opening the normally closed Eustachian tubes and allowing higher-pressure air from your throat to enter your middle ears. This should be repeated whenever you feel ear woes, and it might be tricky at first but you just have to find a way of equalizing that works best for you, whether it’s by pinching your nose and swallowing, pinching your nostrils and blowing out air into your nose, or something else. The important thing is not to push through the pain. If your ears start to hurt, ascend a little and try equalizing again.
Find The Right Scuba Instructor
Your first diving experience must be with someone you completely trust, especially if that person is someone you will most likely cling to during your first couple of rounds diving. Always visit your instructor before you go diving, and tell them about your fears. They probably already know them by heart and have had many cases of scuba phobia on their hands. However, if you’re still scared, ask for a private lesson in calmer waters or a pool, and don’t forget: your fear of scuba diving is natural, and all scuba instructors are very familiar with it.
Relax And Get To Sleep
Though it seems effortless, scuba diving is actually a pretty tiring sport, and for beginners even more so. It’s challenging both mentally and physically, with all the things you have to remember floating through your mind: the signals, the breathing, the equalizing, and all that while carrying a pretty heavy oxygen tank and swimming dressed in a scuba diving suit, wearing goggles and swimfins. That’s why you need to get well rested and be on top of things when you hit the waters.
Don’t Panic – You’re In Well Frequented Waters
One of the fears preventing people from trying to scuba dive is the fear of the underwater life making a snack out of them – probably spurred on by dreadful movies about sharks attacking anything in plain sight. Trust us – you have nothing to worry about when it comes to underwater creatures and sharks – they’re really not all that interested in scuba divers. Besides, your first time diving will probably be in waters often frequented by divers and close to the surface – not an attractive destination for the aquatic fauna.
Keep Your Goal In Mind
Never lose sight of why you wanted to try this in the first place. Whenever you start getting scared about all the things that might go wrong, just remember your inspiration: seeing the incredible colors of corals and fish, swimming with them, enjoying the rays of sunlight protruding through the waves and making dream-like settings, or just simply gaining a brand new life experience. You can watch documentaries about scuba diving or search the internet for all the best experiences you might get from this. Remember that, once you get a hang of it, you will replace that fear of scuba diving with an addiction!
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Scuba Diving Makes You Stand Out
What exactly are the advantages of this sport, you’re wondering, except for the pretty underwater landscapes? Well, for starters, you get to experience something that most people would never dare to do in their lives! How’s that for an experience? You can live for 30 minutes to a full hour underwater – in an environment completely different from the one where we live. Scuba is truly a great adventure and if you decide to give it a go, you’re nothing short of an adventurer – an underwater Indiana Jones!
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However, if you still feel insecure and nervous about scuba diving, there’s no reason to worry. Bear in mind that there are plenty of accredited schools, offering a wide range of PADI scuba diving programs where you can get rid of your fear of scuba diving. It is a truly unique and fulfilling experience that allows you to feel an unmatched sense of freedom as you cut through the waves. It would be a pity to let your scuba phobia get in the way of that!