A Beginners Guide to Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is unlike anything you have ever experienced. You will always remember when you took your first breath underwater and you realized there’s a whole new world waiting for you to explore it.

A Beginners Guide to Scuba Diving is a guest post.

Before you can start scuba diving, there are a few things you’ll have to do. PADI’s open water certification requires a mix of pre-work studying as well as pool skills. As long as you’re 15 years old you are able to get an open water certification. There is also a junior certification that can be gotten at 10, which is convenient for families that want to dive with young children.

During the pool skills session, you’ll be asked to watch the instructor perform certain skills. Afterward, you’ll be asked to repeat the drills. This can be tough for those that are uncomfortable in the water or being under pressure.

I got my open water certification at 16, so I was pretty scared of the mask removal skill. While underwater, you’re asked to intentionally remove your mask and place it on the floor near you. With your eyes closed, you’ll need to put it back on you while clearing any water trapped inside.

Another tough part of the pool challenge is the 10-minute water treading test, and the 200 meter swim. I actually failed the 10-minute tread test on my first attempt but passed it with ease my second time after learning how to float on my back.

The Equipment

One of the most intimidating things involved with scuba diving is all of the different gear required to dive successfully. This guide will cover and summarize each piece used.

Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)

The buoyancy control device is what controls how much you float or sink in the water. These are sometimes manually operated but typically operated by remote control. While underwater, you’ll need to manage your buoyancy so that you achieve neutral buoyancy.

Weight Belt

These are used to help divers sink by default. Most people, especially in saltwater have a tough time sinking. In combination with a BCD, scuba divers are able to have total control over their buoyancy.

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Dive Computer

A dive computer or dive watch is used to feed divers necessary information about their dive conditions. Expect to see information such as dive time, depth, air consumption and more. Scubaotter.com has some in-depth guides on dive computers from all price ranges.


Fins are used to swim more efficiently above and below the surface. Due to their elongated form, more power is generated through your kicks. Having comfortable and practical fins are extremely important to having an enjoyable dive.


This one might be obvious. Without a dive mask, you wouldn’t be able to see much! Having a comfortable and fog resistant mask is key for any dive. There’s nothing worse than going to a gorgeous dive site only to have your mask fog up.

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Regulator and Tank

The regulator is what is used to feed your oxygen from your tank. Often times you’ll have two regulators on your kit, in the event a dive buddy needs to share air with you. This is extremely rare and is only to be used in emergencies. It’s important to note that by sharing air, your bottom time is cut in half.

Now that you know what each piece of gear does, you should be ready to start diving!

I passed… what now?

After passing both the skills and pool work, you’re ready to do your checkout dives. These dives are required to achieve full certification and are verified by dive masters. On these dives, the divemaster that will take you out will monitor your proficiency of certain skills. I had my checkout dives done in Hawaii, but they can be done pretty much everywhere.

Due to the nature of scuba diving, not everyone has access to dive sites. This can make it tricky to do your checkout dives. What most people do, is get everything done except the checkout dives before they plan on going on a scuba dive trip. Once at the destination, you’ll have a new dive master who can help you out.

What is Dive Logging?

Dive logging is a very common practice that divers do. After each dive, divers have a log book where they write down details of their dive. This can be anything from location, what they saw, or even who they dived with. Most people regret not doing this from the start, so I highly recommend at least trying it.


Scuba diving is an amazing sport and should at least be tried once by everyone. Most people have no idea what they are missing out on. Hopefully, this guide helps prepare you for your certification.

Have you been diving before? Where at?

Tell us in the comments below!

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[box style=”rounded”]Austin Tuwiner is a digital nomad and entrepreneur interested in traveling and the great outdoors.

Learn more about Scuba Diving and the required gear at ScubaOtter.[/box]

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