Am I the Right Person to Scuba Dive?

On Gozo, almost anyone can scuba dive!

Not only on Gozo, but around the world scuba diving has evolved. Scuba diving once had a reputationfor being dangerous and very demanding. The demanding physical side was deemed not ideal for women and was certainly not even thought about for children. The sport itself, carried an image to be best left to the military and explorers like Jacques Cousteau. So, am I the right person to scuba dive in Gozo?

Times Have Changed

Scuba diving has evolved since its early days. The scuba equipment has become more comfortable and is available to everyone. Diving computers and sophisticated dive planning allow us to dive safer. Today, we have a better understanding of diving physiology and the side effects it can have on divers. This understanding makes scuba diving safer and enjoyable for most people.
Almost anyone can learn to scuba dive, as long as they have no medical restrictions.

Medical Restrictions

Each scuba diver student and scuba diver will answer the medical diving questionnaire. The form relates to questions about your person and your state of health. Answer each question with the truth, otherwise, serious problems may occur underwater.
Lung and respiratory problems, such as asthma need clearance from your GP. Allergies, ear problems and certain diseases may be a potential hazard underwater. Some medications show to be a contraindication for scuba diving. Heart problems and beta-blockers will need a medical clearance note from your doctor.

If you need to answer ‘yes’ to any of these following medical questions, you will need to see your doctor. Your hyperbaric unit or doctor will decide if you are fit to scuba dive. Without a written clearance, you will not be able to go into the water. Each medical statement is valid for 12 months only! This is a standard procedure for all diving centres and their clients.

What Age is Right for Scuba Diving?

Age requirements vary a little among diving organisations and countries. As a rule of thumb, children aged 8 years and above may take part in a scuba diving program. For an 8-year-old, maturity and willingness play a big part in scuba diving. Most diving organisations offer special children’s programs in shallow water with controlled conditions. This is a great way to engage kids in scuba diving. In Europe, children, 10 years of age or older are eligible to enrol in scuba certification courses. The USA requires children to be 12 years of age before certification.
There is no restriction on upper age limits for scuba diving. Although, one should check out any age limits that may occur in your scuba diving insurance policy? Research is still ongoing into risks of diving at an advanced age.

Must I be able to Swim Before Learning to Scuba Dive?

If you sign up for a PADI Discover Scuba Diver (DSD) course then you don’t have to swim well. This is a dive in shallow water which allows you to stand up if you feel uncomfortable. However, whilst it is not necessary to swim well, a student diver should not feel uncomfortable at the deep end of the pool. The DSD is an experience program, not a certification course. If you have the ambition to get a scuba diving certification, then you should be able to swim and tread water. In scuba certification courses, there is a waterman ship assessment required. The waterman-ship assessment might vary depending upon the certification level you choose. It varies between the organisations as well that you might train with.
For example; a PADI dive centre requires you to tread water/float for 10 minutes and swim 200 m (or snorkel 300 m) without stopping. This assessment is carried out during your PADI Open Water course.
Is it a good idea to scuba dive without knowing how to swim and tread water? My opinion; it is not a good idea

Can I Scuba Dive with a Disability?

The term for disability diving is Adaptive Diving. Nowadays, there are many organisations who take divers with disabilities. PADI‘s Adaptive teaching centres devote time and training for scuba divers with challenges. It is also remarkable what these divers can achieve!
Special equipment, such as webbed gloves for divers who are unable to use fins. Divers underwater become weightless, allowing divers with physical challenges to move around easier.
Scuba divers who have a physical disability must relearn how to use his/her body. Water is a fantastic tool to improve mobility and improve physical movement.

Why Should I Scuba Dive?

This is each individuals choice and should never be a must! Think about why you want to scuba dive before enrolling on a course? Why not sign up for a Discover Scuba Diver experience first and see if you enjoy it?
Scuba diving is a relaxing and adventurous sport. If you are looking for an adrenaline-fuelled, risk-taking activity, then you should reconsider. Training dives and scuba diving in general lead to adventures, togetherness and fun. It is not about pushing yourself to the limit or creating survival situations.
You should decide if YOU want to scuba dive. A person should never take up the sport to please parents, friends or family. You, as a scuba diver will only enjoy diving if you want to be underwater! Diving is safe and enjoyable for many, but if it does not appeal to you, then choose something else.
The best part is, we want to dive and learn to dive. You most likely can dive too, so welcome to the 70% of the world that most people NEVER get to experience!

Come and join us on a Scuba dive experience and see the wonders of the underwater world, here on Gozo. For more information; contact info@divesmartgozo.com