WHY SCUBA DIVING ISN'T FOR GIRLS
Aha! Made you look! There's hundreds of girls that scuba and they ROCK.
Now I've got your attention, I'm going to tell you why scuba diving totally is for girls and the opportunities that it can bring for girls that scuba! You have the opportunity to learn new skills, see new things, create new experiences and meet new people. Scuba diving literally changed my life.
It has been estimated that approximately 65% of scuba divers are male and 35% are female. Hopefully, in the future, this number will rise for us lasses. If you're reading this as a female, and you're not yet a scuba diver… I'm going to tell you why you need to be and the benefits that it will bring to you! Or… if you are a scuba diver, hopefully, empower you, enlighten you about some inspiring women and how you can become more involved within diving!
The scuba industry and why we are essential
As a female diver, we often feel more comfortable with other girls that scuba - particularly with female diving instructors. This is because we are relatable with each other. Likewise, men often feel more comfortable with male instructors. Therefore, more women in diving is an essential part of encouraging other women and raising that 35%! It should also be noted that 49.5% of the planet's population is female, so it would be silly for the diving industry to disregard us. After all, we make up half of the global population!
Females in diving
There are so many inspiring women in diving, making both a local and a global scale impact. Take DR. Sylvia Earle for example, she was amongst the first underwater explorers to make use of SCUBA gear, has identified many new species of marine life and even at 85, strives to educate people on the protection of our oceans. Sylvia Earle’s name first emerged when women weren't as predominant in the diving industry, or most industries to be honest. She became a leader in ocean conservation, using her PHD and passion to open opportunities for herself and create global change.
Here at The Fifth Point, we are so lucky to know an abundance of inspiring scuba women! One of our instructors Laura is the founder of Fit-To-Dive. It was founded in 2015 (originally called ScubaPsyche) as a place to start conversation on psychology in scuba diving and has since grown into an amazing platform. Awesome right?! She focuses on scuba psychology and how we as divers can cope with psychological barriers such as anxiety. Note: Laura is the first to touch on scuba psychology globally! This is amazing! Fit-To-Dive shines light on our mental, emotional and physical health, and how we can be fit to dive!!!
Your instructor is the main and most important part in your diving achievements! They’re with you from the beginning, supporting you along the whole journey. My instructor Nic from The Fifth Point has made me feel confident both inside and outside of diving, granting me amazing opportunities and supporting me in all of my interests. So, next time you see your diving instructor, make them smile!!!
Women's dive day
17th July 2021, mark your calendars! PADI’s annual women's dive day allows us as females to celebrate ourselves as divers and all of our achievements. The day is allocated to celebrate all female divers, whether you're still completing your open water diver certification or a course director, you deserve to be celebrated! This industry has infinite opportunities for you. Get involved, celebrate yourself and celebrate all the other amazing girls that scuba surrounding you.
Achievements range from x to y
As stated before, achievements can range from small to large. Local to global. An achievement may be clearing your mask for the first time without panic or could be making a global change in protecting oceanic ecosystems. Acknowledge and celebrate your success! Achievements also encourage you to grow as a confident diver.
The growth of women
In the past 50 years, women have been on the rise in doing great things and being acknowledged for it! For example, Dr. Sylvia Earle founded ‘Mission Blue’ in 2009 and Laura Walton started ‘Scuba Psyche' in 2015 and ‘Fit-To-Dive' in 2020. Women are also emerging within professional diving, with a rising proportion becoming marine biologists.
I asked some of the girls that scuba that I know about their experiences within the industry and they stated that these were some of the rumours they had heard or things that they have faced whilst diving as a woman;
Scuba diving is only for men
Okay, so this blog post is literally arguing why scuba diving isn't only for men, which it's not! Scuba diving is an inclusive activity for anyone to enjoy no matter your gender, ethnicity, disability etc. There are equal opportunities for everyone! It literally does not matter if you're a woman or a man, we all have the capability to dive. But, the diving industry has historically been male-dominated, but we are on the rise to change that and create equal male:female divers! Again, raising that 35%! This is being made more and more accessible with females standing up for what they want and believe in.
Women can't carry dive equipment!
Okay so I'm not going to lie to you, kit is heavy… I do struggle sometimes hiking equipment around and have had my fair share of ‘rests’ where I have to sit the equipment down and pick it back up after a breather ahah, especially when there's stairs!
Nevertheless, I can carry my own equipment! Women are at no disadvantage to men when it comes to carrying equipment. But remember, this isn't a weight lifting contest. I'm young, I'm pretty fit but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't ask for help when I need it. When things get too much, I turn to my buddy and ask for assistance. Don't get sucked into that "rule" divers spout... "if you can't carry your own kit, you shouldn't be a diver"... have you heard that before? It's total rubbish. What's the point in diving with a buddy if you don't make use of them?!
It's simply too dangerous for us…
Scuba diving can be a dangerous activity but the majority of the time with the right training and equipment, you're good. If it was classed as ‘dangerous’ what makes women in more danger than men? Nothing.
When you're on your period, sharks WILL want to eat you…
For real, periods and scuba diving are a hot topic! In saying that… No, sharks will not want to eat you if you're on your period. If it were true that your period could attract sharks, a shark would need to be able to sense blood that was mixed (or masked) by non-aquatic mucus. Our menstrual blood contains cervical mucus, not aquatic mucus! More than 80% of recorded shark bites are towards men anyways, so we would actually appear to be safer than men.
It is also commonly known that sharks have no desire to hurt us. It's actually easier to deter a shark than attract one! Be kind to sharks, and they will be kind back. Fact: You're more likely to be killed by a cow than a shark. I don't know about you, but I've seen my fair share of cows, yet have limited knowledge of cow-related deaths… animals are simply harmless.
On the note of periods, period products contain huge amounts of plastic which contributes to our issue of plastic pollution in the oceans. On average, we use 11,000 disposable period products in our lifetime. The plastic from period products can actually enter your menstrual blood and tampons absorb fluids that your body doesn't want to be absorbed! To combat this, you can switch to a menstrual cup. They last approximately 10 years and have no leaks. I use an ‘Organi cup’ which is made from organic, abundant materials and comes with limited cardboard packaging, making it recyclable. The box even has the instructions on to further reduce waste!
How you as a woman can get involved in diving
So… you've read this blog and are now thinking how can I get or how can I get more involved as a diver. The truth is, there's absolutely loads you can be getting involved with from recreational to professional level.
You can start by signing yourself up to an Open Water course whereby you will learn the basics of diving, acquire new skills, see new things, create new experiences and meet new people. Here you can dive down to 18 metres, giving you scope to see huge amounts of biodiversity and shallow wrecks.
Furthermore, if you decide to advance your skills, you can take the Advanced Open Water course whereby you will add on to your Open Water skills learning new skills such as navigation. You also gain the knowledge to travel down to 30 metres, allowing you to see more corals and deeper wrecks!
After you've finished your Advanced Open Water, you may decide to move onto the last of the recreational courses, the Rescue Diver course. You'll learn how to tackle potential issues that may arise during diving. You learn how to respond to emergencies, grow your confidence as a diver and become the best possible buddy that you can be. This is a super fun course which most divers describe as their favourite.
If you decide that you want to go deeper, technical diving may be for you! Tech courses allow you to extend your diving beyond recreational “no stop” limits. This allows you to plan longer dives at shallower depths, or to plan dives to more advanced depths and locations.
If you decide that you LOVE diving to the point you want to work in the industry, go pro as a Divemaster or Instructor. If you decide to further progress, staff instructor and course director courses are also an option!
But… if you’re not quite ready (yet) to take the plunge or COVID is restricting you, becoming an eco-warrior is an absolutely essential element whilst diving. After all, we dive to see the beauty of nature, not a barren landscape of plastic or coral skeleton! Why not protect what we love? Sign petitions, reduce your plastic waste/ carbon emissions and take a stand for what you love, become an ocean hero! If you're a diver and would like to actively dive with a purpose, the ‘project aware’ or ‘dive against debris’ speciality courses may be for you!
Diving is for everyone
I hope that within this blog you've learnt something, been encouraged or now feel more empowered! WOMEN ARE AMAZING.