Diving is difficult at first so here's a few tips to start you off on your journey. Plus this may be helpful for existing divers so have a cheeky read!
Take it slow, it's not a race
The only person that you’re in competition with is yourself, and you don't have to be. Scuba Diving is hard at first, but just like everything, with time and practice comes confidence and improvements. Trying to inhale the whole Open Water Course overnight is not good for learning, and certainly won’t make a great diver. If you take your time and learn at a pace you’re comfortable with then you will come out the best possible diver that you can be. Try your best, it’s enough!
Listen to your instructor
It goes without saying, your instructor is there for a few reasons; to teach you and to keep you safe. They know what they’re doing so listen to them! This doesn’t mean that if you don't agree with something that your instructor says, you should just sit mute. Challenge them! For the most part though, your instructor will be your hero! Take on board what they’re saying and practice makes perfect!
Kind of similar to the point above, ask your instructor or Dive Master if you have any questions or queries. Whether it's about the skill you just learned, a skill that you practised yesterday, e-learning you didn't quite grasp or the dive plans… ask, ask, ask! If you’ve passed your Open Water and you’re planning your first getaway on a boat then also asking the Skipper for Dive plans and the site setup etc is essential too!
Repetition is key
You’re never gonna be a pro at something by being demoed a skill once, you have a go, do it to a set standard and get passed. You need to repeat the skill. Luckily, the PADI system of learning is pretty good at this in that they introduce a skill early on and continuously get you to repeat this skill throughout different Confined and Open Water sessions. For example the mask skills gradually build up from partial flood to full remove and replace! This is great as you don't get overloaded all at once and it forces you to practise the key skill you will use all of the time, mask clearing. Afterall, you will have to use these skills as a qualified Diver so you wanna be a wiz at them, right?!?
Don't beat yourself up
If you don’t understand something or didn't quite get a skill, don't beat yourself up. There's always time. Ask your Instructor, read online and give yourself a breath. Getting yourself all flustered and worked up doesn't lead to successful learning. Take 2 and if you feel overwhelmed and like you maybe wanna just come back to the skill etc, communicate this with your Instructor.
Get yourself out there
This is the BEST way to better your skills, confidence and become an all round better diver. Pop your name down for more dives, boat and shore, this will mean you get to experience a variety of different conditions and dive sites. Plus, the added benefit of meeting new dive buddies!
We actually offer a Subscription package for only £39 per month where you get 4 guided dives, 4 kit hires, 4 tank sessions and a load of other good stuff. Check it out here. We also have a subs opportunity for those with their own kit and for those who live far away.
Keep on top of learning
'Knowledge is power' and all that jazz. The more you know about diving, the more of them little connections you can make between things and become a better diver all round! Watch YouTube videos, Documentaries and read books. They all count towards being better educated!
If you feel like it's time, take a new course. Get in touch with Nic here if you reckon that's the next step for you.
Stay well within your limits and check the forecast
Staying well within your limits is an absolute essential, not only for newbie divers but also for experienced, technical divers etc. Pushing your limits, even a little bit can be fatal. So, in saying that, know and stay within your limits. More depth requires more training, different equipment is more training and different airs etc… ya guessed it, more training! The Dunning- Kruger effect is prevalent with divers so don't be that guy!
If you’re Open Water certified, you will know 18 metres is your maximum depth limit, so don't push it. If there's a wreck at 20 metres that you REALLY want to see, take the advanced course!
On the other hand, just because you’re certified to 18 metres doesn't mean you absolutely have to go to that depth. If you like the shallow 6 metre dives then stick to them! Plus, check the forecast. Never put yourself at risk for a dive. If the swells raging or winds are blowing a gale, cancel it and make alternative plans. If we get to a site and it's a blowout, we go for a coffee and cake with the customers!
Let people help you
Okay so just to be clear, I don't mean let someone babysit you. Especially if you’re a qualified diver. However, even Instructors need help from time to time. An example is getting someone to help you get your actual kit on your back. It's super heavy. Therefore, there's no expectation to do it alone. There will always be a buddy, shore cover, DM or Instructor to help you out.
Another tip is to be open, lots of people have different techniques and perspectives on things so if you don't get how to do something, try getting someone else to explain or demo it to ya.
Be a good dive buddy
When diving, you’re never alone unless you’re self-reliant which is a whole other thing in itself! Therefore, you have a responsibility to be responsible, honest and confident. Practise skills so that if you have to use them, you're spot on. Make sure you do your buddy checks and always stick with your buddy within arms reach of each other.
Start as you mean to go on, be an Eco-warrior
This is a HUGE one for us here at The Fifth Point. Protecting the Ocean that we love exploring so much is an absolute essential for all divers. Afterall, if the ocean was debris riddled, polluted to the max and unsafe, we wouldn't be able to dive. As divers, we have first had experience with witnessing the effects of littering, unsustainable choices and carelessness. At the end of the day, everything ends up in the Ocean. Therefore, we have a moral duty to educate others and pick up debris where we can.
To become a better eco-diver there are a load of specialties that you can take and read about here. From picking up plastic bottles to rescuing abandoned Lobster pots, there's a proper technique to keep you safe!
Treat yourself to a properly fitting mask
Everyone's faces are different therefore having your own mask, fitted and right for you is an essential. It's often the first piece of kit that any new diver purchases. The key to a fun and relaxing dive is actually being able to see, right?!
Pop into Honest HQ and we can gear ya up with the perfect mask. You can even hop into our training tank to give them a go and compare. View our masks here and get in touch by emailing Nic here.
Diver Toby on his Advanced Open Water Course
I hope that if you’re a new diver that you’ve learned something and are gonna take your time, enjoying the endless exploration that diving offers. Remember- ask questions and don't be hard on yourself! These tips are also helpful for any other diver so I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading!
The Fifth Point Team x