Ever thought of exploring under the water? Perhaps getting the family adventuring below the waves? Scuba diver Austin tells us what you need to know to get your family scuba diving.
To most people, scuba diving is an extreme activity that’s fascinating to hear about, but too wild or dangerous to try, especially with kids. I’m here to tell you that all of your previous thoughts about the dangers of scuba diving are wrong. This is coming from someone who started snorkeling at 12 and diving at 16!
Scuba diving is an incredible combination of science and nature that allows humans to interact with ocean life in a much more direct way. While it seems dangerous at the surface, it can be an extremely safe and relaxing hobby once you take the time to learn.
Steps for Certification
Before anyone can scuba dive, they’ll need to acquire a certification.
The youngest age someone can legally scuba dive at is 10 years. Austin
The youngest age someone can legally scuba dive at is 10 years.
Youngsters who choose to dive this early are rewarded the PADI junior open water diver certification.
In my experience, I received a PADI certification at 16 before I made a trip to Hawaii. The PADI certification involves a combination of book and pool work to prove you know your stuff and are comfortable in the water. Everyone should pass the written exam with proper studying. However, the pool assessment can get tricky for those not in shape.
The two parts of the test that stuck out to me were:
- Swim 200 meters/yards (or 300 meters/yards in mask, fins, and snorkel) without stopping. (Not Timed)
- Float and tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods you want.
If your kids are struggling or worried about this part, consider teaching them how to float on their back!Austin
For most people, these trials should be pretty easy, but as a kid, I really had trouble with the treading water for 10 minutes. If your kids are struggling or worried about this part, consider teaching them how to float on their back!
After passing both the book and skills test, like the star you are, you are ready for your checkout dives.
Checkout dives are the final steps for achieving certification. These are real dives where a dive master will verify that you are a safe and comfortable diver. The dive master will test you throughout these dives by making you repeat skills and asking you questions.
After a few checkout dives, the whole family is all set to dive!
But I Heard Scuba Diving is Expensive?
Another common thing you might hear is the following… “Scuba Diving is expensive!”. And people that say that aren’t completely wrong!
Unlike some sports, Scuba Diving requires you to be in some pretty exotic locations to pull off.
Outside of travel costs, scuba diving can be a fairly cheap hobby. To start out, all you really need are a mask, snorkel, and fins. Dive shops provide the rest like tanks, buoyancy control devices and more. Scuba diving starts getting more expensive once you start looking for your own gear such as dive computers, watches, knives and more.
Ok, so now you know what certifications to get, and what gear to buy, you are now ready to plan your first dive! As we mentioned earlier, checkout dives are required to complete certifications. If cost is an issue, consider going to a cheaper cost of living country such as the Philippines or Thailand. I got my checkout dives done in Hawaii, although this was somewhat expensive.
Why Scuba Diving is the Perfect Hobby For Kids
As a kid, the idea of keeping a log book sounded so silly to me. I laughed it off when my camp’s dive master made me keep a log of all the dives he did with me. Looking back years later, I’m so grateful that I did this. Not only do you keep track of the number of dives you’ve done, but you also keep the memories forever.
If there’s anything I want a reader to take from this article is that scuba diving is not as dangerous as it appears, and its a fantastic sport for the entire family to take part in.
Next steps? Click on the link below and find some local certified PADI instructors for kids diving experiences and lessons.
You child will need to be at least 8-years-old, and can do a Bubblemaker experience in a pool to see how they like it.
- PADI Bubblemaker Course: children must be at least 8-years-old. Diving in 2m/6ft of water.
- PADI Seal Team: from 8-years-old, diving in deeper water. Experience may count towards the PADI Open Water certification.