Dive Life for Beginners
For some people, diving is second nature, like riding a bike or even breathing. Perhaps their parents were divers? Or maybe they grew up on a boat, lived near the sea or had a thing for lakes and quarries Personally, none of these applied to my life.
I am from Minnesota. A state where it snows 7 out of 12 months of the year and is thousands of miles from the ocean. Although lake diving is a thing, I was 100% ignorant of this option. I didn’t know what PADI was until I was 25 years old. It wasn’t until I was 26 that I learned to never say “flippers”. Now, at 27 I am almost skilled enough to know that British Women Really Are Fun (BWRAF) and other ridiculous acronyms.
So, how does someone get into diving? Well, that depends on your interests, background, resources and access. There are many reasons people want to dive. The lifestyle, adventure, travel, conservation, or just the amazingness that is the ocean. Reasons will vary, but the avenues remain fairly concrete. Additionally, once started, how do you stay within the industry?
Here are some avenues for all you beginners to start your journey and - if you love it - stick with it!
Holiday with a Purpose
Plan your next holiday based on dive site options and availability. Instead of spending that half-day lying on the beach, find a shop and do a Discover Scuba Dive (no certifications necessary!). Of course, keep in mind that dive sites, shops and guides vary around the world.
You may need to take your first dive with a grain of salt. It could be absolutely mind blowing, perhaps a little scary or distinctly average. In the first dive you will at least be able to gauge if this may or may not be something for you.
I Don’t Holiday
Don’t take many holidays and don’t live near the ocean? Cool, me neither. Even if you’re landlocked it’s almost a guarantee that a city near you will have a dive club, somewhere. If anything, you can get your Open Water Certification in a pool, lake or quarry. This is a great start!
You may have to fork out the money before visiting a tropical dive site, but you will also develop your skills and confidence beforehand. And don’t be deterred from the lack of tropical marine life you see on Instagram and the Google. Freshwater areas have interesting things to offer as well!
Travel, Travel, Travel
Go anywhere in the world. Seriously. There are literally thousands of places you can start diving. Which one you choose is dependent upon your availability, budget and location.
Top places for budget diving include: Thailand, Mexico, Honduras, the Philippines, Indonesia, Egypt and Sri Lanka. So, even if you spend all of your money getting there, you could live or holiday long term on a fairly tight budget.
Choosing a Shop
When choosing your shop keep in mind that the cheaper the courses, the less attention you may get from your instructors. Budget shops can sometimes feel more like factories, getting people in and out as quickly as possible. This is fine. You will be certified and still learn decent information and skills. However, if you have the money, it’s well worth it to spend more at a shop that has a small instructor to student ratio (1 instructor, 4 students max).
Cool. So you’ve either completed a Discover Scuba Dive (DSD) or obtained your Open Water. Now what? There are many PADI courses and specialties available to you but here's some thought starters to help guide your next step. If you find yourself saying…
"I enjoy diving, but it feels more like a hobby."
Advanced Open Water. Get it. If you anticipate diving throughout your life, but don’t necessarily want to live that dive life I 100% recommend getting your Advanced Open Water Certification. This will open up your options tenfold as you can dive to at least 30m versus only 18m. Why does this matter? You’ll see more cool stuff. Needless to say, there are stunning things to see 18m and above, but with Advanced Open Water you have more options for dive sites and depth. And who doesn’t love more when it comes to the ocean?
Conservation Courses. If you’re keen to learn more about ocean science and conservation there are loads of organisations offering conservation based internships or volunteer programs. Projects and prices range. Again, you have to pay to dive. Here are some average prices:
6 – 12 weeks: $2,500
8- 12 weeks: $3,500
24+ weeks: $6,500
Typically the longer you stay on one project, the cheaper it is per week/month. These prices can look scary at first, but many of these internships are placed in low-cost countries with affordable living. I always think of it as such: How much would I spend at home on my bills, rent and accommodation? My costs for existing at home supersede the costs of such an internship, plus, you're getting some amazing dive and life experiences.
Blue Corner Dive actually also offers a wide range of conservation and scientific diving programs, including a top of the line Scientific Divemaster!
Additionally, check out these direct links to some popular organisations or read Girls that Scuba Marine Conservation Programs Blog!
So there you have it. A simple guide on how to start diving, and if you fall in love with it, how to stick with it. Whether or not you are beginning your dive journey, on your way to becoming a pro or want to try out conservation, Blue Corner Dive offers it all. Join us.
"I love diving! I may even want to live that dive life."
Divemaster. This is a great avenue to continue that dive life and start your professional journey into diving. You will learn dive leadership skills through both classroom and independent study. Complete water skills and training exercises, that will increase your ability to solve problems that might arise during diving. After gaining this certification, you will be able to guide fun divers!
Getting employed as a DM can vary from country to country. A lot of places prefer to employ local DMs versus expats, especially in Indonesia. If you are 110% committed to diving long-term, it is recommended to do your Instructor Diving Course (IDC).
Instructor. Look at you go, you’re doing it! If you want to dive long term and sustain yourself overseas, you want to become an instructor. If you like to work hard and play hard, this is the route for you. It’s hard work performing in paradise. For real. You get paid just enough to get by, you sometimes have to deal with less than pleasant humans, but you get to dive every day.
AND you will work with some pretty amazing people in some pretty amazing places.