What To Expect

 

When you first start scuba diving, you might not have any idea what to expect, but your instructors will explain all the safety steps you must master before you'll be allowed to venture into the depths.

Scuba Courses Are Taught in 'Baby Steps' 

Your first dive will be at a controlled dive site such as a pool or shallow bay. At least one area of the dive site will be shallow enough to stand up in. before entering the water, your scuba instructor will explain how all the dive gear works, and will familiarise you with safe diving techniques. 

Breathing Through a Scuba Regulator 

Breathing through a scuba regulator for the first time feels strange, you are drawing breaths while your face is beneath the water. This is not a typical human behaviour, so it's normal to be a little hesitant at first. Remember your instructor is there every step of the way.

The most important thing is to exhale fully after each breath. This practice prevents divers from hyperventilating and feeling starved for air. Some students adjust to regulator breathing after just a few breaths, while others take longer to gain confidence in their scuba equipment. 

The Noisy Underwater Environment 

Divers who have done research into scuba diving have probably read about the silent, relaxing underwater world. This description is not completely accurate. Breathing underwater generates significant noise. After a diver becomes accustomed to breathing underwater, he starts to tune out the bubbling sound of exhalation and the comforting whoosh of air as he inhales, but at the beginning, the sounds are surprisingly loud!

Underwater Vision 

Most scuba masks cut off a diver's peripheral vision. At first, this restriction may make some divers feel claustrophobic. As with most aspects of scuba diving, however, new divers quickly acclimate to their limited field of vision.

Light behaves differently in water. Objects appear about 33 percent closer than they actually are. The implication of this change is that your dive buddy, instructor, the floor, the surface and every other object seems nearer than they are. Most experienced divers do not even notice the magnification because a diver's brain quickly learns to adjust to the difference.  

Weightlessness and Freedom of Movement 

One of the best parts of scuba diving is the feeling of weightlessness. Scuba divers can fly up, down, left and right. Divers can move easily in three dimensions. The trick is to relax into the weightless feeling of the water and let the water and your buoyancy compensator support you. Try to be as still as possible and enjoy the freedom from gravity. It's like being an astronaut!

It is Normal to Forget Skills, Hand Signals, and Other Instructions 

The underwater environment exposes new divers to a new world. On your first dive, your brain is working hard to adjust to the feeling of weightlessness, the magnification of the water, underwater breathing and similar stimuli. This experience presents a huge amount of information to process, and sometimes instructions that seemed clear on the surface such as the use of hand signals and the steps of underwater skills get pushed to the back of a new diver's mind.