Intro to Scuba -
What is Scuba Diving?


Are you wondering, "What is scuba diving?" Well, wonder no more. This introduction will explain what scuba diving is and what you can expect when you go diving. Hopefully you will want to give it a try. I think you will love it as much as we do.


Recreational scuba diving has been growing in popularity ever since Jacques Cousteau (who is at the top of the list of famous scuba divers) and Emile Gagnan invented the Aqualung in 1943. Definitely a major milestone in the history of scuba diving.

Today over a million divers get their scuba diving certification each year. I hope you'll be one of them soon. So let's get started and introduce you to this sport.

What is Scuba Diving?

OK, so what is scuba diving? Basically scuba diving is going underwater and being able to breathe. It is that simple.

You have a tank of compressed air on your back and you breathe the air in through a regulator. I explain all the necessary scuba diving equipment here. (You can also check out my scuba gear guides and scuba diving equipment information pages.)

With a tank on your back you are able to swim/float around underwater and enjoy all the beautiful sights. It really does open up a whole new world to you.

After diving for so many years, I can't imagine not seeing all the wonderful things we've seen underwater.

scuba diving

We are always looking forward to our next scuba dive vacation. On this website, we focus on tropical open water diving, specifically in the beautiful Caribbean.

While you can go diving in cold water, for us it doesn't hold alot of appeal. Plus the topside attractions are also great in the Caribbean. How can you go wrong with blue water, white sand and cold beverages?

Think of those beautiful beaches in Aruba, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos.

OK, I digress, back to "what is scuba diving"?

Unless you take a scuba diving resort course, you must be certified to go diving. When you go diving in the Caribbean, you will typically go with a dive group organized by a dive shop.

Depending on the size of the group, you will have one or more divemasters with the group. The divemaster will tell you the max depth you should dive, the expected  bottom time, the layout of the dive site and what you can expect to see.

Boat Dive

While it depends on the island, most diving is done off a dive boat. You load all the equipment on the boat (or the dive shop does), motor out to the dive site, get suited up, listen to the dive plan and jump in. Let the fun begin!

scuba diving boat

If you are doing two dives that day, you need to do a surface interval surface interval. Depending on how close you are to shore, you do this either on the boat or on land.

If you're on the boat, hope for calm seas. I've seen many a people get seasick. Once they get underwater, though, they are usually fine.

I have compiled a list of boat scuba diving tips for you so you feel more comfortable on those first boat dives.

Shore Dive

There is quite a bit of shore diving on some of the islands (Bonaire and Curacao jump to mind). It is exactly what the name implies.

You suit up on shore, walk in the water and swim out to the dive site. You exit the water at the same place you entered. While it sounds easy, sometimes it can be pain if you have to lug all your equipment a long way.

But it's usually worth it.

scuba divers - shore dive

When you finish your dive, you go back to the dive shop. You put all your gear in the rinse tank (tank of fresh water), put it out to dry and you are good to go for a cold one and spread some dive tales! Your diving is done for the day.

Dive Community

An intro to scuba or an explanation of "What is scuba diving?" would not be complete without mentioning the people. One of the pleasures of diving is the other divers you meet. Divers are usually very friendly, fun and open. You instantly have something in common so there is always something to talk about.

Watch out though, after a few cocktails, the stories really get going.

If you're with a non-diver, be careful. They can get bored pretty easily when divers get on a roll. Keep a lookout for the eyes glazed over look (or the telltale loud snore!).

So there you have it, an intro to scuba and my attempt to answer "What is scuba diving?". Hopefully, I've taken some of the mystery out of it and encouraged you to give it a try.

Smile, you're going to have fun!

Shore diving photo by Mike Bass. Thanks!



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