In-depth explorations of the marine world offers insights and experiences you weren’t originally meant for, so it is imperative to follow rules for scuba diving. These basic rules give you a safety primer for yourself and the environment you're exploring and, along with common sense, will give you many fun and informative scuba diving memories and ultimate underwater confidence.
- You must be certified. No, you won’t get into any official trouble if you aren’t, but that’s besides the point. Given the nature of the sport, it can be extremely dangerous and even fatal if you’re not trained properly. Additionally, dive shop owners will ask for your certification card when you need to rent equipment or refill tanks with air.
- Get fitted for the necessary equipment. You’ll be able to rent other equipment, but gear such as masks, fins, booties, wetsuits, buoyancy compensators, weights and belts need to be personally fitted to your face, body and comfort.
- Ascend slowly—not more than 30 feet per minute. As you are ascending from a dive, you’ll will need to follow this cardinal scuba diving rule or you’ll greatly risk getting decompression sickness (aka “the bends”), which is a painful condition that results from swift changes in pressure.
- Perform safety stops. A safety stop should be performed at the end of your dives to avoid the decompression sickness. You will need to stop ascending at approximately fifteen feet from the surface for a five minute minimum or even wait for ten to fifteen minutes before breaking though the water’s surface.
- Check your equipment before you dive. You don’t want to find out too late that some of your gear isn’t working—it can be extremely dangerous. Don’t be too hasty—double or triple check.
- Do not ever dive alone—always bring along a dive buddy. Even the majority of veteran and professional scuba divers follow this rule. You’ll diving partner will keep an eye on you and vice-versa in equal measure. Diving alone can be fatal and shouldn’t be attempted.
- You must be healthy and in good physical shape. Size and weight is not as important as your cardiovascular endurance, strength, power and general athletic ability. You need to be able to swim very well and take the stress of underwater pressure. Your swimming skills will be tested before you get certified as a basic scuba diver. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
- Do not touch marine life. This applies to coral as well as marine animals—seemingly sturdy coral is actually very vulnerable to human touch (the chemicals in human skin can kill off a portion of coral upon contact). The waters and the life contained within can be impacted in unforeseeable ways if you violate this rule, not to mention that fish and other sea animals could be equally dangerous to you.