Skip to main content

Scuba Training and Safety

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:
students get ready

A group of students gets ready to make an “open water” dive as part of their course (Photo courtesy of PADI)

Although there are few experiences as peaceful as gliding weightless through the water in full scuba gear, the grace and beauty of the sport belie the fact that diving has inherent risks.

Fortunately, these are well understood and with proper training, there is little danger, so long as you follow the proper protocols and ensure beforehand that you are in adequate physical condition to take part in scuba diving in the first place. Indeed, children as young as 10 regularly receive scuba training.

In terms of training, thousands of different certified dive centers can be found throughout the world.Tying many of these centers together is PADI (padi.com), with regional headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, California; Sydney, Australia and Bristol, England. Since its founding in 1966, PADI has created standards and training protocols covering everything from basic open-water scuba diving to rescue diving, night diving and underwater videography. It has also established a certification program for instructors, instructor trainers and dive centers and resorts, designed to guarantee that all divers will receive complete and competent training no matter where in the world they go.

In terms of costs, getting certified for entry-level, “Open Water Diver,” as it’s called can range anywhere from $350 to $800 depending on location and whether or not you need to rent equipment or will be bringing your own. As for the training itself, it consists of three distinct stages: 1) learning the principles of scuba diving and dive safety on shore, 2) confined water dives, in which you are introduced to the gear itself in a quiet body of water or swimming pool, 3) four “open water” dives, typically made over the course of two days, in which you put your skills to the test.

Other scuba training organizations include the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI—naui.org) based in Riverview, Florida, and Scuba Schools International (SSI— divessi.com) based in Boca Raton, Florida.

With respect to safety, while the chances of injury in scuba diving are very small, a well-established dive safety and treatment infrastructure has also been put in place, both in the United States and abroad, to ensure that in the event a diver is injured, he or she can quickly access the necessary medical assistance.

Beyond that, as a scuba diver it is a good idea to become a part of the Divers Alert Network, or DAN (diversalertnetwork.org), a membership-based not-for-profit that does everything from research dive-safety issues to certify dive-safety instructors and provide evacuation insurance to ensure that if worse comes to worse, you’re covered.

DAN also provides support services to divers in emergency situations via a 24-hour medical hotline that can be accessed from anywhere in the world to help with everything from medical referrals to figuring out the logistics of an evacuation.

In fact, so successful has DAN been in caring for divers that it has also created a subset called DAN Boater (danboater.org), which provides the same 24-hour hotline medical evacuation and medicals repatriation services to non-divers, both at sea and on dry land. 

May 2017

Related

thumbnail_Jump-1

The Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race Returns

It’s been four years since racers last sailed the cold North Atlantic in the venerable Marblehead-to-Halifax race—and finally, the wait is over. The Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron have announced the 39th Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race set for this ...read more

Wendy-2048px

Meet Wendy Mitman Clarke, Editor-in-Chief of SAIL magazine

Learn more about how she and the magazine’s team are committed to building on SAIL’s legacy of more than 50 years as an authentic voice about the sport and the sailing life, delivering stories that educate, inspire and inform. ...read more

maintenance-02

Cruising: Old Sailors Never Die

“Old sailors never die, they just get a little dinghy.” It may be a hoary old joke, but one of my problems at age 79 is I can no longer get easily in and out of a little dinghy, and neither can my (several years younger than me) wife. For this, and various other reasons I will ...read more

01-LEAD-DSC_0953

The Mighty Compass

Here’s to the humble magnetic compass, without a doubt the sailor’s most reliable instrument onboard. It’s always there for you and with the rarest of exceptions, always operational. Yes, I love my chartplotter, autopilot, radar, and AIS. They help me be a safer and more ...read more

02-En-route-Jost-Van-D

Chartering: Swan Song in the BVI

Joseph Conrad once wrote, “The sea never changes.” And while this may or not be true, something most definitely not open for debate is the fact we sailors, “wrapped in mystery,” as Conrad put it, are continually changing—whether we like it or not. I found myself thinking these ...read more

220307FP51_1JML0332

Boat Review: Fountaine-Pajot Aura 51

If you can sell more than 150 catamarans off-plan before the resin has even hit the fiberglass, you must be doing something right. Despite costing around $1.1 million once fitted out and on the water, Fountaine-Pajot’s new 51 has done just that. The French yard has been at it ...read more

00LEAD-IMG-9035

Ready to Fly a New Sail

It’s a typical humid, southern Chesapeake Bay summer day when I show up on the doorstep of Latell & Ailsworth Sailmakers in the one-stoplight, one-lane-roadway, rural tidewater town of Deltaville, Virginia. I’m late getting here to work on a new jib for my 29-foot, Bill ...read more

m5702_RACE-AREA-6

Dates for the 2024 America’s Cup Announced

Ever since making the controversial decision to hold the next America’s Cup in Barcelona, Spain, instead of in home waters, Defender Emirates Team New Zealand has been hard at work organizing logistics for the event.  The Racing Area for the Challenger Selection Series and the ...read more