One of the biggest debates in the scuba diving community is how young is too young to scuba dive. Many dive instructors do not feel comfortable taking students younger than 10 or even 12, but the fact remains every kid is different. Kids have different maturity levels, physical abilities and medical considerations and varying desires to learn this new skill.
Does this mean you should wait until your child has graduated high school to bring up the subject of getting certified? Of course not! Many teens make excellent divers, and a family scuba diving vacation could easily be a memorable trip.
Before you sign up your young ones for a certification class, consider these important questions to determine if they’re ready to tackle scuba diving, or if they should wait for a year or two before taking the plunge.
It can be tempting to pass on our favorite hobbies to a new generation, but make sure your child is genuinely excited about scuba diving. Willingness and eagerness to learn go a long way in retaining important information.
Consider signing them up for our Discover Scuba Class. This class offers a brief overview of the academics of diving, and then gets hands on in our indoor heated pool, specially designed for scuba training.
Is your child comfortable in the water? Do they spend hours paddling through the water or do they stick to the shallow end?
A strong knowledge of swimming is essential for ensuring safety down the road. Swimming lessons are a good idea for any child considering scuba diving. You can never be too safe.
Attention span is tricky to pinpoint, because as most parents know, kids will tune out an adult’s voice when a flashy cereal commercial comes on TV.
But even so, your child will need to be able to listen to the instructor, absorb and register instruction and use that information for future trips. Make sure your child can store this arsenal of valuable info in their long-term memory banks.
There are a lot of big words in scuba diving training that even adults have a hard time understanding! If you’re not sure if your child can handle the terminology, give them an open water dive book to see how much information they can obtain.
They don’t need to understand the entire dive book, but you should be able to gauge their understanding after a few pages. Make it fun!
One of the most important skills a diver of any age can have is the ability to speak up if something is unclear, or if something is uncomfortable. Can your child let an instructor or diving guide know when something’s not quite right?
Being able to vocalize concerns instead of just “letting it roll” is a safeguard against possible injury or disaster for divers young and old alike.
Above all else, make sure your child is ready, willing and eager to dive. Studies show that scuba diving can increase confidence, physical fitness and important coping skills in multiple areas of life.
If your child is excited and ready to learn, it may be time to take the plunge! In the long run, you’ll have an ocean of memories that will span two generations, and are sure to last a lifetime.
Need more information? Check out our education section. If you live in the Dallas area, swing by our shop in Carrollton, and we’ll be happy to chat with you about scuba diving and kids.
Any other scuba diving and kids tips you want to share? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tauchsport-steininger/