Regardless of whether you’re taking the plunge close to home, or embarking on your first real dive in an exotic locale, there are a few steps that will keep you from being automatically classified as the group’s token newbie.
From having a courteous presence on the boat to coming well prepared before your excursion, there’s a lot you can do to demonstrate that you know your stuff, even if it’s the first time you’ve been in open water.
After all, nobody wants to be the person that warrants extra attention, or who slows down the crowd. So before you take your first plunge, make sure you adhere to these fundamental tips that won’t make you look like a fish out of water.
Granted, if you go to the big box stores, you’ll find scuba gear in a one-size-fits-all pack that’s super cheap and easy to grab and go. But when you buy those generic packs that include a snorkel, mask and fins, you are automatically setting yourself up to be disappointed.
Scuba diving isn’t an activity where the proper gear can be picked up at your local store next to the pool supplies. Scuba requires some thought and respect for the ever-changing open water conditions that you’re going to dive in.
With that in mind, the best rule of thumb it to get the best equipment you can afford. Don’t skimp and save on bulk or generic purchases, because if your equipment malfunctions, it can easily affect the rest of your dive group.
When you’re on the dive boat to and from your locale, you should always remember that you’re sharing a collective and community space. So while it might be tempting to shed your wetsuit when you’re out of the water and leave it behind, or keep the stuff you need.
Keep sunscreen and extra clothes on the awaiting deck, remember that the sprawl of stuff you leave affects the other divers. A good rule of thumb is to have your stuff take up the same amount of space as your posterior.
By this rule, you can easily leave stuff behind without affecting the crew, and can easily pick up your gear after a trip before you even sit down.
Many divers do not eat anything at least two hours before a dive, and if they do, it’s restricted to the good stuff like yogurt, granola, veggies and whole grains. This is especially true for newcomers who might not know how the waters affect their digestive systems on the boat, or in the water.
So forego the hamburgers and fries before departure, and fuel up on plenty of water instead. There will be time to celebrate with a beer and a big meal after the dive trip is over.
Above all else, be smart. Common sense goes a long ways in making sure a dive trip is fun for you, as well as everyone else onboard. By being courteous, coming prepared and being fully engaged in the trip ahead, you’ll fit right in with the experienced divers who live to explore new underwater destinations.