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What is Scuba Diving?

By D Frank
Updated May 17, 2024
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Scuba diving offers people the opportunity to see what life is like below the water in lakes and oceans. The word "scuba" is an acronym for self contained underwater breathing apparatus, and divers wear equipment that allows them to stay below the water's surface for long periods of time. The majority of people enjoy diving for recreational purposes, to see the beauty that lives in the ocean waters. Some descend into the depths of the waters for commercial, scientific, and military purposes as well.

While some divers enjoy diving in lakes, and a few will explore a river's waters, when most people think of scuba diving, they think of exploring pristine ocean waters. People who are interested in this sport should take a beginner's diving class, where they will learn the skills required, including equipment usage, defense techniques, and ocean awareness training. Classes are offered at many facilities worldwide to help minimize the risk posed by the dangers facing divers.

All scuba divers wear and use the same general equipment, though some people in colder areas will add equipment as well. The primary equipment pieces are fins, a mask, a tank, gauges, and a watch. Depending on the water's temperature, divers will also wear a wet or dry suit, a hood, and gloves. The tank worn on a diver's back supplies air to the person while he or she is in the water. Depth and pressure gauges provide divers with vital information about their whereabouts and their condition. A watch and compass will also assist the person while he or she is under water.

Recreational divers enjoy exploring the ocean's beauty. They typically examine sharks, fish, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, shipwrecks, and more. Divers will also come across innumerable beautiful ocean plants, anemones, and similar ocean life during their travels. Beginning divers can practice the basics in shallow water or in pools. Once in the ocean, beginners rarely will be allowed to venture beyond a depth of 60 feet (18 meters).

Commercial divers typically use their scuba skills to aid corporations in their preparation for projects such as ocean oil drilling and bridge construction. Scientists also make use of this equipment to study the multiple components of marine biology. Special forces in the military are trained as divers to provide the United States military with scuba expertise when called on.

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Discussion Comments

By andee — On Nov 27, 2012

I live in Minnesota and most people wouldn't associate this state with learning how to scuba dive. That is what I thought until I met my husband. He was a certified scuba diver and learned how to dive locally.

Come to find out, there are several places around here where you can learn how to scuba dive. There are also a lot of lakes where we live, so there are plenty of opportunities to go diving. The water is cold enough that he always wears a wet suit, but he has seen so pretty neat things under the water, even in the lakes.

Of course he really prefers to scuba dive in places like Jamaica or the Bahamas where you can see all the bright, tropical fish and huge sea turtles. But for someone who loves to scuba dive, you take advantage of doing it wherever you can.

By honeybees — On Nov 27, 2012

I think it would be awesome to learn how to scuba dive. How cool it would be to come across an old shipwreck! I have a cousin who works as a scuba diving instructor in California. He teaches people how to dive, and then arranges scuba diving vacations to tropical islands where they can put into practice what they have learned.

I have seen some of his pictures and most of them are incredible. Who knew there was so many bright, vibrant colors under the sea.

By myharley — On Nov 26, 2012

@sunshined -- When we went on a cruise, my son paid for an excursion which included a short scuba diving course. Within one afternoon he was able to learn enough to actually go on a dive.

The price of the excursion included everything he needed to scuba dive. It was a little pricey, but when you factored in what it would cost to buy or rent all the equipment, it wasn't that bad.

It also gave him a chance to see if it was something he really liked before he invested more money into it. He absolutely loved it, and when we got back home, he singed up for a local scuba diving course to get certified.

By sunshined — On Nov 26, 2012

@anon77564 -- I never knew the word scuba was an acronym either. Guess you learn something new every day. I have always wanted to go scuba diving, but the closest thing I have ever done is go snorkeling. You don't really need any special training to snorkel because you are just under the surface of the water a few inches.

With scuba diving, you go down a lot further down and have the opportunity to see a lot more - or so I have been told! Every time I see scuba diving pictures in a magazine or online I remind myself I need to sign up for some kind of course so I can learn how to do it.

By anon114567 — On Sep 29, 2010

i would wish to have the great experience underwater.

By anon77564 — On Apr 14, 2010

wow! I never thought that scuba is an acronym!

By anon41691 — On Aug 16, 2009

what do you need for a 60-meter dive? (what equipment)-- kais1993

By anon36060 — On Jul 09, 2009

Love it! did a speech on it once! never did it though

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