Diving and snorkeling guide for beginners

Our planet is an amazing place where everyone can find a small corner just for her/himself and escape the crowds. We humans really long for this kind of restart from time to time to fill up our batteries and reset our minds and souls. While some of us like to seek solitude in hiking the mounting climbing or walking through the forest, others head towards the water.

Technology advancement has allowed us to peek inside the wast blue world better than anytime before. We can admire the vivid colors and amazing marine creatures by exploring, the bays, coves, or open seas, as long as we have access to air. We can do that either by holding our breath or by using oxygen tanks.

Full diving equipment used to be very expensive but today it actually became very affordable, and better jet, you can rent it instead of buying. It’s no longer reserved for scientists, or researchers, it became a very popular activity available for common tourists and for all ages.

What types of diving are there

There several different types of diving, and we divide them into the recreational, sport, science/research types of diving. Any dive up to 40 meters is considered recreational diving, while everything below that point is considered professional diving and it is usually performed only by trained professionals or the army.

The best division is by type of dive as well as the equipment used for it.

Snorkeling

Also known as surface diving, it is actually floating or swimming on the surface with your face submerged. For this kind of exploration, you will need a mask and optionally, snorkel and fins. You don’t need any special experience, this is basic diving on the surface.

Freediving

Freediving is one of the oldest and most common techniques of discovering the marine world. For freediving, you also need only the mask, snorkel, and fins. It’s important to take as much air as possible and dive in to cross as much distance as possible without going out to get more air. This requires stamina, concentration, and knowing the right breathing technique.

Scuba diving

This type of sport/recreational/research diving is performed with the help of an oxygen tank strapped to your back, diving suite, fins, and several other pieces of essential equipment. MAximal dept of dive is usually between 30 and 40 meters for recreational diving. In the last 20 years, there are more and more scuba divers because this is a truly unique way to experience the underwater world. 7

Scuba diving does have certain limitations such as depth, time limit, gear capacity, and specific maritime regulations and laws for a certain destination. You should never dive without a license (PADI), and most of the national parks or protected marine areas have special rules you should stick to.

If you find yourself on a swimming adventure in the UK make sure to check some of these wild swimming spots.

Diving equipment

Diving is an antistress therapy for sure. It can be night diving, researching underwater reefs or caves, wreck diving, but in any case, you will need some quality diving equipment.

Thanks to technology development, scuba diving equipment has become both affordable and diverse. There are differences between basic and necessary equipment for different diving styles. Snorkeling is quite basic, while scuba diving is more challenging.

Here is a list of some basic equipment that you will need:

Snorkeling Mask

Ever since we discovered the fascinating underwater world we could not stop finding ways to see it better. Mask is an essential part of diving equipment for decades now, and for all diving styles. Without it, you simply can’t see everything that is underneath. There are many types of masks on the market but how to choose the right one?

This mostly depends on the purpose of your diving. If you only plan to explore the shallow coves you can go with the basic mask with a plastic frame, rubber spans, and plastic glass. They are cheap but don’t expect much in return. Silicone masks with tempered glass are ideal for snorkeling and free diving and they won’t get damaged so easily. You can also opt for a full face mask which literally covers your entire face and has an integrated breathing snorkel. For spearfishing or scuba diving the best option would be a mimetic small volume mask. They can also have a metalized glass that hides the face.

Snorkels

Apart from wanting to see better we also want to be able to breathe as long as possible, without the need of diving out for air if possible. Snorkel has come a long way since the first hollow cane or bamboo sticks. Today they are made of silicone or rubber (or both), but unlike mask, it has minimally changed in design. They can be bought together with the mask or separately. More professional snorkels have an integrated system that stops the water from coming in.

While snorkel is an essential part of snorkeling, it is completely unnecessary for scuba diving.

Fins

With mask and snorkel, fins are considered an essential part of diving equipement. Quality fins allow for smoother movement through the water, longer dives, and they save energy. There are open and closed heel fins as well as monofin. They are usually made of carbon, polymer, and aero composite materials.

Diving suit

It is very important to protect the body from external influences while spending more than an hour in water. A diving suit is very important in protecting the body from potential injuries cuts, bruises, but most importantly from hypothermia. We have wetsuits, drysuits, one-piece suits, two-piece suits, shortie or full body. They are made of neoprene and can be between 3 and 10 mm thick.

 

There is also some additional diving equipment to consider such as gloves, diving cap, or dive boots. A weight belt is also essential as it helps to submerge you more easily, while knife is very useful in case you get entangled and need to free yourself from the net.

Basically, anyone can be a diver, it just depends what type of diving are you looking for. Basic snorkeling is doesn’t require any special knowledge while scuba diving requires a class in specialized diving schools and a permit.

Audrey Brown
A Pilot, well-traveled consultant, businesswoman and international speaker who has collected countless pearls of travel wisdom over many years.

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