Tips for First Time Scuba Divers

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Even if you love the idea of scuba diving (which we hope you do since you’re here!), the concept of breathing underwater can feel weird and downright scary. However, being prepared and knowing what to do before you go out there can ease your worries, and ensure your mind is ready to focus on what it needs to be.

If you’re thinking about diving in, then you’re in the right place! We have all the tips you need to know if you’re a first-time scuba diver.

Plan Your Scuba Diving Training

Before you get out there to explore the 7 seas, you have to first finish your scuba training!

  1. There may be more than one dive school in your area to choose from. If so, make sure to check the specifics. Are you going to be in warm or cold water? What is this particular area known for in terms of sea life. You can expect to spend around 3 entire days in the water, so you need how to prepare for yourself mentally, make yourself as comfortable as possible, and ensure you stay at a healthy body temperature. If it’s cold, for example, you should bring a wetsuit to protect yourself.
  2. Safety is always our number one priority. Make sure the dive school you’re interested in has reputable, good reviews. Also make sure to sort by lowest-rated reviews as well and see if you notice any patterns such as poor treatment of students, disorganization, faulty equipment, etc.
  3. We recommend you get yourself in some kind of shape before you start your course. Yoga is a great practice to take up – even if you decide to follow YouTube yoga videos. The agility and strength you’ll gain from it will work wonders. Along with yoga, you should get your swimming skills up too, as this will allow you to maneuver better and increase stamina.

Health and Safety

Follow these tips to stay as safe and healthy as possible each time you go scuba diving and while training!

  1. Before you even touch the water, you need to check your dive equipment. Check every buckle, zipper, and make sure everything is tightly secured. Take a couple inhales of your air – it shouldn’t smell nor taste like anything. Also listen carefully while doing this to make sure you don’t hear any kinds of hissing sounds, which can be a sign there’s a leak in your air tank. The needle on your air gauge should also stay put and not be jumping all over the place as you breathe from the regulator. It’s a good idea to attach a divers knife to your BCD in case you you get tangled in a fishing net.
  2. Know that having your regulator be knocked or pop out of your mouth somehow is actually pretty common – especially among beginners. While it may seem scary and initially cause a load of panic, try to stay calm. These incidents are rarely cause for concern. Instead, practice reaching behind you toward your lower back and grabbing your regulator back until you can do it without a cinch.
  3. Take seasickness/motion sickness medication beforehand if this is something you know you already struggle with.
  4. If you have a sinus infection, cold, or any kind of significant congestion, you shouldn’t go diving. This will actually make it very dangerous to equalize, or even impossible.
  5. If you’re planning on traveling to go diving, you need to understand and read up on the risks of flying and diving before you start planning your trip.
  6. If you have any kind of cut or open wound you need to try your best to avoid getting in the water. If you can’t avoid it, make sure they’re all completely covered. Put on a wetsuit as well if you can.
  7. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water before you get in the water and after you get out to avoid becoming dehydrated. Scuba diving is very physically demanding, and if you’re diving in a warm location, even more so.
  8. Educate yourself on the symptoms of nitrogen narcosis and know how to avoid it. This is particularly important if you’re planning on going on any deep dives.
  9. Practice learning how to stay calm and think clearly in the water. It’s reported that more than 20% of diver deaths are directly caused by panicking. If you keep your head clear and calm, you’ll almost always be able to figure out any diving issue. Meditation and breathing techniques greatly help with this, as well as visualization.

More General Tips

  1. Choose a nice day to train – If it’s rainy and windy out, just avoid going that day. The potential issues are simply not worth it and waves can make it very challenging to reach the point of immersion and make underwater currents. Just wait until it’s nice outside. That way, you can enjoy the day more and not have to stress out about things out of your control.
  2. Ask any and every question you may have – Don’t be afraid of looking silly if you have a question. It’s better to be 100% confident and keep yourself safe. Seriously, don’t even dive if you have any doubts at all. Once you’re underwater you’re not going to be able to communicate and it will be too late to resolve these questions. Instructors are there to educate and make sure you’re safe, so just ask!
  3. Never stop breathing – It may initially seem kind of weird to breathe underwater but that’s normal. You have an entire tank full of oxygen with there strapped to you so just breathe normally. You never want to hold your breath.
  4. Don’t touch anything – Yes, we know it may be tempting to reach out and touch that brightly-colored fish or interesting coral but just don’t! You don’t want to put them in harm’s way and you never know if a harmless-looking creature may be much more dangerous than you think. It’s just better to keep to yourself and leave the ocean and its living beings as you found them.
  5. Rise cautiously – You should learn all about this in dive school, but just make sure you rise to the surface slowly. An easy rule of thumb is to rise slower than the bunch of bubbles produced every time you exhale.
  6. Check on your buddy – You should always know where your dive buddy is at all times. You may do this by always maintaining either physical or visual contact. Check in with them every 10 kicks or so. Do this by making the OK sign with your hand or circling around your dive light in darker situations.


Now that you’ve been able to read through some of the most important tips for the first time scuba diver do you have any questions? We hope that our guide has been able to answer all of them for you but if you still have doubts please ask your dive instructor and don’t go out until you have them answered. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you again shortly! Scuba diving may take a lot of awareness, planning, and education but it’s more than worth it!

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Richard Remick

Richard is the founder and the chief editor of Outside Pursuits. Passionate about the great outdoors, Richard spends much of his time in Colorado enjoying skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, and camping. When at home in Florida, he is most often found in the water. He loves water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. He is a certified scuba diver. Because of his wealth of knowledge and experience, Richard has been invited to contribute articles to many outdoor-focused websites, such as Florida Rambler, and has been profiled on travel websites such as JohnnyJet.

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