June 29, 2015
As the summer heats up here in Florida, everyone seems to gravitate toward the water. For many people, SCUBA diving offers more than just a way to cool off, it’s a chance to explore a different world.
About 3.5 million Americans participate in open-water SCUBA diving, according to statistics from the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association in 2014. Another 11 million Americans participated in snorkeling.
Whether you are just getting into the sport or a veteran of numerous dives, there are some important things to consider when planning your next SCUBA or snorkeling trip.
One of the most exciting things for divers is selecting a place to dive. Lakes, rivers, springs, bays and oceans all offer astounding views for divers. When picking a dive spot, research the location to determine the best time of year. For example, if you want to see manatees, dive in the winter when these enormous creatures gather in large numbers around inland springs. Check the average water temperature, depth, currents and visibility conditions for the time of year you’re interested in going. You’ll also want to know if there are limitations and/or seasonal restrictions. It’s always a good idea to match your experience level to the site as well. You might not be comfortable or feel safe diving at night with sharks after only a few dives.
While it is possible to rent SCUBA diving equipment in some locations, you may prefer to buy your own so you can be completely familiar with your gear. Wetsuits, masks and fins are part of the standard equipment, but don’t forget about air tanks and regulators to help you breathe. A dive computer or gauges are also necessary. If you plan to shoot photos or video during a dive, make sure you have the right cameras and lighting for underwater and deep sea use.
Your SCUBA diving equipment isn’t only made to help you explore lakes, rivers and oceans, it’s also designed to keep you safe. After all, you are counting on it to breathe under water. For starters, if you have any medical conditions that may prevent you from diving safely, ask a doctor before proceeding with your trip. Before entering the water, be sure the conditions are safe. If it’s rough or could turn for the worse, it’s better to not go and try another day. Be aware of any essential safety equipment or restrictions for the area. Proceed with caution, especially when ascending or descending. Stay conscious of your surroundings, and it is always preferable to have a dive buddy.
If you have any questions about buying gear or good safety practices for SCUBA diving or snorkeling, call our Dive Shop at 727-576-4169 to talk to one of our staff members.