Scuba diving is a sport that requires a lot of equipment. Aside from your wetsuit, fins, and mask, you also need an air tank, a regulator, a BCD (buoyancy control device), and possibly also a compass and dive watch.
However, in addition to all of the above, you also need to use your brain.
You could have the best scuba gear in the world, but it’s worthless if you don’t know how to use it properly. This is why divers have to go an intense training program before they can even enter the open water.
Open Water Course
Scuba diving requires a lot of fluid intelligence to get right – you can read more about this on the Examined Existence website. If you choose to study with PADI, you will be taught how to scuba dive in an open water environment. You will be required to learn a number of techniques that will keep you safe and calm underwater. You will be taught how to breathe, how to perform a safety stop if you descend to a certain depth, how to clear your mask if water gets in, and how to properly ascend and descend. You will need to remember all of this as you dive in order to perform the activity safely.
Advanced Open Water
The Advanced Open Water course takes the basics that you learned during your Open Water course and takes them to the next level. You can choose a few different specialties like night diving and cave diving, and learn how to perform these safely. The specialties have different techniques that you’ll need to perform to dive successfully. You’ll develop new capabilities and you’ll learn even more about the underwater environment.
Those who want to take their scuba diving education further usually go on to take the rescue diver course. This is a challenging course, but you’ll learn how to think in the moment and how to act in a rescue situation. Learning how to prevent and manage problems in the water can be really rewarding, and you’ll be surprised by how many problem-solving skills you will learn as you progress through the course. To complete this course, you’ll also need to have a First Aid and CPR certificate.
The final step of the PADI education (unless you want to learn how to become an instructor) is the Dive Master course. This course is the first level of professional training, and upon completing it, you will be able to take qualified scuba divers out with you without needing an instructor. This is an excellent course to take if you enjoy motivating others, but again it will require you to have problem-solving skills and the ability to think on your feet. The lessons you learned in the three prior courses will all come in handy here, but you’ll also be given a more in-depth education.
So, there you have it. While your equipment is important in scuba diving, your brain is likely the most important piece of equipment you have.