Notes about things regarding scuba diving that I have come to know.

Why do Divers Quit?

There is a statistic that says that 95% of the people certified as scuba divers have left the sport. That's a pretty dismal number at first pass. There are of course many non diving reasons why people do not continue in the sport. Income, family obligations, health, lack of interest all come to mind. There are however a good many dive related reasons why folks leave the sport and most are avoidable.

I don't have a buddy

No buddy, no diving, that's the way it is and should be for most divers. Furthermore diving is a social activity. We get to spend time with our fellow divers before and after the dives at the site and perhaps go out to eat afterwards. I was lucky, my wife joined me in the adventure and that helps a lot. Here are some other options and thoughts on finding buddies. These are things that have worked well for us.

The water is too cold

I'll be the first to acknowledge that we all have our own personal tolerance for cold. However modern exposure protection is amazing stuff. Sure it takes the right gear and will power to get into New England ocean water in February but that's not what I'm talking about. Nearly anyone can be comfortable from Mid June to Mid October. The right gear fit correctly makes it all good.

The gear is too heavy

Well dive gear is heavy but the good news is that you only feel that weight before and after the dive. During the dive it's virtually neutral. There is one gear choice you can make that will actually shave over 12 pounds from your total weight. With experience you will learn to handle the weight and it will seem less significant as you gain experience with every dive. Some divers will find they enjoy diving if they stay with a manageable cylinder or avoid the heavy exposure protection of the colder seasons along with the weight required to sink it.

Nothing says you have to make an expedition trek 1 mile into the woods to dive the sacred springs. If you are comfortable diving from boats where you strap yourself into your rig and back-roll off the side of the boat then let that be the diving you enjoy. Where there is a will there is a way.

My gear does not fit right

That has to be one of the biggest reasons for sloppy diving and frustrated divers. How does it happen?

  • SELLING THE RACK: You walk into your local dive shop looking for a wetsuit. You don't quite find a perfect fit but there's one that's close enough they say. Perhaps they even say it looks good on you. You're anxious to get in the water so cash and carry. Eventually the excitement wears off and you notice the baggy fits that has water sloshing around or the constricted feeling in your chest. Be on the lookout for this and be fussy.
  • I GOT A DEAL ONLINE: Okay if you can't count on getting a good fit at the dive shop what makes you think you can count on doing it online? Some folks are lucky, some are not that fussy. If you end up doing an exchange your savings will evaporate with running around, shipping and lost time.

    For my money mail order is great for things that don't require a personal fit or local ongoing support. Things I consider mail order candidates: knives, lights, replacements of Items for which you know the correct size and model (Like if you loose a fin) , gear bags and assorted accessory items that are hard to find locally for some of us.

  • I COULDN'T TRY IT: Just say no. Buying a BC without trying it in a pool as a bare minimum is taking a big risk. In the water with your exposure protection is the only way to know what's going on. Start out with rental gear and ask buddies if you can try on their gear and maybe log a little bottom time. After trying a few rigs you will know when you find a winner.

I am not confident in my training.

This happens a lot though few divers will admit it. There are some great instructors out there and there are others that will put you through the bare minimum and let you slide through with a wink and a nod. Dive training used to be a vigorous program. One reason for this was the absence of things like alternate second stages, pressure gauges, power inflators and even the BC as we know it. With the added ease and safety of today's gear along with our "have it now: society dive training has evolved to the bare minimum and most of what is taught is disaster recovery, not diving. Meanwhile we each bring our own gifts and foibles to the sport and while some will be naturals, others will need time to acquire comfort in the water. This can be the big downfall for people taking quickie vacation courses.

If you are a certified diver but you are not comfortable going out to make a dive with peers consider some of these options.

  • Speak to your instructor. Many shops do regular dives and they may be able to buddy you up with a good mentor. The instructor may also choose to work with you and get you past whatever may be troubling you.
  • Find a mentor on your own. Someone who enjoys diving with newer divers can be a great ally.
  • Take the Advanced Open Water (AOW) course. This is a series of different dives that will expand your experience base and give you more mask time with an instructor. Doing this near home can bea great orientation if you did your Open Water certification in a warm water setting.
Above all, remember that this is your adaptation and different divers will require more or less time to become comfortable in the underwater environment. Be persistent and be patient with yourself, it is a worthwhile journey.

This page created 9/21/06