To coin a very obvious phrase I'm just about to dip my toes into the water of this underwater scuba diving lark. I've snorkelled for years but never taken the plunge (sorry this is getting full of puns already) by joining a club and getting involved in all that stuff with tanks of air and stuff so be gentle with me.
I've booked myself a Try Dive evening with my local BSAC club tomorrow just to see if it appeals to me as much as I believe (although I appreciate this may cost me large amounts of money to take up much to the concern of my better half).
My litle brother is a qualified diver following his lengthy service in the Royal Engineers and has been trying to encourage me to take it up for years so I can eventually buddy him. I think he's qualified as a Dive Leader but is off in Malta at present so I cannot pick his brains further for another week or so!
He's a firm believer in BSAC as opposed to PADI - my first question may be putting the cat among the pigeons but do any of you have any specific reasons to put one organisation above the other since I only have his viewpoint at present?
Anyway - any suggestions or tips for me as a complete newbie?
Hello and welcome.
The BSAC vs PADI thing:
PADI - Pay for your training and get qualified fairly quickly, 3 or 4 weekends in this country, 3 or 4 days if you go somewhere like the Red Sea. The Open Water course costs anything from £200 to £400, and imo does not equip you to dive independently( ie with another OW diver), in the UK at least. Advanced OW costs another £250ish and is another 5 dives, but is still a bit light on dive planning and may miss some essential skills.
BSAC - club based training. Once you have paid your BSAC membership and club membership the training is free, though you may have to pay for kit hire. Instructors are all volunteers so the course timetable is tailored around their availability. It can take up to a year to qualify to Ocean Diver (the basic level), but the training is focussed on making you a competent diver in British waters.
Because BSAC is club based it provides you with a pool of buddies and there will be dives organised regularly. PADI training tends to leave you to fend for yourself, though many UK PADI schools also organise diving. If you intend to dive in the UK, go with BSAC.
I'm mostly PADI trained, btw
Tips - buy yourself a mask, make sure it fits properly. Don't be tempted to buy any more kit until you've qualified. Before buying try other people's kit and ask lots of questions. It will cost you large amounts of money, see this post
Much appreciated, I noted the 'don't buy kit for a while' kind of thread on quite a few sites so am doing my best to avoid temptation. As Mae West once said though, I can resist anything but temptation. Will take your sage advice though and hold off for some time 'til I discover if it's for me.
I'm not one for rushing things so I think I'll be taking my little bro's advice and following the BSAC route - if the blokes at the club near to me don't turn out to be a bunch of adenoidal anoraks! The fella I spoke with certainly seems okay and very willing to chat and dispense advice so fingers crossed. I'd rather do it slowly and learn things at a reasonable pace than rush it and feel that I missed something vital.
No doubt I'll be back here tomorrow night waxing lyrical about how I want to dive straight in and looking for advice here there and everywhere.
Good luck with it Nik - hope you have fun tomorrow
Ha ha cheers Tazzie - I'm still grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat here - that was brilliant (even if it did just amount to bobbing round in a pool for a couple of hours looking at the floor and all the sticking plasters in the filter).
Funnily enough I really enjoyed the simple stuff like controlling my bouyancy using just varying levels of air in the lungs - something that my yoga practice came in really useful for.
Had an absolutely fantastic time last night, a really good bunch of people and clearly an active club who do tons of wrecks around the Channel. I am doing the second Try Dive next week (just coz there's an available place really) and am joining quick smart after that with lessons starting early November - plenty of time to do the theory and pool work over the winter then a masochistic start in about February in local lakes near Maidstone to start the open water stuff. Am hoping to be signed off as an Ocean Diver on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend when they do a trip to Weymouth and then finishing off with the Sport Diver 'upgrade' shortly afterwards as most dives in the Channel in our neck of the woods are about 30m or so.
Am holding off from buying anything (except a mask and fins next month when I'm in Key Largo as I was already planning some snorkelling whilst there - would be mad not to eh!) but I can see this might become an expensive bugger of a pastime!
I think you'll be seeing me here on this part of the forum (asking dopey questions) a fair amount now...
Hi Nick, glad you enjoyed it.
A few months ago I started on the PADI route, and became qualified as an open water diver last month. I've just got back from Spain where we did four guided dives in the med.
I paid quite a lot of money for some pretty good training, and I'm quite happy with that. The one thing I guess I didn't get much of is experience. I'd be a little uncomfortable renting or buying some gear and just heading for the coast with my buddy, who is also OW qualified. So we're going to join a club and get a bunch of dives in with more experienced people before we'll feel like we're independant.
So I'd say that the Padi OW allows you to dive competantly with experienced people. Only experience allows you to dive independantly.
All this is based on a noobs opinion, obviously. I'm only a couple of months further on than you are.
/edit/ I asked a ton of daft noob questions here too.. and they were answered very graciously.. go for it
Originally Posted by nik_the_brief I can see this might become an expensive bugger of a pastime! Most of my kit is twelve years old and still going strong. I was gutted that I had to chuck away my old faithful mask this year because the frame was cracked (probably in transit)
So whilst the initial investment is quite steep, if you get decent stuff and LOOK AFTER it then it will last for years and years. Which is why the best advice is to ask lots of questions so you end up making the right buying decisions!
Originally Posted by pajr777 Most of my kit is twelve years old and still going strong. I was gutted that I had to chuck away my old faithful mask this year because the frame was cracked (probably in transit)
So whilst the initial investment is quite steep, if you get decent stuff and LOOK AFTER it then it will last for years and years. Which is why the best advice is to ask lots of questions so you end up making the right buying decisions! Hah - think that's likely to be my style of diving too - my bike kit is certainly not young by any means and I really make it last as long as possible much like my bike. Not one for buying new stuff if i can possibly avoid it.
Cheers for the advice though, I'll make sure I buy wisely since I'm likely to be using it for a considerable length of time.
Originally Posted by nik_the_brief Hah - think that's likely to be my style of diving too - my bike kit is certainly not young by any means and I really make it last as long as possible much like my bike. Not one for buying new stuff if i can possibly avoid it. You make a good point about new kit. I bought a drysuit on ebay and then got it altered. It would have been probably £600 or £700 new, but I got it for less than £250 including the alterations.
So long as you get people who know what they're doing to check your purchases, and you get safety type stuff tested before you use it, there's no reason not to save a whole heap of cash.
Heh heh - had another go yesterday evening and have definitely got the bug.
Signing up next week so can start training, they reckon I'll be able to progress to Sport Diver for May Day bank holiday when they take a club trip to Weymouth to finish off the open water dives.
Had great fun, went through the basics of connecting up the kit, buddy check, fin pivots, forward and backward somersaults and just hovering cross legged in the water and using my breath to go up and down - oh and round like a clock whilst cross legged. Finally mask clearances and mask removal, replacement and clearance. All in an hour or so with a bit of finning about and generally playing silly buggers.
Now all I have to do is practice all of the above, again and again til I can do it well rather than like the ungainly warthog I appear to be at the moment.
Tis great fun though innit!
Think the missus is a little worried that it might cost a fair few quid but then I am sending her off cruising Hawaii with a bunch of drunken Irishwomen next year so I don't think she can really complain. Shame though that she going somewhere with so much good diving and all she'll be doing is sunning herself and checking out the cocktails whilst I mind the lads at home - pah!