What is Scuba Diving?
Diving underwater using a cylinder of compressed gas for breathing is known as Scuba Diving. Scuba is acronym which is known as Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Using this apparatus scuba divers can stay in the water for a long duration. Scuba divers rely on the breathing apparatus that they personally take with them. It gives greater flexibility than normal diving wherein the divers have to hold their breath and follow breath holding techniques.
The equipment in scuba diving usually comprises of scuba masks, breathing regulators, fins, buoyancy devices and gauges. Scuba diving has become a hobby for several people who wish to explore the waters. The basic skills are taught in about three days.
Scuba diving is used for recreational purposes, scientific exploration and commercial purposes. But most people scuba dive to discover the unseen world of the ocean. The serene ocean waters invite people to explore and enjoy the underwater world. Nowadays underwater photography is also becoming popular and such photographers dive to take photographs in the water.
Children from about the age of eight years can learn scuba diving. There is no upper age limit for this activity. Children above ten years can be certified as Junior Open Water Divers and children above 15 years can be certified as Open Water Divers.
A person should not have a medical history of problems which can make staying underwater difficult or painful. Before he/she takes up scuba diving the person has to fill up a questionnaire related to his/her health. Physically disabled persons also can scuba dive with special equipment. There are various associations that cater to the necessities of such people.
Types of Scuba Diving
There are several types of scuba diving. The popular ones are:
Commercial scuba divers earn a living through scuba diving. They take up projects that are associated with building of structures like oil platforms and their underwater maintenance, creating maps, conducting surveys and other underwater related activities.
Military diving resembles commercial diving but is more research oriented. Tasks are performed by trained diving personnel. They perform tasks like underwater surveillance and military research. Several improvements and technological advancements in the field of scuba diving are mostly done by military divers and scientists.
For people who are very enthusiastic and passionate to explore the ocean, use of special equipment and special training should be undertaken. With this they can also perform advanced wreck diving and advanced cave diving.
Most of the divers belong to this category. Scuba diving opens different worlds to view and explore underwater. After getting the open water certification, there are several other categories of diving in which one can specialize. They include wreck diving, night diving, fish identification, underwater naturalism, underwater photography and videography, cave diving, altitude diving and rescue diving.
Places popular for scuba diving are, the tropical coral reefs of the Caribbean and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Other rivers, lakes and quarries are also popular for scuba diving.
Communication for scuba divers
Divers cannot talk underwater but they can communicate with each other using hand signals and gestures. Divers acknowledge the signs given by other divers. Divers tend to stay close to each other so that in case of any danger they can communicate accordingly.
According to a survey, diving is 96 times more dangerous than driving a vehicle on the road.
The pressure underwater is very high than that of on the land. When a person is exposed to such high pressures, they may experience difficulty in breathing and dizziness. Scuba diving is sometimes associated with health problems like decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity.
- Divers should wear properly insulated diving suits to prevent injuries under water.
- Helmet is essential for protection
- The diving equipment should have voice communication facility.
- Diving equipment should be properly maintained and serviced periodically.
- Usage of two independent gas cylinders to ensure a continuous supply of oxygen should be encouraged.
Scuba diving is increasingly becoming popular as a sport and hobby among all age groups. With improved diving equipment, learning diving has become relatively easier now. The unexplored under waters make scuba diving an activity which gives immense pleasure and satisfaction to the diver.