Category Archives: scuba diving

Children and Scuba Diving

 

Scuba Diving can be great fun for the entire family. Children as young as 8 years old can be certified on some level, and those 12 – 15 can receive many of the same certifications as adults. Scuba Diving is a great way to teach your children about the world around them and gain a greater appreciation for the environment and protecting the natural world.

Of course anyone even children, can enjoy their first foray below the surface by snorkeling or “skin diving” Most people, including the little ones, can snorkel quite well the first time out.

A great way to introduce kids to Scuba who may not be old enough to get out in the open water just yet is through PADI’s, (www.padi.com) Seal Team program. This fun and action packed program for 8-10 year olds teaches introductory to basic scuba skills in a pool through a series of exciting “Aquamissions”, where the kids get to role play and become certified as “Aqua Mission Specialists” while learning real Scuba skills. A similar program is the Scuba Rangers, created in 1999 by Scuba Schools International. Like PADI’s program the Scuba Rangers (www.scubarangers.com) were developed to give younger children access to the world of Scuba, and build scuba skills and self esteem in a pool environment. Older children, 10 – 12 year olds, can receive a Junior Open Water Certification, which will allow them to dive with a certified adult to a depth of 40 ft. Upon their 15th Birthday kids holding Junior Open Water Certification can convert it to an Open Water Certification. The top dive agencies have recommended these age parameters because scuba diving and dive medicine professionals agree that children under the age of 14 do not posses the emotional maturity to deal with potential dive emergencies. This can lead to panic and a rapid accent – one of the most common reasons for dive injuries. Experts agree these “intermediate” activities are safe and fun alternatives for younger children and provide the preliminary skills and confidence that will make them better and more resourceful divers when they are old enough for full blown Scuba certifications. Scuba has become so popular among teens and children that many parents seek out and send their kids to Scuba Summer camps. These camps offer great opportunities for young scuba enthusiasts and budding Marine Scientists alike to learn and have hands on experiences in the marine environment. A scuba summer camp can be a wonderful experience for your child, and are found in some of the best dive locations and aquatic habitats in the world from The Florida Keys to the Amazon.

Introducing your children to the underwater world either through snorkeling, scuba diving or both is great way to share family experiences, build confidence, and grow a greater appreciation and understanding of the world around us and your child’s place in it.

The Live-aboard Scuba Experience

You are a diver, right? You love to spend your time in and on the water. You have saved up all year and looked forward to that vacation. So why then go to a resort, and then slip out to your dive boat – after all you are not here to play golf or lounge around the pool – you are here to Scuba Dive. So why not book a Live-aboard Dive vacation?

As the name itself implies, a Live-aboard is exactly that – you live on board the vessel for the length of the dive trip. There are many good reasons to choose a live-aboard dive vacation, not the least of which is that you get to dive almost as much as you can and are physically capable of.

Unlike on a typical dive vacation, you can dive 3-4 or even more times a day, depending on your own capabilities and the location. More importantly, you are free to go where you want on a Live-aboard. The best captains of Live-aboard dive boats know how to find and get to the best sites. While on some live-aboard’s a diver may be close to “roughing-it” where diving is priority and accommodations are comfortable but nothing special, there are those Live-aboard’s that not only give you access to great diving, but then also treat you like the owner of your own luxury yacht – featuring luxury cabins and an executive chef to prepare state-of-the-art meals.

Most of the top Dive locations, Australia, Phuket,The Caribbean and the Florida Keys offer many well-known vessels and Live-aboard choices. A typical Live-aboard dive trip is 5 days to a week and would go something like this: wake up, grab your breakfast, go to a the briefing on what the days dive activities will be, walk to the back of the boat, grab your buddy and you’re ready to dive – just like that. Done diving? Then resurface, back on the boat for a hot shower, maybe a quick snack while the boat moves on to another dive site, and you’re back in again. This will go on through Lunch & Dinner, where dives will be scheduled (appropriate to decompression limits of course).

There are many reasons to choose a live-aboard dive vacation over a road trip. Not only do you get to experience the beauty of a variety of dive spots, but also as part of the itinerary on a live-aboard the crew may choose to spend an entire day at a single dive site. Being able to dive the same site at different depths and different times of day is a fascinating experience.  Different fish and marine life have different schedules making even a you are familiar with, a completely alien place at night, or even at dawn. To see how the underwater world changes over the cycle of a day is simply amazing.

 

Live-aboards offer a fascinating and exciting alternative to land-based trips. But like any dive vacation, do your research and know what you are booking – and choose a Live-aboard that best suits your preferences, stamina and interests, who knows, you may never take a land-based trip again.