10 Diving Tips for Beginners

Submitted by mumunmumun on 24 April 2014   •  Uncategorized

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I’m no dive master, nor instructor. I’m far from expert. I’m merely sharing and emphasising a few things that I’ve learned after a few years of diving, some of which aren’t in the diving textbooks (or I’ve neglected to read, oops!) and I’ve shared repeatedly with friends.  Because sharing is caring, here are 10 diving tips for beginners.

diving tips for beginners - dive with friends

1.    Does it matter which organization you’re getting your diving license from? No and yes.

No. All diving organization covers the essential basics. The license process is important but more logs, understanding the ethics, and perfecting the skill are what matters most. I’ve met a few divers in my lifetime and believe me, it doesn’t matter what organization you started with. If you’re a shitty diver, than you’re a shitty diver. And no, PADI is not your only choice; there are also CMAS, SSI, NAUI, etc.

Yes. Some organizations cover different information or have a tendency towards a certain type of diving more than others, such as adventurous, scientific, etc. So, it really depends on how strong you want your base to be. There’s also the point of network. Some organizations, like PADI and CMAS, have more networks and are widely accepted around the world.

diving tips for beginners - different license

2.    Have your diving license test somewhere not so beautiful.

When diving for the first time, I was more focused on my gauge, the position of my buddy, and trying to avoid crashing into coral. I was still panicking the important stuff, which is a good thing for a beginner. Once I did enjoy the underwater view, I forgot most of my lessons. So, I suggest you dive at a crummy place for the first time, so you can concentrate on the basics and sensation of just being underwater.

1000 islands - posing out underwater

Can you see me? 

On that note, Jakarta divers shouldn’t underestimate the power of ‘Kepulauan Seribu’. The (most of the time) murky waters can enhance your sense of being with your buddy. Some spots are crash-able having less coral coverage and sand base, although still not advisable. Overall, I consider it a perfect place to start.

3.    Prepare a dive trip after you’ve obtained your diving license.

Many divers end their diving days after they had obtained their license, which is a shame considering a lot of time and money have been spent just to get the license in the first place. They forget, consider it too much of a hassle, or they are unconfident to dive without their instructor or buddies. So, while you’re getting your license, book a dive trip. It doesn’t have to be somewhere spectacular. Break away from your instructor and really experience diving on your own.

4.    Should you buy diving gears? Not necessarily.

Dive gears are pricey, so consider wisely. If you know you’re going to do dive trips, then buy your basic gears. My advice, the first dive gears you should have is a mask (because not all masks fit well), a pointer (not so you can be lazy with buoyancy control, but so you don’t have to touch corals), and boots (especially if you have small feet because most dive centers don’t have a huge stock on small sizes), and maybe a dive computer for safety. If not, rent.  I’ve suggested people should start by renting gears first, just to try on a few brands before making a decision on purchasing a wetsuit, BCD, regulator or fins. It also depends on the kind of trip you do. If you mostly dive during other activities and traveling with public transport, better rent than having your own.

Well, unless… you’re loaded.

diving tips for beginners - diving equipment

5.    Dive at least every 4 months

It’s really like riding a bike; once you get back on, you’ll remember how. However, diving is also about your buddy, dive leader, and the corals you’ll crash into. These are the things you risk if you’re without diving for too long. After 4 months, I tend to forget how to dive well. I dive like soap opera drama. Zooming in and out way too close and often to the ocean floor. I also waste much of my air because I get all panicky. All I do is stare at my buddy and not enjoy the dive, because I’ve lost confidence. No good. So dive at least every 4 months, even if it’s in the pool at at an undesired place near by. Remember, diving is not all about you, Princess!

6.    Diving is pricey. Deal with it!

There are a lot of things put into your dive trips. Your tanks, dive master, boat, dive crew, and meals, have to be prepared so you can dive. Not to mention gasoline prices for boats and overtime cost for the crew to wash your gear after diving. You don’t have gills, so you need to pay up to cheat your way and get extra service for it.

7.    When choosing a dive center, consider these costs.

–       Boat rides, because not every dive is a beach entry.

–       Gear rent. If you don’t have any, then you’re gonna spend money on it.

–       Dive group. The more the merrier. If you’re diving alone, then it’s gonna be a lot more expensive.

–       Packages. Some dive centers offer great packages. You should ask for them just in case there are some lying around.

8.    Don’t get your advance license just after your open water.

You wanna be able to drift dive while you can’t even control your buoyancy? Wanna kill an entire reef for fun? Wanna get lost at night and risk people going to jail, just because you want a night dive?

You’re not badass just because you can get your advance dive license after your open water license. You’re dumb or ill informed. Some dive centers and instructor will propose an advance class right after your open water license just to meet their quota. Don’t do it! Have about 20 or so logs before you upgrade. This is in the diving textbooks but divers still neglect to obey it.

9.    Your mind maybe ambitious, but your body might not be.

Dive trips are expensive especially for Indonesians. I’ve seen a lot of divers go crazy ambitious and do 5 dives a day just because they’re already at a place so they exploit themselves to do as many dives as possible. However, I think dive trips should be a vacation and not work, so relax! You could get sick and add more to the trouble to your life, rather than feeling better, not to mention you could die of decompression. And you’re not the only one that’s pushing it, you’re also pushing your guides and it’s their livelihood. So take it easy. Have fun, eat more, and sleep well!

 diving tips for beginners - facing a wall

 If you don’t like diving, then you don’t.

This is something I keep saying to myself: not everybody is comfortable in water, especially a few meters underneath the surface. So, although we’re traveling around the coral triangle, not everyone has to dive. Don’t force or discourage those that don’t. I, nor anyone else, shouldn’t pressure others to do it, but we can try to persuade because the underwater world in Indonesia is really beautiful 😛

AND SERIOUSLY, GUYS! Try to avoid touching corals. SERIOUSLY!

diving tips for beginners - do not touch the corals

No! No! No!

Hope our 10 diving tips for beginners helped your future in diving. As much as they are important for divers (in my opinion, of course), they are also important to preserve the sport and the corals that we fell in love with. Corals might stay abundant, but they can lose the battle with the overwhelming amount of people and new (potentially ignorant) divers in the future.

Did I miss anything? Got some of you own diving tips for beginners? 

Also a relevant post coming back to my diving square one.

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6 years ago

nice tips and love the article! so, when is your next diving trip?

Eloise Brown
6 years ago

The most important tip for beginners is never forget to have fun. Because no matter how expensive your equipment are, how beautiful the diving spot is, they’re nothing if you don’t enjoy them.

Gerty Gift
2 years ago

It was interesting that you mentioned the need to dive at least every four months. I never would have thought that you would need to dive that often, but I can see how it could help in the long run. I’ve been wanting to learn how to dive for a while now, so I think that I’ll take this to heart after I get my license. Thank you!