As with any hobby, there are always new things to learn when it comes to scuba diving. There are life-long enthusiasts and experienced guides who still need help identifying different species. There are an astounding number of things to see and take in under the sea which makes scuba diving, easily, one of the most interesting hobbies to indulge in.

There are different types of discoveries to be made as well. For some it’s all about encountering creatures you’ve never seen in person before. Others have been dreaming of finding a specific fish or even a fish that no one knows about yet. Whatever your motivation, there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of fulfilling your scuba goals.

Here are a few tips on spotting marine life and being a better scuba diver.

Do Research
Before you scuba dive in a specific area make sure you do some homework.  Whether you’re a diver or a photographer it helps to understand what you’ll be encountering at the site. Gaining knowledge that allows you to identify fish is valuable. There are limited resources and often even instructors can’t provide you with a whole lot of natural-history instructions.

To build a foundation of knowledge begin by studying the size, color, patterns, and other physical characteristics. Continue by learning the preferred habitats and where certain fish prefer to feed and hide from predators. By doing a bit of research you will be able to make connections between the marine life behavior you witness and the names of various species.

Practice Mindfulness
Train your mind and body to slow down. The success rate of spotting really cool fish will increase significantly. When you’re scuba diving it’s easy to cruise along the reef and want to swivel your head this way and that, taking in all of your surroundings. However, many species have a tendency to hide in plain sight. Learn to perceive random movement, such as the quick flick of a fin.

By slowing down and being patient you’ll be able to break the camouflage code that many fish use. There are creatures that settle on the bottom of the ocean floor and move very little. Only someone practicing mindfulness and taking things slow will be able to spot some of the coolest creatures. The key to locating hard to find species is to prepare yourself to spend an entire dive on the hunt, taking things slow, and investing time in the process.

Be Appreciative
When scuba divers begin researching before going on dives there is a shift in the entire experience for them. When you have knowledge of things such as habitat and behavior you will also gain newfound confidence and enjoyment during your excursions. The adventures are waiting and the possibilities, endless!