The idea of submerging your whole body and breathing underwater can be terrifying. Granted you’ll have an oxygen mask and a trained professional guiding you. The world of scuba diving is somewhat unknown to the average person, and the thought of trying it can be a little intimidating, but with the right information and instructor, you’ll be ready to explore on your own in no time!

Your first scuba diving class is likely to be very informational, and your hands on experience may be limited. Those new to diving will need to know and understand all of the safety measures as well as the equipment before the instructor will allow a student to journey into the deep unknown. The first dive will most likely be at a controlled site with at least part of the area shallow enough to stand in. 

There are a few common things that most first-time divers tend to notice. One is a hesitation to breath when underwater. It feels unnatural. A great tip to beating this oddity before it happens is wearing the dive mask and practicing breathing until you are an expert at mouth breathing. Just remember to fully exhale, or you may get a feeling of shortness of breath. Another common “issue” has to do with the expectation of quiet relaxation. Whether it is read online or just overheard, many people go into scuba diving with the idea that it will be very relaxing. Over time it can be, however, breathing underwater creates an unexpected amount of noise. Eventually, scuba divers learn to tune out the sounds of their breathing and concentrate more on the discoveries waiting below. Loss of vision is another point first-time divers make. The goggles needed to protect your eyes and allow you to see cuts off your peripheral vision. It is when you are unaware of what to expect that this might make you feel claustrophobic, although your eyes will adjust fairly quickly. First-time divers also experience a shift with movement, as water is denser than air. If not prepared, swimmers may try to move quickly and tire themselves out before they’re half way done with the course. Controlled, slow movements are the best way to get around underwater without overtiring yourself.

If scuba diving seems scary or makes you feel anxious, there are several things you can do to make the process easier. First, do your research. Nothing will make you feel better than knowing the place you have chosen is reputable and that your instructor is very experienced. Listen intently to what is said. The instructor will fill you in on everything you need to know; so don’t wait until you are in the water to learn. Make sure you use modern, maintained equipment as it will be easier to use and understand, and you will also have the confidence knowing there will be no issues once you are down-under. Last, but certainly not least, embrace your experience and have fun!