This article was originally published in Microsoft by the author, click here

Underwater Diving is:

a recreational activity, consisting of a person swimming underwater with a minimum of equipment, called “skin diving” or with scuba equipment, called “scuba diving.” If we are strictly referring to Scuba, most of the time, we are talking about an open system that uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus whereby a diver uses to support an independent source of air (breathing gas) while is submerge and swimming underwater.

For many, diving is a tool for exploration or other activities like photography, for others it is a sport.

There are three types of scuba system:

  • Open Circuit (OC): You inhale gas from a compressed gas cylinder and exhale your breath outside the system into the water and bubbles to the surfaces.
  • Close Circuit Rebreather (CCRs): When you inhale gas from a bag and exhale your breath inside the system. Your breath cycles through the system removing wasted carbon dioxide and replaces consumed oxygen, then returns it to the bag. No bubbles formed as there is no gas vented.
  • Semi-closed Rebreathers (SCRs):  You breath in from a bag and your exhale breath cycles through the system that removes carbon dioxide and returns to the bag; in this case, the oxygen consumed, is replaced by a slow and constant flow of gas into the bag, resulting in a small stream of bubbles.

But as we mentioned earlier, most people when they talk about scuba, they are referring to an Open Circuit system.

The modern scuba system has various components:

  • High pressure cylinder (scuba tank).
  • Regulator with a primary and secondary stage.
  • An independent second source of gas or an alternate air source second stage.
  • Submersible pressure gauge.
  • Buoyancy control device (BCD)
  • Harness.
  • Weight system.

Once assembled, you don and remove it as a single unit. All the components are standardized and work with different manufacturers.

Also, the diver must have a scuba mask, fins and an exposure protection suit and it’s recommended to have a cutting tool, tables- computers and logbook.

How deep can scuba divers safely go?

A recreational scuba diver can go up to 40 meters and ascend safely following the correct procedure taught by scuba agencies. But, in your first Open Water Certification you will learn how to dive up to 18 meters and under certain environmental conditions. There are golden rules that every recreational diver must follow:

  • Be careful never to hold your breath when using any form of SCUBA equipment.
  • Ascend slowly not more than 18 meters per minute, ideally 9 meters per minute or slower near the surfaces.
  • Do a “safety stop” in every dive, according to the environmental conditions.

How long is scuba license good for?

Dive organizations certified individuals to dive with specific equipment in a particular environment, for example could be open water or cave- restricted areas, and to a maximum depth. Your certificate never expires, but if you have a long time without diving, a refreshment course is prudent and advisable.

Your certification is valid worldwide if the diving organization where you trained is part of The World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC).

How old do you have to be to get scuba certified?

To be eligible to take a beginner course, participants must be at least 10 years old, be in good health, have good swimming skills, and have the time to practice and read. All children must be accompanied by their parents at the location of the training within the facilities.

If you have any questions about children and diving, read the following post and download the report:

What Do Scuba Divers See Underwater?

The aquatic realm is an incredible world of its own, it’s like you enter an extraterrestrial world, nothing compared to those creatures living in the underwater world. Just look at the photographs, my friend Bill Stewart is an underwater professional photographer that has an immense online catalog to show you, click in the image and amazed yourself.

Your Personal SCUBA Diving Resource

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