Cozumel is one of the world’s most popular diving locations, and it’s a great place to learn to dive!
Many people have thought about learning to SCUBA dive, but might have been afraid that diving was too difficult, too expensive, or even too dangerous. In this section, we answer many commonly asked questions about diving.
Q. IS IT HARD TO LEARN TO SCUBA DIVE?
A. No. In fact, it’s probably easier than you imagine, especially if you’re already comfortable in the water. The entry-level or “Open Water” diving course is divided into knowledge development, confined water (pool or shallow, protected waters) training, and at least 4 SCUBA training dives in open water. The course is “performance based,” which means that you progress as you learn, and as you demonstrate knowledge and skill.
Q. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A CERTIFIED DIVER?
A. If you decide to become a certified diver in Mexico, you have 2 options:
Option #1. Take the classroom and pool work at home, then come to Cozumel for your final open water dives for certification – this also called an “open water referral.” A referral is cComprised of at least 4 open water dives – where you apply and demonstrate the knowledge and skills that you learned in the course – are conducted on at least 2 separate days. If you arrive on the island early enough, you may be able to do your first 2 dives that afternoon, finish with 2 more the next morning, and you’ll be a certified diver by noon. Cost depends on the dive operation you use but your total cost will range from about $400-500 for certification dives, equipment and certification card fees.
Option 2. Take your entire certification course from start to finish in Mexico. The course will take 3-5 days to complete, and costs about $200-300 (again, depending on the dive operator you’re using) including equipment, materials and certification agency fees.
Q. HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE TO BECOME A CERTIFIED SCUBA DIVER?
A. Ten years old. 10 and 11-year olds receive a special certification which allows them to dive to shallow depths in the company of a diver adult. If you’re between 12 and 15, you receive a Junior Open Water Diver certification, which means you should dive with a SCUBA-certified adult. When you turn 15, you can upgrade your Junior certification to a regular Open Water certification.
Q. DO I HAVE TO MEET ANY SPECIAL QUALIFICATIONS OR CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE I CAN PARTICIPATE IN A SCUBA CLASS?
A. No. Generally speaking, anyone in average good health can participate. As a precaution, you’ll be asked to complete a routine medical questionnaire. If anything on the questionnaire indicates anything to be cautious about, you’ll check with a physician to make sure it’s OK for you to dive. Certain illnesses and medications are incompatible with diving.
Q. DO I HAVE TO BE A GREAT SWIMMER TO SCUBA DIVE?
A. No – just be a reasonably proficient swimmer who is comfortable in the water.
Q. IS SCUBA DIVING EXPENSIVE?
A. Not really. Like any hobby or recreation, you can invest a lot or a little, depending on your interest level. SCUBA equipment can be rented, until you’re ready to buy.
Q. WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED TO HAVE BEFORE THE COURSE?
A. Generally, you’ll want to buy your own mask, snorkel and fins. If you’re doing the full certification course in Mexico, all equipment is included at no extra charge.
Q. HOW LONG DOES A TANK OF AIR LAST?
A. That depends on several factors, which you’ll discuss during your course. In general, actual SCUBA dives last between 20-60 minutes.
Q. MY EARS HURT WHEN I DIVE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL – WON’T THEY HURT WHEN I SCUBA DIVE, TOO?
A. Your ears hurt because water pressure presses in on your ear drum. In the SCUBA course, you’ll learn a simple technique to equalize your ears to the surrounding pressure, and they won’t hurt at all.
Q. IN THE MOVIES AND ON TV, DIVERS ARE ALWAYS RUNNING INTO SHARKS OR EELS. ARE MARINE ANIMALS REALLY MUCH OF A CONCERN?
A. Virtually all aquatic animals are passive and timid. There are a few that can bite or sting defensively, but you can avoid these by watching where you put your hands and feet, and by not touching things underwater. Divers aren’t natural prey for sharks, so shark attacks are very rare — more people die each year from bee stings than shark attacks.
Q. IS DIVING DANGEROUS?
A. Certainly, there are potential hazards — that’s why you need training in safety techniques and certification. Like driving a car, as long as you follow the rules and use common sense, it’s pretty safe. Once certified, keep your skills sharp by diving often, and stay in good physical condition.
Q. I NEED VISION CORRECTION. IS THAT A PROBLEM?
A. Not at all. If you wear contact lenses, you shouldn’t have problems wearing them when you dive. If you wear hard lenses, you’ll need the gas permeable type to dive. Another option is to have prescription lenses put into your mask.
Q. THIS ALL SOUNDS INTERESTING, BUT I’M NOT SURE IF IT’S FOR ME. IS THERE A WAY TO TRY SCUBA WITHOUT SIGNING UP FOR THE WHOLE COURSE?
A. Yes, there is — a “resort course,” which is an easy introduction to diving conducted in confined water… this is a way for you to experience the fun and excitement of diving before deciding to enroll in the Open Water course. You spend a couple of hours with a certified instructor, who will work with you on some diving basics — and then go on to a shallow, controlled dive in the company of your instructor. About $70-100 includes all equipment (depending on the dive operator).
Q. I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS. WHAT NEXT?
A. Feel free to contact us at 888.599.3483! We’ll be happy to answer all your questions.
Bay Adventures Inc. | P. O. Box 530745 Miami Shores, FL 33153-0745 | 888-599-3483