AT OK Diving Malta, we have considered this blog to share with you the basic information you need to know to start diving. We will answer your questions of What? How? Where? When? to discover another world… the underwater world!
¿What is Scuba diving?
Scuba Diving is an aquatic sport that although considered at risk enjoys a fairly high safety, as long as certain norms and standards are respected.
The main purpose is diving underwater with the use of an autonomous compressed air equipment that supplies us with air during the dive. The meaning of SCUBA is self contained underwater breathing apparatus.
That is why the diving associations decided to standardize practice and teaching, to keep it within safe and low risk limits, because we are obviously using a technical team and immersing ourselves in another environment other than ours, the aquatic. In other words, breathe under the water as if we were a fish. With the diving you will be able to contemplate and enjoy the immensity of the ocean and the great biodiversity that it shelters. Humans have always wanted to explore new places and this is the best way to discover the sea.
There are two types of diving, recreational diving that is done for fun and professional diving, which is done as a profession. We are interested in recreational diving where maximum depths of 40 meters are reached, although this requires some experience and training. The content of the tank would be air.
¿How to start scuba diving?
If it is your first time and you are interested to start scuba diving, we advise you to go to a dive center where you will find help and advice of certified professionals.
To start diving you can choose between two types of initiation: Discover Scuba Diving course (DSD), which is an introduction of diving and usually lasts half a day. The other option is the Open Water Diver course, which is the full course with certification that enables you to dive independently and usually lasts 3 or 4 days. We will explain them in more detail later.
These modalities can be obtained in countless Associations, most of them contain and are based on standards on theory and practice of safe diving. So there are not many differences apparently. At OK Diving Malta we work directly with PADI and SSI, recognized worldwide. In any case, the quality of the course will depend obviously on the professionalism of the diving center and the instructors who train you.
¿Where to start diving?
There are many dive centers and many professionals that you can choose for start diving, from OK Diving Malta we recommend that you make sure the one chosen is certified by at least one international organization like PADI or SSI. It is always better to check the facilities and the equipment they use before taking the course, they will give you an impression of how professional they are. It should be clean, organized, and the material has to look good and not deteriorate. If you also know your instructor personally it would be much better.
There are many places to dive although not all are suitable for beginners. We advise you to check before choosing a new dive site and also to opt for professional help if you do not feel experienced enough.
Obviously the best dive sites will be the ones with the best conditions, good visibility sites like here in Malta, nice water temperatures, there are not many currents and the surf is not excessive. Any site can be good if you have acceptable conditions, the first experience will be unforgettable in any of the ways. 😀
Fortunately in Malta we have conditions that make diving an especially pleasant and enjoyable activity. The divers who come to visit us agree that the diving in the maltese islands is one of the best of the Mediterranean sea. Temperatures up to 28 degrees and visibility of more than 30 meters.
It is possible to dive in the three islands that make up the archipelago throughout the year although the best time is from April to November. Diving in Malta, Gozo and Comino is simply spectacular.
In the following section you will find the necessary materials for scuba diving:
The mask is used, as everyone knows, to be able to have a good view under water but also must be able to hold the nose inside.
The fins are the most important part for our displacement since while you scuba dive the hands must be free. The fins should be adjustable and the length of the fin will also influence our kicking.
The bootes are complemented by the fins since they offer a greater protection and subjection. Neoprene and rubber boots are also recommended with a zipper.
One of the most important parts of the scuba diving equipment is the weight belt as it will help you with your buoyancy. Without it we will surely float on surface due to the positive buoyancy of the wetsuit.
The wetsuit is essential since it keeps us warm and allows us to be under water for a long period of time. Depending on the water temperature you will need a wetsuit, a semi-dry or dry suit.
Gloves and hood
They help keep our head and hands warm.
There are different types of tanks. Different volumes 5,8,10,12 15 and up to 18 liters. Different materials such as aluminum and steel. Different connections in their opening valves, but the function is the same in all of them which is to keep a gaseous content at pressures high of 200 and up to 300 Bar pressure. It is usually air, at least in recreational diving. This means that we have enough autonomy to be breathing under the water minimum time 30 minutes and up to more than 1 hour.
Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
The jacket is another key piece in scuba diving. It will be in charge of holding the tank. Also along with the weight belt will be helping us to get an adequate buoyancy. It works inflating and deflating by pressing buttons.
The Regulator is also a very important part of the scuba gear because it will provide us with the air we need for breathing under water and also to inflate the BCD. Moreover, usually the regulator also has a console that indicates the air left we have in the tank and the depth which we dive.
The diving computer is a very interesting instrument because it provides all the information needed to dive on a safety manner: the maximum time that we can be under water during the dive, moreover it indicates the diving time, the depth, the temperature, the safety stops and the time of stop.
At OK Diving Malta we work with two associations PADI and SSI. Both are recognized at the International level, and perhaps the two most extensive in terms of numbers of centers, professionals and certified divers. Being possible to dive anywhere in the world with your diver’s license.
Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) o Try dive:
The Discover Scuba Diving is the first step to try diving. It may vary depending on the professional and the diving center that offers it, but a good try dive program should at least include the following:
- Explanatory theoretical part about the program including aspects such as physics, ie how it affects the pressure of water in the body, physiology, air spaces affected by pressure, equipment, theory of diving, ie how to float, exercises to perform, low signals, water and underwater behavior.
- Exercises in the pool or confined waters. Very basic exercises of equipment manipulation such as cleaning a regulator and recovering it in case of loss, and how to clean a mask that is flooded.
- Dive in the sea. Guided by your instructor who will assist and control at all times.
Open Water Diver Course, full certification course:
The Open Water Diver course is the most recommended course in order to get the scuba diving certification. It consists of three different sections, a theoretical part, a practical part of confined water dives (usually in swimming pool), and another practical part of open water dives.
In the theoretical part you will learn what diving is about, the risks that exist, how to react before certain situations and what are your limitations as a diver. They are based on certain technical concepts such as physics, physiology, diving theory, equipment, aquatic environment, etc. The teaching material is based on a book plus videos although it can also be done on-line, so if you do t he theoretical part before going to the diving center time you earn on your vacation;). There are certain control tests plus a final exam of 50 questions.
In the confined waters you begin to gain confidence along with the instructor and you are performing exercises that will help you to resolve certain situations that may occur during the practice of diving.
In the open waters you will do also some exercises of the confined waters and of course you will learn to float and to dive under the water, enjoying what this activity offers. It consists of 4 dive and the maximum depth that you can reach with this license is 18 meters.
Requirements: Minimum of 10 years, minimum swimming ability and recent medical certificate.
Exactly like PADI the Open Water course with SSI consists of 3 parts: Theory, confined water and open water.
- Theory: Like the previous one, the theoretical part you can do on-line and any doubts you have you can check with your instructor.
- Confined Waters: You will be taught exercises with which you will learn to solve situations when you dive in a simple and enjoyable way.
- Open Water: There will be 4 dives where you will review the exercises learned and perform with your instructor your dives, contemplating the wonderful underwater world.
Requirements: Minimum of 10 years, minimum swimming ability and recent medical certificate.
Thank you for your reading. We hope it has been useful and hope to see us soon somewhere in the ocean sharing the blue, that we like so much!
The Ok Diving Malta team wishes you good blue to everyone!
See you soon 😉