Do You Need To Know How To Swim To Scuba Dive?

To experience diving at its fullest, you need to be able to learn how to swim.

Non swimmer? Do not be disheartened. Technically, you can still scuba dive even you aren’t able to swim.

If you can’t or can hardly swim, you could attempt scuba diving with a Discover Scuba or some other “try diving” type course.

However to become officially certified, you’ll need to know how to swim.

Boy learning scuba with instructor

The world is your oyster as a diver. A certified scuba diver can see much more of the world because water covers more than 71 percent of the planet. Don’t dive? Enjoy your 30%!

Divers visit exotic locations such as tropical paradises, ancient cenotes, historic shipwrecks, arctic ice, underwater tunnels, and high-altitude lakes.

There are countless options for you to enjoy scuba diving. At least once in your life, you should try knowing what it feels like to be an astronaut and float weightlessly around our planet.

You might be curious to know how it feels to discover a new experience underwater and thought to yourself β€œI would love to try that.”

That thought process has brought about ingenuity, beauty, and thrill to the world of scuba diving.

But before venturing onto this new adventure, you thought to yourself and realized that you don’t know how to swim. Yikes!

🌊 1. Introduction To Scuba Diving

If you’re like us decades ago, the mere thought of scuba diving makes your palms sweat and your heart rate spike. It’s just so darn SCARY!

But what if I told you that it’s not as bad as you think?

In fact, it can be a lot of fun! Scuba diving is a great way to see the world from a different perspective, and it’s a lot easier than you might think.

So if you’re thinking about giving it a try, read on for some tips on how to get started.

Certification Course To Scuba Dive

To be certified, you’ll need to know how to swim to scuba dive, no negotiations.

In the open water course, which is where you become a certified diver, there will be a swim test.

You’ll need to swim unaided for 300 meters, or 200 meters with a mask, fins, and snorkel.

The second part of the swimming test will check if you are comfortable in the water and can stay afloat for 10 minutes.

Scuba Diving For Non Swimmers

The difference between learning how to swim and not learning how to swim before scuba diving is your ability to dive safely.

Without the skill or knowledge of how to swim, you will be severely limited during your first experience and cannot get yourself out of danger. You’ll be completely reliant on your dive instructor!

There will be a lot of restrictions such as only diving to 12 meters during the Discover Scuba course, and also the risk of panicking since you are not comfortable enough under the water.

scuba diving for non-swimmers

This is because when scuba diving for the first time might bring up emotions such as excitement, fear, anxiety, and amazement all at once, potentially overwhelming you. The first scuba diving experience and breathing underwater for the first time may be thrilling and invigorating for some but downright terrifying for non swimmers.

Of course, the wonderful aquatic life would be fascinating no matter what. Nothing beats the beauty of seeing the marine creatures up close. Wouldn’t you want to focus on that, instead of worrying about survival?

Practice In A Swimming Pool

The ocean scares people. We understand. It is vast, powerful, and you are helpless against it.

More prevalent than you think is the phobia of the water, or aquaphobia, frequently experienced by non-swimmers. Being in deep water as a non swimmer can obviously have disastrous consequences, and convincing your mind that nothing bad will happen is challenging.

Practice using your scuba apparatus above water in a pool, and familiarize yourself with your scuba equipment, so that when you hit the open water, all will be fine.

🏊 2. Certification For Swimmers

You don’t have to be a good swimmer but you’ll need to demonstrate that you are one.

The certification course is for swimmers who want to learn more about this incredible sport and continue to explore the oceans of the world.

It is designed to produce divers who are trained in diving procedures and skills, including safety and emergency procedures.

Certified scuba divers can dive with a buddy without a dive professional.

certified scuba divers sharing air

Needless to say, you’ll need to be able to swim. You can explore more freely under the water and enjoy yourself as you can scuba dive deeper with way more freedom.

Learning how to swim can definitely boost your confidence and safety as you know that you are in control of where you are under the water.

With the help of scuba diving equipment such as fins, which helps you move around the water much faster, and a BCD (buoyancy control device) that allows you to become neutrally buoyant, your diving experience would be much more enjoyable than if you try to scuba dive without learning how to swim first. 

πŸ‘©β€πŸ« 3. How To Learn Swimming, Then Scuba Diving

For people who are eager enough to learn how to swim and scuba dive, there are a lot of options that you could take.

Swimming Lessons

Depending on where you live, you can try to hire your own personal dive instructor from a local dive shop that might also be able to offer swimming lessons. Alternatively, many beach vacation destinations also have dedicated swimming instructors.

Private classes are more expensive, but they have the benefit of allowing the instructor to focus solely on you.

If a personal diving or swimming instructor is too much for your budget you could also try to find some friends or join a group of people to share the experience.

If you are really invested in learning how to swim and dive but couldn’t also find a group, you can also try a beach vacation with your family or loved ones and kill two birds with one stone by spending a vacation on a nice beach and also learning some swimming skills.

woman learning swimming skills while in a vacation

Try to find a buddy with whom you can split the cost, and make it a more fun experience!

Obviously, this isn’t an option for everyone, but if you want to spoil yourself and can afford it, go ahead, knock yourself out!

Learning To Scuba Dive

Learning to dive for the first time may make you feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available.

But, as with anything, nothing is as difficult as it appears, and you’ll quickly discover that you’ll have plenty of help along the way – scuba divers are a friendly bunch!

Knowledge Development

As you may be aware, there is a theoretical component to becoming certified, and getting your hands on the learning materials can seem daunting at first.

You’ll have theory lessons potentially from a book or video before progressing into diving in a swimming pool.

Related Content: The most important scuba diving rules to know in 2024

Confined Water

You’ll have your confined water sessions after you’ve gone over the knowledge development, where you get your first shot at setting up equipment and going through some vital skills underwater in a safe environment.

Beginner divers learning diving during confined water sessions

Everyone has a different learning curve, and your instructor should allow you to complete the various skills at your own pace.

Some people may have a harder time taking off and putting on their masks, while others may have a harder time with the fin pivot, buoyancy, and other skills. In either case, your instructor will let you take your time and establish your own level of comfort.

Learning how to dive is usually based on mastering the skills required rather than set time periods or limits.

Each individual will have a different experience than others. Some people will advance and progress more quickly while others may need a little more time in learning a particular skill before proceeding to the next. 

Open Water Dives

Now that you’ve finished all your confined water dives, it’s time to apply it in the ocean! It’ll be your first dive into the underwater world so cherish and enjoy it!

After 4 dives (some agencies have 5), you’ll then be certified. Yay!

πŸ€” 4. Final Thoughts

The underwater world is a magical place, and the instant you dive beneath the surface, you enter a fascinating realm rich in species.

Bright corals, vibrant crustaceans, and curious sea creatures abound in the water. Every dive is different, and there’s nothing like a new experience for the first time.

Diving will always leave you in amazement, whether you’re watching sea turtles patrol the reefs, listening to a humpback whale sing, or seeing a whale shark the size of a school bus. Live life to the fullest, head to your nearest dive shop and start learning swimming and scuba diving now

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