Is Scuba Diving Worth It? (+9 Things Only Divers Can Experience)

If you’re considering a new hobby, and love the outdoors, action, adventure, nature, meeting new people, and experiencing something completely different, scuba diving might be exactly what you’re looking for.

But hold on a minute, isn’t it really hard to do?

Have you heard horror stories from friends about their scuba course or diving in general?

Water in your mask, heavy equipment, and lots of time in the classroom doesn’t sound like that much fun, so even with the attraction of meeting Nemo and his friends, it’s pretty reasonable to be asking if it’s actually worth it.

We’re going to show you that learning to scuba dive, and continuing on in the hobby doesn’t have to be an ordeal.

Approached correctly, your scuba course itself can be great fun, and gives you the opportunity for a lifetime of epic discovery underwater.

Yes, you’ll probably have to put in a little bit of effort in the beginning, but isn’t that true of all the best things in life?

You’re also likely to find that some of your apprehensions were not true, or are quite minor in the grander scheme.

So let’s have a go at answering all your questions, and hopefully will show you that, yes, it’s absolutely worth it to scuba dive and spend some quality time under the surface. 

Is Scuba Diving a Good Hobby?

It might surprise you to learn that over 70% of the Earth is covered by water

That’s a lot of the planet for you to explore, and unless you have the dollars for a ticket on one of James Cameron’s submarines, the very best way to take a look for yourself at what’s under the surface is to take up scuba diving.

While it’s possible to get a taste for undersea life by snorkeling, only by scuba diving can you genuinely enter the underwater environment and see its marvels for yourself in 360 degrees.

Learning to scuba dive opens up a hobby to you that is as large and as great as you want to make it.

There’s the incredible feeling of weightlessness when scuba diving that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth there to be mastered and enjoyed.

Scuba diving is good for your health, providing a gentle, all-over physical workout as well as mental peace and wellbeing.

Once you’ve learned to dive, you have a skill that you can take all over the world with you and continue your journey in incredible new places.

You can experience incredible underwater animal encounters, watching aquatic life interact in their natural environment.

It doesn’t have to be reserved only for vacations either, as there are enormous opportunities for fabulous experiences in local waters too.

If you like meeting new people, you’ll find that scuba divers are often like-minded, with shared interests and outlooks, and divers can make friends around the world for life.

To continually test yourself, scuba diving is ideal as there are almost endless opportunities to continue learning and add new skills.

If you want the ultimate challenge, then underwater is the place it can be found, and you’ll see that scuba diving can be an extreme sport if you want it. 

There are few places under more significant threat than our oceans for those concerned with the environment, and there’s no better way to get involved in aquatic conservation than to get underwater and see for yourself.

So, yes, we think that scuba diving is one of the very best hobbies around, with unmatched opportunities for ongoing adventure, fun, and discovery.

Is Getting Scuba Certified Worth It?

If you want to get the most from all that scuba diving has to offer, you need to get certified, and we believe that it doesn’t have to be especially hard.

Under the careful guidance of an instructor, you’ll learn and practice all the essential theories and skills that you need to scuba dive safely.

Once you’ve passed the standard Open Water Diver course, you’re certified to dive with a buddy anywhere around the world in conditions similar, or better, to those in which you did your training.

Although you should always take a refresh if you’ve left it a while between dives or don’t have a lot of experience, the course never expires.

Whichever of the leading training agencies you choose to learn with, for example, PADI, SSI, or NAUI, they all follow the same essential standards. 

Hence, there’s consistency in what a diver of a certain level will have achieved – irrespective of whose certification card they hold.

After you’ve passed the entry-level, it’s up to you to continue learning and taking further courses or just to enjoy the diving and build experience

Without certification, you’re limited to being able to do closely supervised introductory scuba experiences, and you won’t be able to dive the most exciting spots.

While these can be a great introduction to see if you like being underwater, they restrict the freedom and opportunities for you to learn, explore, and fully experience diving for yourself.

If you want to get the most from all that scuba diving has to offer, getting certified is undoubtedly the way to go.

How Expensive Is Scuba Diving as a Hobby?

Getting your scuba certification is comparable in cost to learning other outdoor activities.

Studies by the scuba training organization PADI have shown that tuition for an Open Water Diver course costs about the same as:

  • A weekend of lessons in rock climbing, kayaking, or fly-fishing
  • About three hours worth of private golf, or water skiing lessons
  • Or four private yoga sessions.

So getting into scuba diving might not be as expensive as you thought. 

While the cost of learning to scuba dive does vary significantly around the world, you’ll find that there are bargains to be had by vacationing in popular diver-centered resorts like Utila, Honduras, Koh Tao, Thailand, or the Egyptian Red Sea.

But don’t discount learning to dive with a dive shop close to home as this can often benefit slower, more flexible learning and provide a great way to meet new local diving friends.

Wherever you choose to learn, the cheapest is not always going to be the best.

Make sure exactly what is and isn’t included in the course price.

A very low price might have extras to be added on, such as equipment hire or course training materials.

Take the time to check out reviews on sites like Tripadvisor or Yelp, or ask any scuba diving friends you have for their suggestions.

Don’t forget that it’s vital for your enjoyment and success to find an instructor you get along well with.

If the scuba diving bug does get you, then, like many other hobbies, it can get expensive.

You’ll have to excerpt plenty of self-control to avoid buying just one more bit of equipment or booking just one more dive trip.

How Long Does It Take to Get Certified?

Your scuba diving course will be made up of three main parts that aim to teach you all you need to know to dive safely.

In a resort environment, you can get fully certified in as few as four days

You should expect these days to be quite full-on, especially if you start completely cold without picking up any of the theories in advance or having tried diving before.

This kind of learning doesn’t work for everyone as there can be a lot of time pressure to get it done.

Often beginning in a more relaxed environment closer to home can lead to a greater level of success as the course will be carried out perhaps on weekends, with time available if needed for extra practice and tuition.

It’s essential to go with what is suitable for the way you learn, so we’d recommend giving this some serious consideration before making your booking.

If you do want to do the course on vacation and take advantage of the tropical location to start your diving hobby, there are several ways that you can make things easier for yourself

There are also opportunities for you to save your valuable vacation time by doing parts of the course in advance, including:

  • Doing an introductory dive at home before your vacation so that you can see for sure if you like the feeling of being underwater and can preempt any problems that might make the course last longer.
  • Look into completing the theory online beforehand, to save spending a day or more of your vacation in the classroom.
  • You can save at least two days of vacation time if you can complete the theory and pool practice sessions at a dive shop close to home and then finish the course while you’re away (called a scuba referral).

Are There More Affordable Options to Get Certified?

Outside of the primary commercial scuba training agencies, other organizations can teach you to dive within a club environment where the instructors and staff work as volunteers.

In these situations, the arrangement is very much you put back in what you take out, and so can foster a great sense of community in a local club where everyone is helping each other become a better diver.

You can look for examples of this through the YMCA in the United States, BSAC in the United Kingdom, or CMAS in France.

It’s important to know that self-certification online scuba courses that don’t directly involve an instructor teaching you in person are hazardous and are also not recognized as being valid in dive resorts.

Is It Necessary to Get Certified?

It is possible to try scuba diving without being certified as part of an introductory program.

All scuba training agencies offer their version where an instructor will supervise at all times to keep you safe.

You can take a look at these examples or the one offered by your local dive shop:

These allow you to experience being underwater for the first time to see if you like it, but they do not make you a certified diver.

It’s important to understand that scuba diving can be a dangerous activity.

Without the training and experience from completing an entire diving course, diving without an instructor’s supervision could be hazardous and even deadly if you are not certified.

Without a full scuba certification, you won’t be able to rent dive equipment or join dive trips, so if you want to get the most from scuba diving, you must get certified.

Is Scuba Diving as a Career Worth It?

Working in recreational scuba diving as a divemaster or instructor is generally, like many leisure activity careers, a lifestyle choice rather than a financial one.

Teaching scuba diving is not an incredibly well-paid job, but it can be a lot of fun, gratifying, and you get to dive regularly.

But it is a career that most people can only do for a limited number of years, and, especially in resort environments, burn-out can be pretty high.

The best advice is to concentrate on becoming as competent and experienced a diver as you can be.

Watch the instructors and dive guides closely you come into contact with and ask questions to precisely determine what their job entails and if it appeals to you.

How to Decide Whether Scuba Diving Is Worth It for You

Talk to friends that you have who are scuba divers and listen to their stories.

Check out all the fantastic videos on Youtube that show the incredible sights that you can see underwater.

But by far, the best way for you to see if it’s worth it for you is to have a go as soon as possible.

Book up an introductory dive through your local dive shop and find out what it’s like to be underwater for the first time.

Every scuba diver can tell you about their first time underwater, so it’s time that you got your own story to tell.

9 Unique Things You Can Only Experience Scuba Diving

Scuba diving can be relaxed and peaceful or an extreme sport that takes you to the edge and beyond.

Unique experiences underwater that make scuba diving worth it include:

1.  Discovering Weightlessness Without Having to Go to Space

Real NASA astronauts train with scuba equipment before they head up to space so you can be sure that once you’ve mastered buoyancy underwater, you’ll be feeling like you’ve left the bounds of gravity.

2. Go Back in Time by Diving Shipwrecks

As well as providing a haven for aquatic life, wreck diving can offer an impressive and exciting window into times passed.

3. See Sharks Face to Face

There’s nothing like the first time that you come across a shark in its natural environment.

You don’t need to be afraid, just admire their astonishing beauty and enjoy any shark diving opportunities you get.

4. Discover Alien-Like Creatures

As a scuba diver, you’ll come across animals like nudibranch slugs that come in such incredible patterns and colors you’ll readily believe that they must have come from another planet.

5. Surf the Oceans Currents

Drift diving lets you fly along the reef carried by the current, effortlessly taking in the magnificent views.

6. Go to School

Scuba divers can get in amongst giant schools of tuna, jacks, barracuda, or trevally and feel for themselves what it’s like to be part of the underwater pack.

7. Make Underwater Art

Underwater photography is a genuine art form that is becoming more and more popular.

With a digital camera and waterproof housing, you can document everything you see and have some vacation photos and videos that everyone will want to see.

8. Really Swim With Dolphins

Only scuba divers can have the breathtaking experience of diving with dolphins in their natural environment in the open sea.

9. Get Under the Ice 

Ice diving is an extreme scuba activity requiring special training and techniques, but it rewards those willing with unique experiences.

Conclusion 

Learning to scuba dive can require some effort, patience, and cost, and sometimes even experienced divers can get frustrated with the weight of their equipment on dry land.

But once these modest challenges are overcome, scuba diving is a hobby with almost unlimited potential for travel, ongoing education, challenges, and incredible experiences.

Have a go for yourself, and we’re sure that you’ll find that scuba diving is worth it.

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