Do I Need to Know How To Swim to Scuba Dive?
This is a question that I often get asked, and really it is not as simple as YES or NO.
If you want to become a certified scuba diver by doing the PADI Open Water Diver Course then the answer is yes. In the PADI Open Water Diver Course it is specified that you have to be able to swim 200 metres with any stroke and also have to be able to tread water or float for at least 10 minutes.
The reason for this is not for the fact that scuba diving requires you to swim, but rather it is for yours and your groups safety. In the unlikely event that your BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) was to falter then there would be no device to keep you afloat except for your legs, which can tire quickly in bad water. If this was to occur in deep water then you would need to swim, tread water or float yourself to safety. If you are unable to do this you risk your own life and that of your dive buddy.
If you were considering doing a PADI Discover Scuba Diving resort dive or try dive, then the answer to the question is NO.
There is actually no correlation between swimming and scuba diving. Swimming is the act of keeping ourselves above the water. As scuba diving is done under the water than technically we don’t need to know how to swim. Scuba diving is done in a state that we call neutrally buoyant which means we neither float or sink. Actually this is the same state that fish move around in. What is common between the two is the kicking style. Scuba diving does not require the use of the arms, just the fins (feet). The kicking style is the same as a good freestyle kicking movement. A good swimmer more than likely does this well already, although it does not mean a non-swimmer cannot do it or learn it quickly whithin the space of a few minutes.
In terms of safety, during the PADI Discover Scuba Diving dives, PADI has strict student to instructor ratios. This means in the unlikely event that a problem occurs your PADI instructor will be close by to assist you.
So if you are looking at doing PADI Discover Scuba Diving then the answer would be no, knowing how to swim is not required.
Having said that, in my experience new scuba divers or those learning to scuba dive need to over come two main reservations or fears. The first is the act of scuba diving, breathing underwater for the first time can be and is super exciting, exhilarating and just plain scary. This is probably the easier of the two fears to overcome. The amazing marine life usually help with this. There is nothing like a close interaction with a turtle to take your mind off the fact that you are swimming underwater.
The second and more common one experienced by non-swimmers is just general fear of the water. Obviously being in deep water and a non-swimmer could meet with dire results and it is very difficult to convince your mind that this will not happen. The scuba equipment will keep us above the water and if a non-swimmer can convince themselves that between the instructor and the equipment all will be ok, then the scuba dive will go well. However the brain is a very persistent device and sometimes it is just impossible to change. This can result in extreme fear or panic and obviously results in a not so good day.
Though there is a very good way to over come this fear from the outset, you should 100% make sure that your first experience with scuba diving is in very shallow water or in a swimming pool. The ability to be able to stand up when you want to, has a good influence over the mind and it helps a lot towards over coming both the fear of the water and the fear of scuba diving.
So if you are interested in learning to scuba dive with the PADI Open Water Course or just want to experience the amazing underwater would with a PADI Discover Scuba Diving day trip or try dive, then contact Aussie Divers Phuket right now, because we are quite simply the best in Phuket to get you in the water whether you can swim or not!
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