The importance of proper scuba diving training
When you plan a tropical vacation and you decide to come to Playa del Carmen, you have many options for your choice of dive centers that offer training and scuba diving certification courses through a variety of training agencies (PADI, IANTD, TDI-SDI, SSI). Some offer fantastic training, some unfortunately do not. We are not going to name names, and we are not here to say who is good or who is bad (but we are great though!). It is important that when you choose to train with which ever dive center, you ask about the instructor who will be conducting your training. How long has he/she been an instructor? How many dives has he/she done? Are they all tropical dives, or has he/she been diving in other locations? Why is this all important? Well, perhaps you are from Canada. Maybe you are interested in at some point diving locally. Well, conditions will be quite different there. While you will certainly need some different equipment to dive there (thicker wetsuit or even a drysuit for example), if your instructor knows what conditions are like for cold water diving he/she can talk to you about it instead of saying “oh that’s way too cold for me! I would never dive there!”
Also, it is important that your instructor focuses not just on running through the skills required for the course. That’s easy. Every day we come across instructors who overweigh their students, kneel them on the bottom, do the skills for the dive and then a short tour of the reef never teaching the student how to actually dive. The most important part of scuba diving is buoyancy control and trim.
When a diver is overweighed, he/she must fight the drag created by the extra weight which is going to make him/her excessively negatively buoyant. When a diver is underweighed he/she has to struggle to not float up to the surface. Neither one of these scenarios is good. Being overweighed ads an additional danger to the reef ecosystem. Since you are excessively heavy and sinking too much, then when you kick, you can damage the reef, injure the organisms that live in the reef (and in the seemingly lifeless sand) as well as yourself.
The little that is taught about neutral buoyancy is taught in the form of two skills that really don’t teach much about it. We are not going to go into depth about them, but it is important that you learn how to hover properly and horizontally (see image above) and not vertically. When we dive, we want to be always be in proper horizontal trim.
We never kneel our students nor do we overweigh them. We try to always do all of the skills while maintaining proper trim and neutral buoyancy. After all, if/when you have to do any of those skills in real life, it won’t be when you’re kneeling on the bottom. Corners should never be cut where scuba diving in concerned.
I don’t expect my open water diver students to be perfect like I do with my cave diving students. After all, my open water diver students are beginners who are just learning the basics, but we don’t want to bring in bad habits from the start. That is why at Beyond Diving we focus on proper diver education. We want our student divers to be real scuba divers. To be safe divers. Because when you learn how to do something right from the start, you enjoy it more. And when you learn how to dive properly from the start, your dives last longer, your dives are much more fun, they are safer (because you are doing things properly) and you will want to continue to dive because it is fun. After all, we want to you love diving as much as we do.
So if you are interested in properly learning how to dive, or if you are already a certified diver, but you maybe want to correct some bad habits, and become a better diver during your next visit to Playa del Carmen, get in touch with us!