Top 10 Scuba Diving Myths Debunked

January 23, 2023 5 min read

diver swimming through shoal of colourful fish

There are plenty of scuba diving myths out there and this can make it hard to separate the fact from the fiction. You may have questions like “is scuba diving scary?”, “can I scuba dive if I can’t swim?”, or “can anyone scuba dive?”  We answer all as we bust the top 10 scuba diving myths out there:

Myth No.1: Diving Is Dangerous 

Like any activity, scuba diving of course comes with its own risks - the same as the likes of skiing, climbing, running and so on, can all be dangerous if you’re careless. However, completing your PADI Open Water Diver certification teaches you the essential safety practices, including specific do’s and don’ts for how to dive safely. You will be accompanied by a certified instructor at all times as you’re learning, who will be on hand to check your equipment and practices at all times, ensuring you stay safe. 

woman preparing to dive off a boat getting her equipment checked

Myth No.2: Diving Is Only For Expert Swimmers

 It’s common for people who aren’t expert swimmers to be put off by the prospect of diving. However, basic swimming skills are all that you need to become a scuba diver. You’ll need to be able to float or tread water for 10 minutes, and be able to swim 200 metres without stopping. When you’re diving, it’s actually better to stay  relaxed and kick with long, slow strokes rather than trying to swim quickly or powerfully. 

Myth No.3: Learning To Dive Is Difficult 

Another one of the most common scuba diving myths is that diving is very difficult to learn. In fact, you can do a beginner’s diving course in just a week, where you'll learn the basics before you can start diving on your own. You can start your training anytime, anywhere, studying at your own pace. Once you’ve nailed the basics, there are plenty of opportunities to improve your skills by completing speciality and advanced courses. 

dive instructor teaching two students how to dive in a swimming pool

Myth No. 4: Diving Is Only For Young, Fit People 

One question you may have is “can anyone scuba dive?”. So long as you’re physically fit, with no preventative medical conditions, anyone can learn to scuba dive. Children can learn to scuba dive from the age of 8 on junior courses, and at the other end of the spectrum, there’s no such thing as being “too old” to dive. Before you take a diving course, you’ll be asked by your course organiser to complete a short medical questionnaire. This is to check if you have any existing health conditions that may impact your ability to withstand underwater pressure.

Myth No. 5: Scuba Diving Is Expensive 

Learning to scuba dive does of course cost money, however lessons aren’t any more expensive than lessons for a number of other outdoor activities. For example, a weekend of rock climbing or golf lessons is likely to cost you a similar amount of money to the cost of your Padi Open Water Diver course. Once you’ve got your certification, it’s for life. Buying scuba diving equipment is expensive, however it is a long term investment. Joining a dive club where you can rent equipment can help save on costs, and the Aquanauts points system enables you to build up credit to put towards future purchases. 

Myth No. 6: You Can’t Dive If You’re Claustrophobic

Perhaps one of the most common scuba diving myths that you’ll come across is that it increases feelings of claustrophobia. However, when they give it a go, many people find that their fears of claustrophobia are unfounded, whilst others use diving as a positive way to overcome their claustrophobia. If you are concerned about claustrophobia when diving, the PADI Discover Scuba Diving course is a great way to ease yourself in. This is completed in a pool, giving you plenty of time to get comfortable and see if you’d like to go on to complete your PADI certification. Remember that your instructor is there to support you, so don’t be afraid to talk about your concerns so that they can help make you feel more confident and comfortable. 

Myth No. 7: Diving Is Only Good In The Tropics

There’s often a misconception that diving is only “worth it” in the tropics. Of course, the tropics offer all sorts of incredible marine life to be discovered, and one of the many benefits of diving is that it gives you an excuse to travel all around the world. However, some of the most amazing dive locations are found in cold water environments, including in the UK, where there are also plenty of unique wreck diving opportunities. What’s great about this activity is that you can dive pretty much anywhere in the world, and it's important to ignore scuba diving myths that you have to travel to crystal clear, turquoise seas in order to enjoy this hobby. 

seal swimming up to a scuba diver

Myth No.8: You Need To Dive Deep To See Anything

Many divers love the challenge of reaching new depths, and there is a PADI Deep Diver speciality course that teaches you how to get down to these depths safely. However, an equal number of divers enjoy staying close to the surface, around 18-20 metres deep. Here the water is warmer, the colours are brighter and your air lasts for longer, all of which are conditions that a lot of divers favour. One of the reasons that this activity is so popular with such a wide variety of people is that you really can make it your own, and enjoy exploring locations and depths that you feel comfortable with. 

Myth No.9: You Can’t Dive If Noone You Know Dives

Fancy trying diving, but can’t convince any of your friends or family to come along? This needn’t be a concern as taking a scuba diving course actually presents a fantastic opportunity to meet new people. All the courses that we run at Aquanautsfoster a fun and welcoming environment, and we’re always delighted to see people from all walks of life coming to join us. Diving has such a sense of community, making it easy to find a dive buddy that is like minded. 

two women smiling with arms around each other on a dive boat

Myth No.10: Scuba Tanks Are Full Of Pure Oxygen

Scuba diving myths come in all shapes and forms. One of the biggest false facts that are thrown around is that scuba tanks are full of pure oxygen, and this is what you’re relying on to breathe when you dive. In fact the air in a tank is made up of approximately 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen, so similar levels to the air we breathe in everyday life on land. Some experienced divers like to use a blend with extra oxygen which is known as enriched air nitrox. This raises no-decompression limits and so needs specialist training. 

If you have any more questions about scuba diving, or would like further information on how to get started, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Aquanauts team.
Lizzie Chapman
Lizzie Chapman

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