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Scuba diving is an easy sport to learn, and opens up a fascinating new world.

Scuba Diving FAQs  

If you're comfortable in the water, chances are you can easily learn to scuba dive. Here are answers to some Frequently-Asked Questions about diving.



Learn to scuba dive. Frequently asked questions for new and would-be scuba divers.



Other gay adventure travel from Alyson Adventures.


Don't let seasickness interfere with a vacation. Here are tips on prevention.


From fairy basslets to parrotfish, you'll meet some colorful and unusual fish while diving. The Reef Environmental Education (REEF) site tells more about coral reefs, and includes a Fish Gallery to help you identify them.



Two organizations for scuba diving professions maintain websites that address many diving-related questions:

Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)

National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI)



Alyson Adventures offers a variety of active vacations for gay men, lesbians, and friends. Please join us for one of these scuba diving trips:

Dive on Saba! An Octopus's Garden is suitable for both new and experienced scuba divers, based on a scenic Caribbean island.

We also offer a live-aboard diving trip on the world's biggest and best-known dive site: The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia; and a live-aboard trip in the blue waters of Belize.























  It's easy to learn to dive

This site is sponsored by Alyson Adventures, which offers diving and other active vacations for gay men, lesbians, and friends. We hope it will be of use to anyone interested in this sport.A smiling group of divers suit up for a morning dive.

Our Contents page will refer you to descriptions of our dive trips, and our main site describes our full range of gay adventure vacations.




Is it difficult to learn to dive?

You can rent diving gear on almost any liveaboard boat.Not for most people. If you're comfortable in the water, and a reasonably good swimmer, you should be able to learn scuba diving from a qualified PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) instructor. The only swimming required by for the PADI certification is a 200-yard swim, and floating or treading water for 10 minutes.

You'll find that diving is actually easier than swimming, because there's no need to raise your head out of the water to get each breath.  

What does it mean to be certified?

It means that you've learned basic scuba diving skills from a licensed instructor, and are qualified to dive in open water with a buddy, with or without a divemaster present. Dive operators will require your certification card before they let you dive with them. 

The best-known certifying agency, particularly in the U.S., is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).   

How long does it take to get certified?A clown anemonefish hovers above an anemone.

If you're getting full-day instruction from a dive shop, at a dive location, then it depends on their schedule, class size, and how fast you learn. The standard "Open Water Diver" certification will typically be a four- or five-day process.

If you're just taking evening lessons at home, once or twice a week, it will probably take four to six weeks for this.   

I get pain in my ears when I go below 10 feet. Can I dive?

Part of learning to dive is learning to clear your ears -- that is, equalizing the pressure inside and outside your eardrum. It takes most people a few days to get the hang of this, but soon you'll do it automatically.

If you have ear infections or other blockages that might keep you from clearing your ears, then you should check with a doctor before proceeding.   

Can I get certified, without spending too much of my vacation in a classroom?

This diver is having a great time on his Alyson Adventures trip.Yes, and we recommend it. You can begin the certification process with a PADI scuba diving instructor in the U.S. You'll do your classroom and pool work with them, and they'll give you a referral to our PADI dive shop on Saba. You'll just have to demonstrate a few open-water skills during your first dives on Saba. There's a modest surcharge for this, but it means you'll get as many open-water dives as those who arrive in Saba already certified.   

How long will I be able to stay underwater?

That depends on how deep you are, and how heavily you're breathing. Air gets compressed at greater depths, so with each breath, you'll go through more of it.

You can often stay down 45 minutes to an hour at depths of 20 to 30 feet. On deeper dives, you may only get 15 or 20 minutes. As you get more experienced, you'll learn to prolong your air supply by breathing more slowly, and by conserving your energy.  

What about attacks from barracuda, sharks, eels, and giant squid?

Bee stings kill more people than do sharks -- but shark attacks make for better movies. (Just how cool would Leonardo have looked, if he'd been fighting off a bumblebee, in The Beach?) In reality, there are no aquatic animals that routinely attack humans, unless you provoke them by poking them, sticking your hand into their home, or getting too close to one with territorial instincts.

As part of your certification lessons, you'll learn some common-sense precautions. Most of these, however, are more for the protection of sea creatures than of you. You pose a much larger threat to them than they do to you. (Compare, for example, the number of humans who will eat squid sushi today, versus the number of squid who will munch on human sushi.)   

Can I wear contact lenses or glasses while diving?

Soft contact lenses should not be a problem. Bring an extra pair or two, in case one washes out.

Eyeglasses worn under a dive mask are neither fashionable nor practical. However, it's more economical than you might think to have your prescription ground into the mask itself. Your optician or dive shop can advise you on where to have it done.   


certification | equipment | seasickness | photography | conservation | other faq's

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