The Learn to Dive section of our website has a host of tips and info for beginning divers.
As divers, we all have people with whom we share almost everything – except diving. It’s natural that we want to share our underwater adventures too, but many people find scuba daunting. Maybe the gear seems too complicated; maybe the idea of breathing underwater gives them goose bumps; maybe they have an irrational fear of sharks. Whatever the reason, here are five tips for helping that special someone in your life become your regular dive buddy.
1 PASSION OVER PRESSURE If your prospective buddy is on the fence about learning to dive, pressuring him to try it before he’s ready is a surefire way to turn him off the sport forever. Instead, set a good example by letting him see your genuine passion for the sport. Tell stories of your favorite dive experiences around the dinner table. Let your kids play with your gear on land. And encourage them to hang out on the boat or go snorkeling while you dive. Chances are your passion will prove infectious, and they’ll decide on their own to try scuba once it’s been demystified.
2 PICK A BEGINNER-FRIENDLY DESTINATION If your spouse or child plans to try PADI’s Discover Scuba Diving or take an Open Water Diver certification class, make sure it’s in a relaxing and fun environment. Easygoing dive destinations like the Bahamas or Bonaire offer areas with swimming-poollike ocean conditions, where they can have a great experience without stressing about strong currents, cold water or low visibility.
3 INTERVIEW THE INSTRUCTOR Dive instructors each have their own personalities and teaching styles, from former military men who teach diving like boot camp, to new-age instructors, happy to hold a nervous student’s hand as they get comfortable in shallow water. Call a few dive shops and speak with the available instructors to get a feel for how they teach their classes so you can find the best fit for your buddy-to-be.
4 LET HIM LEARN ON HIS OWN It’s understandable that you want to be in the water with your spouse, child or friend as he takes his first breath underwater. But more often than not, your presence will be a distraction, especially if he’s also afraid of letting you down (see No.1 about peer pressure). Let the instructor do her job, and let your buddy learn without overburdening him with your expectations or making him perform skills under your watchful eye.
5 DIVE AT HIS PACE Once your new buddy is ready for open water, remember, as the more-experienced diver, you should dive at his pace, not the other way around. Don’t try to convince him to attempt a dive if it makes him feel nervous, and reassure him that snapping selfies at 10 feet is just as good as exploring shipwrecks at 100, as long as he’s enjoying it with you.
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