Imagine exploring the other 70% of our planet, the beautiful depths of the oceans and seas on planet Earth. The best way to go beyond the surface and stay in the environment for as long as possible is to scuba dive. But, before you strap on your air tanks and mask, you definitely need to be scuba certified.
Why should you get scuba certified? There are many reasons why it’s worth getting scuba certified, from overcoming scuba gear rental barriers to ensuring you have a safe dive, every time.
We’ve put together the most comprehensive list of reasons it’s totally worth it to get scuba certified. Some of the reasons are cheesy, some are important, and some are actually legal. Either way, take a look and see how many reasons you can get to before you sign yourself up to be scuba certified!
11 Reasons Why It’s Worth Getting Scuba Certified
The following are 11 reasons why you should consider getting scuba certified:
Reason #1: Rental Barriers
One of the most important reasons to get certified is the fact that most dive shops will not rent equipment to you if you are not scuba certified. People earn a certificate once they have completed the course. This shows that the person knows the safety requirements, dangers and has an overall knowledge of the gear, regulations, and other important factors when it comes to scuba diving.
While you can go out and scuba dive without certification, it can be a death sentence. Most people who are certified will tell you not to go out without at least some knowledge of how to dive properly, how to resurface, how to communicate, etc.
Scuba diving without a license is technically not illegal, as there is no real governing body that oversees the entirety of scuba diving. But, it will be tough to find a partner or boat captain that would be willing to take you out and go in the water with you if you do not have the proper training.
Reason #2: Safety
Safety comes first when scuba diving. With the complex equipment, the potential danger diving presents, and just the overall unknown of being underwater for great periods, safety is the number one aspect of being scuba certified.
In a typical certification class, you will take baby steps in learning how to scuba dive. You start on dry land, taking tests and learning the ropes on the how-tos of scuba diving. Then as the class progresses, you progress into shallow water, deeper pools, and eventually into the ocean for practice.
Most classes even require multiple tests that need to be passed for the certification to be completed. Instructors and certification schools take their roles very seriously and try to get as much knowledge to the students as possible.
Reason #3: Buddy System
You will not be diving alone most of the time, so being knowledgeable about how to communicate with another person underwater without talking is a big part of being certified. Also, knowing what danger signs to look out for with a partner is a key aspect of the “buddy system.”
The “buddy system” allows for more than one diver to be in constant communication with another diver in the same area as you and gives a diver a lifeline should things go from good to bad while underwater.
Most of the time, you will have the same partner when you are scuba diving, but there will be instances where you will have a new buddy when diving. It is important to know the language underwater and to know the warning signs when your diving buddy could be in danger.
Much like any universal language, all scuba divers should be well versed in the language, and therefore can communicate effectively with their dive buddy.
Reason #4: The Equipment
The equipment that is required to scuba dive can really only be learned about through experts, which means certification classes are extremely important. A lot of people do not have extra scuba gear lying around, so finding someone with the gear and the knowledge to teach you is important.
Equipment can also be very expensive to own, so finding a course that already has gear available to you is important. Most schools do offer their own equipment for practice use while in the class, but once you complete the course, then you will most likely be renting from dive shops.
Scuba gear is almost universal at every place you go, so it is important to be familiar with the ins-and-outs of what the gear looks like and how it functions. There is also the chance that the gear that is rented to you may not fit as well, so knowing how gear should feel is important before it becomes your lifeline underwater. Once you get certified, you may want to buy your own gear (our gear guide.)
Reason #5: Lifetime Warranty
Some scuba certifications come with a lifetime warranty (source) meaning that your certification never runs out, and you never have to retake a course or a test once you complete your first one!
You should find out which class nearest to you is the best. While it would be a burden to have to retake a certification class every five or ten years, it would be wise to find the most reputable school/class rather than one that offers a lifetime warranty.
You should also try and refresh your memory before each time you go out. This is to ensure you know what the language is, the warning signs, how the gear should feel, etc. before you go out diving.
Reason #6: The Cost of Obtaining a Certification
The cost of obtaining a scuba certification is not as much as you would think. If you are trying to be certified at a local school, then you are probably going to have to pay around $400-500 in total.
The classes usually last 3-5 days, with a portion of the certification fee going towards the use of the school’s gear. Now, if you should show up with your own gear, then the price could be lower. Owning your equipment is also a great cost-saver in the long run when it comes to scuba diving as well (less money spent on renting, familiarity with gear, etc.).
Certifying can be done while on a cruise, and can be a good value if you research a good cruise review site ahead of time. Most of the time, scuba diving certifications can be earned through those organizations more quickly than a normal class, but you might not get the full/best experience.
This can also take away from the amount of time you have to actually go explore if you are obtaining your certification. Even at an accelerated pace, it still will take a few days to learn everything and then practice before being allowed to go out into the open waters to scuba dive.
Reason #7: Exploration
Exploring a whole new world is something that most people do not get a chance to do in their lifetime. The world’s oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface, and humans have explored just a portion of what is out there. The chance to explore somewhere that just a fraction of the human race has explored is riveting and exciting.
For scuba divers—especially those who are certified—there are plenty of opportunities to explore new locations on the Earth and plenty of vacation packages that can take you all over the world.
The only worrisome part is the price of some of the packages online. Most include things like a place to sleep, dive guides, meals, and of course, comprehensive dives to places you could only imagine. With everything included, packages can range from $750 per person to upwards of $3500 per person or more.
These packages also do not usually include any kind of travel either, so tack on the plane tickets as well to your expenditures. You also would need to prepare any kind of international travel expenditures as well, as some of the best dives are in places outside of the United States. Rush Kult is a great one-stop-shop for finding the best diving or other adventures around the world.
Reason #7a: Exploration – Animals
On land, a zoo or safari might be the closest you could get to an uncommon animal. But some zoos do not allow you to actually go into the environments of the animals; some might have feeding opportunities available for a price, and others might have interactive shows available.
Safaris are a great way to get close to animals in the wild as well. They allow people to immerse themselves in the African safari through trucks and other vehicles. But again,it requires you to be closed off from the wild animals with little to no actual interaction.
Scuba diving is completely different than zoos and safaris. With certified scuba diving, there are no restrictions on where you can go, what you can touch, and what animals can come up to you. You are immersed in the habitats of the species under the water; therefore, you have a much more natural interaction.
Reason #7b: Exploration – Treasures
As well as exploring new environments and animals, there are also plenty of deep dives that will take you to sunken boats and shipwrecks where boats and vessels have sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
These vessels and ships range from pirate ships sunk on rocky coastlines, to wartime ships taken down during battle. Both settings and more are great for exploration and to see just how the ocean can claim new habitats out of what is provided for them.
Not only can you find and explore old shipwrecks, but there are also plenty of caves and other places you can explore as well. Coral reefs are bright and great places to see new worlds. Caves are also awesome to explore and can lead to new finds. Be sure to get proper training before attempting cave diving.
Reason #8: Meet New People
If you are a social creature, scuba diving is a great way to meet new people. From the certification classes to going out looking for sunken ships, and exploring open oceans during a vacation, there are always people going scuba diving and always looking for more people to dive with.
Scuba diving is a very niche group of people who share stories that most people would not have the experience to understand. These groups share common interests and go on adventures every time they see each other.
There are exclusive dive clubs all over the coasts, both east and west, and the world, that you can join—as long as you have a certification—and find people to go out diving with. It is a great way to get out of the house and meet people you might not otherwise have met before. Finding new people and branching out of your group of friends is a great way to add a little more adventure into your life.
Colleges are also a great place to become certified, as some colleges will over a scuba diving course or have a club on campus. It is also a great way to get certified as most of the clubs or courses are taught by professionals and not students and are either right on campus or very close by.
These clubs and classes are also great for finding new friends or just feeling like you belong to a group; this can be especially great for freshmen or new students to a school’s campus. Finding friends early on is great because then you can forge those friendships for the years to come.
The added bonus of obtaining the certification while in college is that you have that certification for the rest of your adult life. And while you might not go diving as often later in life, you can always take a refresher course.
Reason #9: Weight Loss
This may be on the lower end of your list of reasons to become scuba certified, but it is still a valid reason. Because scuba diving is very active, and it involves a ton of swimming, there are great chances for you to burn calories and have fun doing it.
Swimming is one of the best exercises you could do to lose weight because it involves movement from the entirety of your body and your entire muscle core. Scuba diving is the same, with the added pressure of being underwater, forcing your muscles to work that much harder to provide the movement you require.
Plus, the added benefit of being outdoors and in the sunlight for a good portion of the day is healthy for your skin (but wearing sunscreen is always vital). So while scuba diving may not be the first option for people to lose weight, it is an added bonus.
Reason #10: Distraction-Free Environments
If you are trying to find new ways to get out of the house, off your phone, and away from technology as a whole, scuba diving can provide all of that and more. Because you are underwater, there is very little technology that can accompany you while you are down there.
There is also the serenity and peacefulness of being alone with your own thoughts. There is no way to verbally communicate while scuba diving, so you are alone with your thoughts (and the fish) while scuba diving. There is have no way to check your phone for any messages from your work or your family or play games on your gaming console; there is just you and a world around you.
Many experienced, certified scuba divers say they view diving as a release from the regular, grinding workweek. A chance to get away from work, meetings, family squabbles, and other distractions while exploring and feeling alone are all different feelings that other scuba divers have talked about.
Reason #11: The Experience
From the previous reasons listed, there are so many motives to get your scuba certification. But perhaps the most important reason is just the experience of scuba diving.
There is nothing else in the world like it. The chance to explore an uncharted world with a species of animal that you have not experienced before is something very few people have had the opportunity to do. You can travel across the globe, finding new spots to explore and see new things.
Along with exploring is the ability to meet new people. This community of scuba divers is a tight-knit group of people who are bound by their knowledge of the underwater world. The group is exclusive and open to those who are willing to join them in getting certified.
And while you are in the community, you are going to make some new friends. Those friends might become lifelong buddies who go with you on your first dive, your first cave exploration, and your first shipwreck. These people become like an extended family of yours—a family who you trust with your life and who trust their life with you.
While you are exploring new places, and seeing new parts of the world, and meeting new people, you are starting to show new sides of you. You start to come out of your comfort zone, which is the best way to gain growth in yourself. You gain confidence knowing that you are a part of a group of people who have the same experiences as you.
Learning to dive should always include certification. As all of the above shows, the benefits are great. One additional benefit of certification is that you are fully up on all of the diving safety rules. You will know why divers ascend slowly to avoid decompression illness as well as how to use a dive computer to maximize your number of dives per day.
Be sure to take diving seriously at all times, but have tons of fun in the process.