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Scuba Diving FAQs

General Diving Questions

1. Where do I start?
2. Is it rational to worry about panicking whilst underwater?
3. I’m not a strong swimmer. Does that matter?
4. Is scuba diving expensive?
5. Shark attack!!! How likely is it?
6. My ears hurt when I swim to the bottom of a pool, is that a problem?
7. What’s in a scuba tank & how long does it last?
8. What if I run out of air?
9. I wear glasses/contact lenses, can I wear them whilst diving?
10. Is learning to dive difficult?

Course Related Questions
1. Are there age requirements?
2. Will I have time to get fully certified while on vacation?
3. Classroom study: What does it cover?
4. Pool practice: What does it cover?
5. How are the open water dives different?
6. Can I dive on holiday without getting certified?
7. Are the instructors qualified?

General Diving Questions

1. Where do I start?

By taking the plunge and making the decision to contact one of the dive schools on this site! Contact them prior to your arrival or simply note down their contact details and call in in person when you arrive on the island.

2. Is it rational to worry about panicking whilst underwater?

Of course it’s rational to worry. But here’s a quick test to see if you’ve got what it takes. Go into your bathroom, fill the sink with water, close your eyes and pinch your nose. Duck your head into the water and hold this position for a few seconds. If you managed to pull your head out without having a panic attack then you’ll be fine when it comes to learning how to dive. All you really need are good overall health and to feel comfortable in and around water.

3. I’m not a strong swimmer. Does that matter?

Let’s be honest, it’s better for both yourself and those around you if you can swim to reasonable standard. As it is PADI specify that you should be able to swim 200 metres with no equipment or 300 metres with a mask, fins and snorkel.

4. Is scuba diving expensive?

Taking an Open Water dive course in Koh Chang coasts around 10,000 Baht (~US$250). Owning all your own equipment is great but you’ll find that this isn’t necessary as your dive operator will provide all the equipment that you require. Like any hobby, you can invest as much or as little as you like depending on your level of interest – a keen mountain biker or snow skier would spend a similar amount of equipment as a keen diver.

5. Shark attack!!! How likely is it?

‘Jaws’ has got a lot to answer for. The simple fact is that the vast majority of marine life is more afraid of you that you should be of it. Humans are not the natural prey of sharks and in most of the world shark attacks are extremely rare. The attacks that do happen, almost always do so by accident and happen to swimmers and surfers, not divers. The shark mistakes the splashing on the surface for a seal or sea lion, and takes a bite. As we don’t taste like seal or sea lion, one bite is usually the end of it but, unfortunately, even a single shark bite can cause a lot of damage.

6. My ears hurt when I swim to the bottom of a pool, is that a problem?

Your ears hurt because of the water pressure on your eardrum. It’s the same effect that you feel when the airplane you’re in takes off or lands. During your scuba course you’ll learn simple techniques to equalize your ears to the surrounding pressure.

7. What‘s in a scuba tank & how long does it last?

Recreational divers breathe air, not oxygen. The air in a scuba tank is like the air you’re breathing now but is also filtered to remove impurities. People breathe at different rates and as you go deeper you consume air faster. As a guide a diver in calm, warm water, 5-10 metres below the surface can spend about one hour underwater with an standard size tank.

8. What if I run out of air?

It’s true that safe diving does rely on the use of life support equipment. One of the most important pieces of equipment is your air gauge. This tells you exactly how much air you have left at all times. So you are no more likely to run out of air than you are to run out of gas while driving a car. During your course you will also learn how to use tables that which show how long your air will last when diving at certain depths.

9. I wear glasses/contact lenses, can I wear them whilst diving?

Wearing soft contact lenses or gas permeable hard lenses to dive shouldn’t be a problem while you dive. Glasses can’t be worn for obvious reasons, however those with an aversion to contacts can have prescription lenses put into a face mask.

10. Is learning to dive difficult?

No, it’s probably easier than you imagine — especially if you’re already comfortable in the water. PADI’s entry-level course consists of pool diving, classroom-based knowledge development and open water dives. The course is performance based, meaning that you progress as you learn and demonstrate knowledge and skill. Your instructor will ensure that you progress at a pace that is comfortable for you.

 

Course Related Questions

1. Are there age requirements?

Kids over the age of 10 are catered for by the Junior Open Water Diver Certification. At age 15, the Junior certification upgrades to a regular Open Water Diver certification.

2. Will I have time to get fully certified while on vacation?

The PADI qualification which will enable you to dive anywhere in the world in the PADI Open Water Diver course – the the most popular dive course in the world! The PADI Open Water Diver course can be split into five or six sessions over as little as three days to a much as six weeks. Dive centres in holiday spots usually offer the Open Water course as a four day intensive course. Note that this is a beginners course, if you become hooked on diving you’ll find yourself taking intermediate and advanced level courses.

3. Classroom study: What does it cover?

The main focus of the classroom portion of the Open Water Diver course is on the effects of pressure on your body. As you dive deeper, the pressure on your body increases. This changes the pressure of air your regulator delivers and, especially, the amount of nitrogen absorbed into your blood. It is vital you understand the implications of these effects.

4. Pool practice: What does it cover?

This is where the fun begins. Taking your first breaths underwater on a scuba regulator is a memorable experience. The pool sessions are where where you begin mastering basic practical skills: breathing from a regulator, safe descent and ascent procedures, proper buoyancy and so on.

5. How are the open water dives different?

In terms of skills, they aren’t. The main difference is that now you are in open water and therefore can’t stand up, grab the poolside etc. As in the pool, the purpose of the training dives is to allow your instructor to determine if you have mastered the skills you need to be a certified diver.

6. Can I dive on holiday without getting certified?

Yes, you can. These experiences go by different names according to where you are: “Introduction to Scuba” or “Scuba Diver Course” are two of the most common. The activity usually consists of a morning pool session during which you are introduced to the equipment and practice several essential skills. Then you are taken on a open water guided shallow dive, closely supervised by your instructor. These courses are a quick, safe and inexpensive way to see if scuba diving is for you.

7. Are the instructors qualified?

Yes, you will find that the Instructors and Assistant Instructors working on Koh Chang all have a great deal of practical diving experience in addition to their paper qualifications. Diving is a very competitive business and cutting costs by hiring unskilled instructors is a sure fire way to go out of business. Read this article on identifying a good instructor.

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