Are you scared to go scuba diving? Does the mere mention of submerging underwater give you heart palpitations? Or is scuba diving on your bucket list but it simply seems unattainable? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have a misconception about scuba diving.
I will be attacked by a shark
Every time I tell someone I’m a scuba diver, I can practically hear the Jaws theme song playing in their heads. Jaws (and all those other Hollywood depicted shark movies) cannot be further from reality. I know, you’ve probably heard it a million times before and really don’t want me telling you that most shark attacks are due to mistaken identity.
So, I won’t be doing that. But the statistics don’t lie. In 2018, there were only 2 unprovoked shark attacks in South Africa and neither one of them were fatal. This statistic seems quite strange since South Africa is known for its Great White Shark population. These attacks aren’t specifically on scuba divers either, they include all other water sports like surfing and snorkelling as well. In fact, did you know that you have a greater chance of encountering a shark while surfing or bodyboarding (this equates to 53% of the overall attacks) than you do while scuba diving (which make up only 5% of the shark attacks)?
I can also tell you out of my personal experience that shark sightings are becoming pretty rare and I have only encountered sharks larger than 1.5m a few times. This is unfortunately due to the rapid decline in our shark life.
Still not convinced? Do a little research yourself, or better yet, keep an eye out for our next shark course or conservation talk.
I’m a terrible swimmer
Believe it or not, you don’t need to be an excellent swimmer in order to scuba dive. As long as you can move your legs up and down underwater in a kicking type motion, you’re basically ready to go. The whole idea with scuba diving is not to swim like crazy underwater but rather just to fin slightly here and there. Trust me, you really don’t want an Olympic swimmer down there kicking up sand and chasing away all the marine animals.
Only rich people can dive
I’m going to be honest with you, in some respects this one is true. But what is cheap nowadays? When you get started you might have to cough up some dough to get your kit together. There are ways to save in this regard by for example buying some things second-hand and keeping your eye out for sales at your local dive shops. Otherwise, some people don’t do this at all and simply rent gear each time they go out diving. This will accumulate to quite a sum of money in the long run though, so I wouldn’t advise this.
So how is scuba diving affordable to the every-man? Well, in the wonderful city of Cape Town, for example, we have many amazing shore dives that you can do, which cuts out the costs of a boat charter. What this means is that a dive can work out to as little as R60 if you only need to refill your tank or R100 to rent a full cylinder. Now, I don’t know when the last time was that you went to the movies, but scuba diving works out cheaper.
Fitness ain't my business
Another common thing that people believe when it comes to diving, is that you have to be super fit in order to do it. This once again is not true. Of course, as with anything that requires some form of physical activity, it is easier to dive if you are even moderately active but it’s certainly not a prerequisite. And besides, if you go out diving you are getting in some exercise, so in my opinion that is a win-win.
I hope this article helped to debunk some of your deepest apprehensions about diving. All I have left to say is: when are you booking your first dive?
by Katia E Theron