Busting scuba diving myths

Busting scuba diving myths

Trained in scuba diving actress Anindita Nayar says you mustn’t fear the ocean

Anindita Nayar

The fear of scuba diving is often a byproduct of numerous myths floated around by amateurs. But here are a few reasons why you need not fear taking up this sport:

You have to be in perfect shape to be a scuba diver:

It never hurts to be in good shape, especially if you take on a sport. Diving though, on the other hand is not as physically taxing as it is commonly assumed. A healthy person, who can indulge in regular activities like a long walk and has basic proficiency in swimming can take on the sport quite comfortably. It is a fairly relaxed sport and everyone from teenagers to people in their 60s can enjoy scuba diving. On the other hand, if you are close to a good diving spot and can scuba dive regularly, it will definitely improve your health and fitness.

Diving is a tough sport avoidable for women:

No scientific research can substantiate the fact that women will not be able to cope up with diving, especially in a world full of world-class women athletes who excel at swimming.

Diving tanks have pure oxygen:

Another very prevalent myth is that diving tanks have pure oxygen. As pure oxygen is not good for you on the surface, there is no reason that should change when you are under water. The air in the tank is the same as regular air on the surface. It is only filtered and moisture is introduced as per what is required.

The ‘Jaws’ syndrome:

The chances of a shark attack while diving is next to nothing. Most places where you can dive will not have shark infested waters. Even if you do come across a shark, sharks in tropical waters are not aggressive as compared to those found in temperate waters. Further sharks have a very low propensity to attack people and there is an exponentially higher chance of being attacked by a dog while walking home.

You have to buy expensive gear:

There are three elements in the gear that should be personal as they need to fit you–mask, snorkel and a pair of fins. Everything else can rented at reasonable rates and is advisable till you become a true patron of the sport.

Need to dive deep to see exotic creatures:

It is commonly assumed that all creatures and aquatic life live deeper down and that you will have to dive very deep to see something worth diving for. That is absolutely incorrect! Most sea creatures, plants and corals are in need of direct sunlight to survive. Even professional underwater photographers seldom dive deeper than 50 feet. The most common range to dive is 20ft to 50ft.

Deep sea diving will result in ear damage:

This is true if precautions are not taken. All you have to do is, pinch your nose and blow gently against the nostrils till you feel relief or as they say 'feel your ears pop' (Valsalva maneuver). It is no different than what one used to do as a kid, when diving into the pool to fetch a coin from the bottom of the pool. Follow the rules and you'll be safe.

Modern scuba gear is foolproof:

Most Scuba myths exist simply to scare people away from the sport, but there are those that may cause injury. Modern scuba gear is a marvel of science, but like everything else they are not fool proof. It is imperative that you rent gear from an authorized place only and if you have your own gear, make sure you service it regularly.

Diving is for tropical coasts:

It is a common assumption that diving is only for the tropical coast and most of this has been reinforced by television and advertising imagery. Scuba diving is a sport which explore the waters, often venturing into uncharted territory. Some of the most famous diving spots are not in the tropics; they are not even in the ocean. Lakes, rivers and springs are great diving spots as well. Even quarries and mines are often explored by divers.

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