Our dive centres on the Samana Peninsula in Las Galeras and Las Terrenas areas are as much information centres as dive centres and, just a couple of days ago, I had a visitor who said ‘I don’t dive but I like to snorkel can I book a trip with you?’
The reason she gave for not diving was one of the more common myths that abound about scuba diving; that diving is too dangerous.
This started me thinking about other myths I have heard about diving so today I’m going to dispel some of the common ones.
SCUBA DIVING IS JUST FOR MEN.
Nope, ‘fraid not ladies; Scuba diving is a GENDER FRIENDLY sport and women now make up around 40 percent of recreational divers worldwide. Scuba gear manufacturers have cottoned on to this fact and most of them now design ranges just for women. Mares ‘She Dives’ is a good example.
SCUBA DIVING IS DANGEROUS
So is crossing the road with your eyes shut. Before you cross a road, you stop, look and listen then, when it is safe to cross, you proceed to walk…. The same rule can be applied to scuba diving. You get training, certification and then assess each and every dive you make. Of course diving has inherent risks but in one year, statistics gathered in the US and Canada revealed that 88 fatalities occurred as a result of scuba diving, 700 people died whilst boating and a staggering 3,200 died whilst swimming. Comparatively speaking, scuba is a safe sport.
YOU HAVE TO BE SUPER FIT TO BE A DIVER.
Seriously? Have you looked at some of the guys and girls who dive? In my many years of being associated with this sport, I’ve seen all shapes, sizes and ages. I’ve seen one legged divers, one armed divers, deaf divers, almost blind divers, smoking divers, drinking divers and just about all points in between. Naturally, the fitter you are and the better physical condition you are in, the more you will enjoy diving.
SCUBA DIVERS OFTEN GET ATTACKED BY SHARKS.
Often Isn’t a word I would use but yes, there have been recorded incidents of attacks by sharks against divers. Records show that between 2000 and 2010 each year there are an average of 65 shark attacks WORLDWIDE and only 5 were fatal. These attacks also include swimmers, snorkelers, surfers etc. As well as scuba divers Compare that to the number of attacks by man on sharks, during 2011, 78 MILLION sharks were killed by us human beings….
And by the way, menstruating women run no greater risk of shark attack than any other diver; that is another myth.
SCUBA DIVING IS TOO EXPENSIVE
No, it isn’t. If it were, I would be a millionaire and I can assure you I’m not. I encourage our students to buy their own masks and snorkels initially, this way they can snorkel as often as they have the opportunity. I do encourage them not to buy all their own kit until they have tried several different makes and then to wait for sales and promotional offers. Plus most dive centres regularly ‘sell off’ their used gear at reduced prices. Dive gear can be expensive but there is no need to buy all your own equipment, rent it!
YOU SEE AS MUCH SNORKELLING AS YOU DO DIVING.
WOW! Congratulations, your breath hold must be phenomenal because with an average dive time of 60 minutes and an average depth of 18 metres, I guarantee you that I will see more at depth than you will at the surface. Plus I have never heard of a snorkeler exploring a wreck or cavern……
I‘M AN ENVIRONMENTALIST SO I DON’T DIVE
That’s like saying divers don’t respect the environment. The vast majority of divers are as environmentally concerned as non divers and, in many instances, even more so. After all, one reason we dive is to explore new environments and we want to ensure that the divers that follow in our fin steps have a chance to experience some of the wonders we see. Reef Check is a great example of environmental work carried out by divers.
YOU CAN ONLY DIVE IN AUSTRALIA, THE CARIBBEAN, THE MALDIVES……
Try telling that to the Dutch divers who regularly dive in murky canals, or the Brits who dive in cold quarries, or the Scandinavians who dive under the ice or the,,,,, you get my drift? There are divers throughout the world who regularly dive in what some may see as extreme conditions. Yes, it’s great to dive in the Caribbean or other warm water destinations with crystal clear water and the sun shining down on you but it can be just as enthralling to dive in the cold waters of Scapa Flow and see the incredible wrecks that lie in the waters there.
So, if the only reason you don’t dive is because you don’t want to that’s fine. As in many sports, there are those who do and those who don’t but if you are one of those who don’t dive remember, a little over two thirds of our planet is under water and who knows what you might find beneath the surface.