Can you dive without being certified?
When you get on a dive boat, then the person seems to have a story about how they do it without certification. Their friends took them out and they went diving. These stories seem like they are far fetched but most people dive without certification.
There are many risks when you do any activity without a licence or certification. The training needed to get the certificate is for safety. Many sports which require a licence are for the information to learn about the sport in which you are taking part.
Diving is not different from any other sport which requires a certificate. In the training you learn life saving information about diving and equipment maintenance.
Is it legal to dive without a dive license?
There are no laws about the certification or licensing of divers in the United States. Diving is a regulated sport. If the areas are wildlife protected areas, then they may prevent all diving. Other areas need to have a dive flag up, when there are divers in the water.
Most dive trips and boards do not allow you to dive uncertified, if you are on your own. There are many shops that teach an intro to Scuba class that allows an uncertified diver to go into the water and try out scuba diving.
Most certifying agencies even have courses designed to allow people to try out Scuba without even paying for a certificate.
These guided dives are done in shallow waters to minimise the risk of expansion injuries and bends. Also check: can you die from the bends?. For introductory dives many protocols do not have divers descending more than one atmosphere, nearly fifteen feet.
This minimises the pressure on the body and the chance that an unskilled diver will damage their lungs or ears by not breathing.
Gear rentals without certifications
If you go to a dive shop to rent any gear either it is scuba mask, apparels, bags, scuba fins, gauges, regulators, diving camera’s etc then they would like to see the dive certification first. Even if you buy your own gear to dive, you will face a hard time getting air tanks without a diving licence. To send someone into the water with no proof, they know that it is too risky for dive shops.
Why should you get certified to dive?
There are many reasons you should get your diving certificate before deep diving. Some of these reasons include knowing the physics of expansion injuries and how to prevent them. Along with the ability to recognise the signs and symptoms of decompression sickness, you learn few things – buoyancy control in an open water scuba class.
Learning basic equipment maintenance
In open water scuba certification class you learn things such as basic equipment maintenance. It is important to recognise good scuba gear from bad scuba gear. You are in an enclosed environment, when Scuba Diving, you cannot breathe in.
If you have faulty gear, then it may lead to a deadly scuba diving trip. To learn how to attach the regulator to an air tank may ensure that you know your equipment is set up properly. Along with the knowledge of how to set up your equipment, you learn what to do in case something happens to your gear when you are under the water.
There is nothing scarier than the failure of your regulator or your air tank goes empty suddenly because of a faulty pressure gauge. To know what to do in cases of emergency is an example of why to take a Scuba certification class.
You will qualify for dive insurance
The divers alert network (DAN) is an independent agency to help divers in emergency situations. The DAN teaches divers to recognise expansion injuries and signs of decompression sickness.
They have physicians on standby that interface with emergency personnel, if you ever get injured while diving. DAN offers dive insurance. It is a special medical insurance that covers expenses related to diving. Diving injuries require expensive treatments and intervention.
A life flight to a hyperbaric chamber can be a bankruptcy causing event. People who have insurance from DAN need not worry about the cost associated with dive related injuries and treatment.
Learn how to control your buoyancy
When we watch pictures or videos of people diving, it seems like they are floating seamlessly through the water. An unskilled or unpracticed diver thinks that buoyancy is something natural that happens.
But unfortunately this is not true. To learn buoyancy control is the essential part of getting a dive certificate. Poor buoyancy control is the major cause of decompression sickness and expansion injuries. The inability to maintain constant depth may lead to injuries that may be threatening to life.
You'll learn your ABCs
A certified diver knows the ABCs of diving. There are some pre – dive checklists you must go through every time to be sure that your gear functions properly. The ABCs checklist allows you to test your equipment easily.
Along with the learning how to do a pre- dive inspection of the equipment, you learn other important scuba diving basics. These things you will not get from uncertified diving. If you know how to dive safely, it will make diving an enjoyable experience.
No one wishes that their exciting dive trip ends with a hospital visit. If you get your dive certificate, then it will help you to make sure that you don’t end the vacation in a hyperbaric chamber.
It is up to you whether to dive uncertified. Uncertified diving is not illegal,if you are having the equipment then nothing can stop you. Certified divers recommend getting a diving certificate before you get into the water.
How can you get certified?
There are a lot of scuba diving training agencies. Such agencies offer curriculum and training from various levels of scuba diving. In early days these agencies came up with their own curriculum and training.
Now the divers have put up pressure on them to come up with common standards for the basic certificate. These entry level programs are similar, no matter to which agency you get your certificate from.
The aim of these agencies is to teach the new diver to become a proficient diver who bears the loss and understands the dangers and how to prepare for divers. The guideline allows leniency for the teachers to include particular local dive conditions.
Basic scuba certification
The most basic course is called Open Water diver. This consists of three different parts –
Academics – The future certified diver in this part, learns theory on diving. It has procedures and rules to regulate Scuba Diving. This can either be online or in a classroom.
Confined water – It covers practice sessions in a pool. It teaches the different parts of Scuba gear and how to use it.
Open Water – In this part you undertake a number of supervised dives. You have to show you know the skills necessary to dive in open waters. Open Water – In this part you undertake a number of supervised dives. You have to show you know the skills necessary to dive in open waters. You can also find out why prefer PADI over NAUI from our website.
How long does it take to get certified?
There is no fixed time, how long it takes to get an Open Water certificate. Some training centres offer courses which can be taken during a vacation trip and you get certified within a few days.
Self paced training takes longer and it’s up to you how long it takes. There is no reason to need longer than a few months to wind up everything, if you get certified in a local dive centre which has a pool and open water available to train and certify you.
How expensive is it to get certified?
There is no particular number which can be given. It depends on where you are taking the certificate from, etc. The cheapest and fastest is to do it during a vacation.
Dive centres in the vacation locations offer fast courses and certificates and often charge less as they are associated with the resorts you are staying in. Along with training course fee you also have to add any rental equipment you may require as well as fees for the test etc
When everything is said and done, you end up with a few hundred dollars to get certified. The more you have and bring, the cheaper it can and will get.
Is the certification good for life?
Yes certification is good and if you’re diving regularly then you need not get recertified or take a refresher course. If you have not gone diving for a while then you can consider taking a review class.
It is a good idea to make sure you are not rusty when you go back under the water. You want to take regular refresher courses . Gear and equipment changes, rules and regulations may be adapted and having a refresher course will make sure that you are up-to-date.
The best and safest way is to dive regularly. Keep on diving and continue the training to stay up to date with the latest changes. This ensures that you enjoy your device and stay safe .