THE WORLD WOULD BE AN EVEN BETTER PLACE WITH MORE SCUBA DIVERS
By Joe Stude
Now that’s a bold statement. It’s a twist on The world would be a better place if… rant many of us have heard. You may have used it yourself while inserting our own remedy at the end. The reason I feel scuba divers have such a positive impact on our planet and society is that I have seen it firsthand. This is from a person who is both a recreational diver and someone who has worked in the dive industry for many years.
So just what are these positives that diving brings to the table? Let’s have a look:
Our hectic schedules: Hectic schedules can be stress-inducing as well. I can recall a time when my children were school age and we were all home on one Friday evening. I thought that there must be somewhere we were supposed to be. It was not until the next day that we realized we missed an event the night before.
Everyone can use some rest and relaxation time. What better way than on a dive, even if it’s a one-day jaunt to the local dive site?
Cell phones: Now let’s talk about smartphones. Where is yours right now? Mine is right next to me as I write this. My guess is that yours is close by, too. Well, you cannot take your cell phone underwater with you. Actually, you can, but I don’t take calls or surf the web while breathing through my regulator at depth, even if I am using a full face mask. Therefore, diving reduces our screen time. That’s not a bad thing.
Our mind is racing again! Think about where our thoughts are when we dive. When diving, you are actually relaxing (there is that word again), and looking at your surroundings. You are not thinking about what I need to do Wednesday afternoon. Diving just creates time away from the daily grind to recharge.
Dive vacations: Is it possible that just seeing the words dive vacation brings a sense of calm to the moment? It does for me. If you have ever been on a dive vacation you know the amazing feeling of devoting time to explore the wonders of our underwater world for a week. Adding in the resort type atmosphere does not hurt either.
Of course, I realize that some types of diving are not necessarily relaxing. I used to do search and recovery diving so I am well aware of that fact. Those deep wreck dives off the coast of New Jersey did not feel the same as a hammock on a tropical beach. They were still amazing. I also know the feeling of a week in Bonaire. Feel free to insert your favorite dive vacation location in the comments.
Scuba diving is good for the environment As divers, we learn from the very beginning of our training to be aware of the impact we have on the undersea environment. We also learn how we can avoid damaging this beautiful but fragile ecosystem.
Buoyancy control: We practice our buoyancy control for several reasons. One reason is so that we may look without touching because we learn that just a simple touch can damage delicate sea life.
Shore cleanups: Some divers participate in shore cleanups. There are many who will pick up that soda can during a dive and put it in their catch bag so they can dispose of it properly later.
I can say from experience that when doing a shore dive from a neighborhood access spot, that anxious residents relax when they realize I actually took the time to pick up underwater trash during the dive. When they see me put it in the trash receptacle or in my vehicle to take with me, it goes a long way in helping give divers a good reputation.
Scuba diving promotes a healthier lifestyle Stop smoking: I do not have any statistics to back this up but personally, but I have seen more people quit smoking as they got into diving than for any other reason.
Exercise: Scuba diving tends to provide that extra incentive some need to get in shape. Those walks back up the hill after amazing dives do not hurt either. It provides exercise as well as the inspiration to exercise more, all at the same time. The dive itself is helping as a physical activity that provides exercise as well.
A Healthy Diet: We learn from the beginning that a healthy diet is beneficial in many ways when scuba diving. The trend is to see more fruit than greasy fried foods when at the dive site.
Scuba diving provides a boost to the economy. Scuba diving creates jobs for those wishing to work in the field. Let’s take a brief look at the industry.
Instruction: It all began with scuba instruction and it continues today. Most divers who really get into diving go on to take additional training past their initial course. This, along with the right equipment, is money well spent. I have never heard a diver say, “I should have bought that new lawnmower instead of my BC.” The same holds true for training. Think safety!
Equipment: Think about what your favorite equipment manufacturer had to do to get you that regulator you really wanted. Obviously, it takes a team of employees ranging from design, engineering, marketing, advertising, sales and more.
Scuba diving promotes a sense of community Last but not least is the diving community. Whenever someone comes to me for information regarding scuba lessons I always include information about the diving community as part of our meeting.