When it comes to diving, there are a few misconceptions floating around that we think are worth clarifying. Maybe these four explanations will help you convince your BFF that it’s time to get certified or help assure your mom that it’s not as ‘crazy’ of a sport as she might think.
1. Shark attacks
One of the biggest concerns we hear from non-divers is that they’re afraid of sharks. However, sharks pose almost no risk to divers or humans in general. Only about five humans worldwide die due to shark attacks each year, while humans kill around 100,000,000 sharks per year. In fact, many people who become divers start off nervous around sharks and quickly grow to become some of their biggest advocates. Even the rare people who have experienced shark attacks are often pro-shark, such as PADI AmbassaDiver TM, Mike Coots.
And if nothing else can calm your nerves, know that there are plenty of amazing dive sites that have low to zero risk of shark encounters. For example, the freshwater Mexican cenotes are one of our favorite dive spots and happen to be shark-free.
2. You need to travel far away to dive
Many people think that they’ll need to travel to far-off tropical locations in order to get a taste of diving. And while those dream destinations definitely make for amazing dives, there’s something worth seeing no matter where you live. Cold water diving has a lot to offer, from oil rigs to kelp forests. Even if you’re not near an ocean, there are plenty of lakes and quarries that offer unique dive experiences.
3. Snorkeling is basically the same thing
Most people have never tried diving, but snorkeling is much more common. Many people who’ve only tried snorkeling may think that it’s close to the same experience. We’ve found that there’s two ways non-divers interpret this myth. First, some people think snorkeling is “just as good” as diving. We disagree. While snorkeling is great, it’s much more of a spectator sport than the immersive experience diving offers. Being fully submersed and weightless is a completely different experience than floating at the top.
Second, there are people who dislike snorkeling, frequently due to not liking breathing through the snorkel, and assume scuba gear will feel the same way. In fact, regulators are much more natural to breathe out of. Most divers report regulators to be comfortable and effortless, while it can be hard to ‘forget’ you’re breathing out of a snorkel. If you haven’t had a chance to try out dive gear before, we recommend trying one of our try dive or Discover Scuba Diving programs. You’ll likely be surprised by how comfortable the gear feels in the water.
4. Diving is a man’s sport
We’ve heard from some women that they’ve avoided diving as they perceive it to be aimed at men, with very few female divers. And while it used to be the case that over 90% of divers were male, diving has become more and more balanced, with a current rate of about 1/3 of divers being women. And women who live in cold-water climates are in luck; we store a thin, even layer of fat just under our skin that helps keep women warmer than men in the water. We were born for this! PADI also recently celebrated the third annual Women’s Dive Day, an event aimed at closing the gender gap in diving.