SCUBA Diving - Is It Dangerous?
Why Go Diving?
Ask a diver this question and you will get several different responses. Some folk just like it underwater, others indulge in underwater photography and diving is a necessity to take marine images. Others dive for scientific reasons such as marine biologists and marine geologists.
The reason I dive is two-fold. First, to view marine animals and plants in their natural environment and second, diving has many spin off subjects that I am interested in such as marine biology, animal behaviour, photography, boating, navigation, and so forth.
Terrestrial fauna, due to the inherent fear that many animals have of humans, is very difficult to approach closely and observe. Unlike on the land, many marine animals can be approached very closely by a diver. Where it may almost be impossible to walk with a leopard, elephant or other large terrestrial mammal, it is not impossible to swim with a shark, whale or seal. In fact, encounters with large sea animals can occur on a regular basis when diving.
I was recently asked by a non diver why I liked diving so much. I had to think about this question, and apart from observing marine animals at close quarters, I think the answer is that being underwater is very peaceful and stress free. I like the uncertainty that being underwater brings, after-all humans are not meant to be underwater! Although diving is inherently safe (for the most part), there is always the element of risk associated with every dive, whether it be environmental such as a current developing, or equipment failure orientated. With experience, it's relatively easy to calculate the perceived and actual risk of an upcoming dive, but as stated above, there is always that element of uncertainty. I think this is why I enjoy diving.
Is Diving Dangerous - Will I become Fish food?
Yes and no. Yes it is very dangerous if you have not received adequate diver training and accumulated suitable experience in the diving activity you pursue. As an example, a newly trained diver would be very foolhardy to attempt a deep wreck penetration without many hours of underwater experience in that area of expertise. The greatest danger in diving is over confidence; a legacy of experience.
Sharks and large marine creatures do not make diving dangerous. Yes they do add the potential for danger, however, marine animals do not actively engage in hunting humans. Actually it is the opposite - humans actively engage in hunting marine animals! Often, the danger is not from the large "obvious" animals but is from the smaller innoxious creatures such as jellyfish and hydroids.
The photo above of a white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) was taken by a diver NOT in a cage - and yes the diver is still around to talk about it! Although encounters with white sharks are uncommon, it must be remembered that it a privilege to share the ocean with such magnificent creatures.
SCUBA diving is very equipment intensive. The quality of your equipment and its effectiveness, durability and ease of operation are very important to your safety and enjoyment. The overall cost of essential equipment should not be a factor in your decision as to what brand or type of equipment you purchase.
We are using, at the moment, the following items of main equipment:
- APEX TX-100 regulator (primary, secondary and redundant)
- SCUBAPRO air 2
- UWATEC Smart Pro computer (2004 upgraded model)
- DUI CF-200 drysuit (the bright orange suit!)
- SCUBAPRO classic BCD, Mares Vector 1000 BCD,
Dive Rite Transpac II harness with Oxycheq signature series wing (30 lb lift)
- DUI weight harness
SCUBA diving can be as technical or as simple as you want it to be. To enjoy the underwater world all you really need is a mask, snorkel and fins!
If you are only interested in diving in shallow warm tropical waters, then the equipment required is nowhere as intensive as that required to dive in temperate deep water with a possible wreck penetration.
It's important to only take what equipment you require for the current dive. Today's market provides divers a huge range of equipment to purchase and it can be a difficult deciding what gear to take with you on a dive. I've seen many divers carrying everything with the adage that it maybe needed some day. Although this may true, many of these divers get caught up in managing equipment rather than enjoying their dive. Furthermore, your stress level will increase dramatically as you attempt to carry additional unneeded equipment. The equipment you take on a dive should mirror the "dive mission". If you have not used an item in the past, and it's not an essential redundancy piece of equipment, then get rid of it!