It could soon be ‘anchors away’ for scuba diving internationally once again. And I, for one, will be welcoming the opportunity to hop on that plane with open arms.
In fact, start searching for the best diving experiences and locations for dream scuba diving and snorkelling holidays for 2022, and already we’re drowning in an ocean of recommendations!
But what can we do to prepare, and how do we know which dive sites are going to be best for us?
Deciding what you want from your holiday might sound an obvious tip. But I know how easy it is to get carried away visualising the crystal clear waters and shimmering sand beneath miles of eerie yet spectacular wrecks, and being surrounded by an abundance of colourful marine life.
Unless you’re going solo, or your entire family are lovers of the underwater world, don’t forget there are others in your party to consider too. You might be new to diving and simply want a few days scuba diving internationally, spending the rest of the time with your family. Or you might want to plan activities for them whilst you dive every day.
So, not only are the safest and highly rated dive centres on your tick-list, but also other trips and fun things to do in and around the water for the rest of the family (I had to include that so as not to get hounded by my family for forgetting to mention the ‘not quite so enthusiastic about diving’ travellers!)
Our boys have just started snorkelling lessons, so we’re preparing them for the next steps well in advance!
Regardless of whether it’ll just be you, or others in your holiday party too, consider starting here in the UK before setting off for international dive sites.
Earlier posts have highlighted the best dive locations in the UK. If you can encourage the novices in your family to dip their toe in the water before your foreign travels, build up their hours and safe diving knowledge, then what better way to spend your holiday than diving together in warmer climates?
Gaining your Open Water Diving Certification in this country will enhance your holiday, as you can get straight out there and enjoy your scuba diving internationally without spending any time studying or being that little bit more restricted. Of course, if you are already qualified, there is no harm in adding to your diving hours at home anyway. You can never have too much experience.
I’ve also written recently about the top diving agencies to gain your Open Water Diving Certification if you did want to wait and qualify overseas, as I know for some people the thought of diving in UK waters just doesn’t have that same appeal as scuba diving internationally!
Personally, I would encourage you to just get started though, and there are things you can do to prepare for your trip. Online studying, as I mentioned, will cut down on the classroom time when you land at your destination. And of course, making sure you have your kit prepared is key.
If you feel overwhelmed with the choices of UK scuba diving schools, any of the team here at Dive Sight will be happy to give you expert recommendations.
As a beginner, or a seasoned diver, fully functioning equipment is essential. If you are a true diving geek, there’s plenty of choice and ranges to keep you going. For beginners or those of you who are likely to be diving on a recreational basis, you could hire equipment from a dive centre. But I’ve listed the basic essentials if you did want to think of investing in your own gear:
This is the most vital piece of kit for any diver. Not just so you get the best out of every dive in terms of the sights you’ll see and a comfort factor. But it is imperative that you have clear vision of your apparatus, your dive buddies, and the surroundings to keep you all safe. This is even more crucial if you are scuba diving internationally and in waters which are unfamiliar to you.
Dive Sight is the premier supplier of prescription dive masks, not just here in the UK, but around the globe.
Your eyesight, or lack of, is one thing you don’t need to worry about when gathering your diving equipment, because we use your personalised prescription to supply and fit lenses to your favourite mask. Alternatively, we will help you choose a new one from our range of quality masks, and fit your prescription lenses at the same time.
Just contact us to talk through any queries you have, and we can set to work right away, so you’ll be ready to see every single spectacle that scuba diving internationally has to offer.
Although not the favourite piece of kit, a snorkel helps conserve gas in your tank, and also conserves your own energy too if you are waiting in choppy waters for your dive boat to take you back to shore. It’s also a good addition to your full kit if you are surface swimming for long periods.
If you are unsure about choosing a snorkel, Dive Sight also offer dive mask and snorkel sets, so check out the online shop for more details.
Of course, nothing will quite give you the feeling of gliding smoothly through the water like perfectly fitting fins. Although they’re designed to be worn barefoot, some divers prefer to wear neoprene socks to prevent blisters from the movement during long dives.
You can choose from open heel, full foot, long or short blade, channel, split fin, hinge and pivot, and they come in a variety of lengths too. Channel fins are most popular and relatively low cost.
Scuba diving fins are different from snorkelling fins. The longer the blade, the more propulsion through the water you will gain, although this can sometimes counter the need for shorter blades when it comes to packing for scuba diving internationally, or if you are travelling with rucksacks for instance to get to your dive site.
It's definitely worth taking the time to research the most effective diving fins for your individual needs.
This is another item which is best personalised if you are going to be diving regularly. You could hire for your first few dives, but it would be nice to know the mouthpiece is hygienic and you know exactly what the regulator has been through. All regulators are designed to work efficiently in warm waters, but you may need specific ratings for colder waters (below 10 C) such as in the UK.
N.B. Most regulators require servicing at least once a year. More frequent use will keep your regulator flexible and lubricated, so it’s even more important to remember servicing if you have barely used it during the previous 12 month period.
Buoyancy Control Device (also called a BC, buoyancy compensator) is particularly useful for recreational divers as it literally does what it says on the tin. A good fitting BCD will adjust buoyancy within the water to suit your needs – positive, negative, or neutral – to keep you safe and comfortable in whatever depth of water you are diving or swimming.
With so many styles and designs to choose from, a recent review of the Top 10 BCDs by scubadiving.com might help you to decide.
Did you know that water removes heat from the body about 20 times quicker than air? So, although walking around a resort or laying on a beach in 70 degree heat may feel amazing, scuba diving internationally even in a constant 70 degree water temperature, you’d soon start to feel cold in the water. The greater the difference between our body heat (just below 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and the water temperature around us, the quicker the body heat is lost. Hence the need for an exposure suit to help retain some of that body heat. But they also protect against sunburn, and scrapes and scratches which would otherwise be easily picked up from sharp edges of marine structures or undersea wrecks.
Again, as with all diving equipment now, there is so much variety that your choice of wet suit, dry suit or dive skin will come down to personal choice, what kind of diving you are intending, and where. They each have slightly different purposes, so frequent and professional divers tend to have at least one of each type.
Novice and recreational divers though would be recommended to go for a general purpose wet suit which can be used effectively in almost all diving environments.
Gone are the days of reading dive charts so you know your depth and how much time you can safely continue diving with the remaining gas in your cylinder. Nowadays there are hundreds of types of dive computers available, no matter how advanced your level of diving experience may be.
Designed to look like a watch, and indeed some of them are also used as a regular watch, your dive computer needs to be highly durable, easy to use with an easy read screen, and give you the vital safety information such as ascent rate and decompression stops, gas mix, and accuracy that you cannot be sure of with human calculations. With optional Bluetooth connectivity and colours to match the rest of your dive paraphernalia, you can ensure your dive computer will keep you safe and stylish when scuba diving internationally or in UK waters!
Every piece of apparatus you purchase will only make for a more confident and comfortable experience. You can buy scuba diving equipment packages, but one thing we highly recommend taking the time and effort to discuss in detail is your dive mask.
As I mentioned above, your dive mask is the most important piece of kit, and we want to make sure it feels comfortable and allows you the best all round experience. With a personalised prescription lens fitted to your mask, you are guaranteed to never miss a single detail with every dive.
From children and entry level, to experienced or professional divers, we literally provide prescription dive masks for all. Years of experience in the industry means we have pretty much seen it all and answered just about every imaginable question too.
So, drop us a message or call our team here at Dive Sight if you have any queries or would like to go ahead and order your bespoke prescription dive mask. We’ll make sure you are ready for scuba diving internationally in 2022, with plenty of time to spare!