Why Your Child Should Start Scuba Diving
Whether you’re a diver yourself already, or not, scuba diving is an incredible hobby to get your child (and yourself!) involved in. Diving allows your family to explore everything the underwater world has to offer… and it gets them off their iPads for a few hours! There are so many benefits of scuba diving for kids, from physical health to social skills, confidence to environmental education.
Let’s look at our top seven reasons why you should consider diving for your child:
It takes bravery at any age to jump into water and breathe from a tank that is strapped onto your back. But after doing it a few times, it becomes second nature. Diving is a great way for your child to develop confidence in themself, and learn how to overcome their fears. They will learn how to set up their equipment, be responsible for someone else as their buddy, trust in their abilities, and trust their equipment and their instructor.
Dive courses and trips usually involve a group of people learning or diving together. During a course with other students, your child will have to work together on some skills, and will bond with their peers over the learning process. After becoming a certified diver, they will meet like-minded divers on trips and always have something in common to talk about. They will make life-long dive friends to exchange stories and photos with.
3. Family bonding
There’s nothing better for a family quality time on a fun day out. This is made even better with an activity that you can all enjoy together time after time. You can book dive trips for everyone to go on as a team, you will be each other’s dive buddies and develop a new level of trust and confidence in one another. You will end up with hundreds of photos for the family album and see some incredible places. Usually when families go on vacation they all end up doing separate activities because they don’t all enjoy the same hobbies. Diving is a hobby that you can all share for years to come.
4. Enjoy nature
In a world dominated by social media and technological devices, it’s nice to leave the electronics at home from time to time and reconnect with the natural world. This is important for children more than anyone. Diving is the best way to be completely surrounded by nature, and is the one place you are guaranteed not to be interrupted by phone notifications. You can keep track of what fish you all see and make it a competition of who can spot the most, or the coolest looking animal on a dive. Diving is a very fun way to get your kids excited about nature.
5. Education surrounding the environment
Sea levels are rising, plastic is more and more present in the oceans, and marine life is unfortunately suffering. The best way to fix the damage that has already been done to the planet, is by educating the next generation on how important it is to look after their world. The best way to help them to understand is by letting them see it first hand, from time to time they might see plastic on the ocean floor, and they’ll witness bleached corals. You can explain to them why this happens and how to reverse it by being eco-conscious.
6. Teaches discipline and the importance of safety
Diving is perfectly safe for children and adults, but this is because important safety procedures are taught during the courses. These courses were designed to help divers overcome underwater problems in the safest ways, so it’s important to listen and understand. Children are used to classroom environments and often take on diving theory very easily. They quickly learn safety, as well as some physiology and physics. Learning this important theory, as well as the underwater skills will take discipline, patience, and enthusiasm. All great qualities that children should already have as they enter the adult world.
7. Physical and mental health
Scuba diving equipment is manageable but does take some strength to carry. Of course small children will be offered help by the instructor, but if they are able to carry the equipment themselves it will help their physical fitness in the long run. Diving also raises the metabolism and lowers blood pressure, as well as being good for mental health as it encourages you to focus on your breathing which is proven to help people with anxiety. Salt water contains many vitamins and minerals that are good for the skin and hair, and strengthens the immune system.
What courses are available for my child?
So have we convinced you? If you’d like to encourage your child to start diving, the first step is to enrol them in a course. There are different options and levels for scuba diving, so here’s a rundown of what SSI offer for your child (and for you):
- Try Scuba Diving (Age: 8+): This is a program designed to give you a taste of scuba diving, without committing to a certification or diving in deep water. To be clear, you do not receive a certification, but you will receive a recognition card, and it will give you and/or your child a chance to experience scuba diving in shallow water, and teach you a little of what it’s all about. The program lasts around 3 hours in total and is a combination of a little basic theory and one shallow water session in a pool or in the shallow ocean. The maximum depth you will go to in this program is just 5m/16ft). Great for a little taste.
- SSI Explorers (Age: 8-12): The new SSI Explorer program allows children to experience scuba diving, mermaid, and freediving activities in the most fun way. This program is best for a few children to do together as it involves games and play. The kids will learn some theory before the water session, where they will play underwater games and do other diving activities. The SSI Instructor conducts the program in a pool or confined water setting, and the kids don’t go any deeper than 5m/16ft. Not every Training Center offers this program, so it’s worth researching where you can find the course and book in advance. Children can earn several SSI Explorer recognition ratings, such as Blue Oceans Explorer, Snorkel Explorer, Scuba Explorer, Mermaid Explorer, and Freediving Explorer, plus many different specialties in this exciting, comprehensive program.
- Open Water Diver (10+): If you’re confident your child will absolutely love scuba diving from the get go, you can skip the try dives and go straight for the Open Water Course. This will certify them to dive to a maximum of 18m/59ft with other trained divers anywhere in the world, without having to have a professional present (local rules sometimes require you to have a professional with you, always check laws before going diving in a new area). The course is made up of theory sessions, confined water shallow dives that involve learning and demonstrating some skills, and four open water deeper dives where you demonstrate skills again and practice diving technique. The SSI Open Water Diver certification is recognised worldwide and is a great start to your child’s scuba diving education. After this certification there are many more advanced courses to choose from to learn more and keep adding new diving skills.