Scuba diving Essay

This essay has a total of 1943 words and 7 pages.

scuba diving

Many people think of scuba diving as just a swim in the water, but in reality it is a very
exciting, dangerous, and potentially fatal sport and activity. There are many types of
scuba diving, ranging from recreational to sport to career diving. Scuba Diving is just
not a swim in the water, scuba requires certification, uses technical equipment, and there
is a lot of risk involved with scuba diving.

Scuba, which is actually an acronym for "self-contained breathing apparatus",
Allows divers to dive deeper and stay submerged longer. Scuba comes a long way from other
forms of diving by using an air-tank and regulator. This is what allows them to stay under
longer and dive deeper. Scuba originally began with military and commercial applications,
where it is still used today. But now, by far the largest group of divers is "Recreational
Divers". These dives are practiced at depths of less than 130 feet, from these depths,
divers can make a straight ascent to the surface. Diving beyond this limit requires
advanced training. (Lawrence, 4)

Before recreational or sport divers can take a plunge into the water, they must complete a
course in scuba diving and become certified. There are many scuba diving agencies, the
largest being PADI, but there are many others, including the National Association of
Underwater Instructors and the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools. All agencies
require that participants be proficient swimmers, in reasonably good health, and at least
12 years of age. The course usually consists of classroom work, practice in a pool or
confined body of water, and dives in open water. In the course, students learn to use
diving equipment, to equalize air pressure as they descend, to swim efficiently
underwater, to clear the mask if water leaks in, and to ascend safely. Because divers
cannot talk to each other underwater, they also learn how to communicate underwater with
hand signals. Scuba diving should always be practiced with at least one other person, and
partners should remain together throughout the dive. Certification courses teach divers
the rules and advantages of the buddy system. Diving partners learn to double-check each
other's equipment, share a single air supply, and assist one another should a problem
occur. Neutral Buoyancy is an important skill taught in certification class. Neutral
Buoyancy is a state, in which the individual neither sinks nor floats. In this weightless
state, a diver conserves energy and air and keeps diving equipment off the bottom where it
could be damaged. To become certified, diving students must pass a written exam and a
swimming proficiency test, and successfully demonstrate newly mastered skills in four
open-water dives. Proficient divers then receive a certification card that allows them to
make unsupervised dives, refill air tanks, and buy diving equipment world-wide. Stores
that sell diving equipment and businesses that operate diving tours require this proof of
certification. During the certification course, divers will learn everything about the
technical equipment and how to use it.(Lawrence, 24)

Diving equipment depends on the location of the dive, but whether sport or recreational
diving, divers need several basic items of equipment: a mask, a snorkel, fins, and when
necessary, and exposure suit to remain warm, air-tank and regulator. The diving mask
covers the nose and eyes and enables the diver to see while underwater. A snorkel is a
tube that allows the diver to breathe while floating at the water's surface. One end fits
in the diver's mouth and the other end extends above the water. The fins are worn on the
feet of the diver, these help the diver propel themselves through the water with a smooth,
energy-efficient motion. Wet suits are worn to keep the diver warm in warm-water
temperatures and dry-suits are used in cold-water temperatures. A wet suit is made of
Neoprene rubber and absorbs and traps a thin layer of water, which the diver's body heat
quickly heats. In temperatures below 50 degrees, divers wear a dry-suit. To breathe
under-water, scuba divers wear a metal tank filled with compressed air, and a regulator
that attaches to the tank. The regulator reduces the pressure of the air to match the
surrounding water pressure, so that the diver can breathe the air comfortably. The
regulator also distributes the air among four hoses. One hose delivers air to a
mouthpiece, through which the diver inhales and exhales. Another hose from the regulator
attaches to an adjustable air bladder called a Buoyancy Compensator devise, which the
diver wears as a vest. By adding air to the BCD, the diver becomes more buoyant and rises,
by releasing air, the diver becomes less buoyant and sinks. With minor adjustments of air,
the diver can achieve neutral buoyancy. A third hose attaches to pressure gauges that
divers use to monitor how much air remains in the tank. A fourth hose attaches to a backup
breathing device called an alternate source, or octopus. Divers also wear a belt with lead
weights to help them descend and stay underwater. The weights are spaced evenly around the
belt for balance. Most divers carry from 5 to 20 pounds of weight, depending on their body
weight, the suit they are wearing, and where they are diving. A quick-release buckle
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