Cardiff BSAC

The Scuba diving Club for UK divers living in and around Cardiff

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Scuba Diving Frequently Asked Questions


Please select one of the following frequently asked questions (FAQ), or click on the appropriate link to view the next 18 questions. The FAQ database can also be searched using the box provided.

Frequently asked questions

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Q1: Is it hard to learn to scuba dive with Cardiff BSAC?
Q2: How long does training take?
Q3: Is it easier to learn to dive abroad?
Q4: My ears hurt when I swim to the bottom of the pool - What about diving?
Q5: Why is it necessary to become a qualified diver?
Q6: Do I have to be a great swimmer, or above average condition?
Q7: Aren‘t dives usually very deep - over 30 metres?
Q8: What about sharks?
Q9: Isn‘t it always cold underwater?
Q10: Isn‘t scuba diving expensive? What if your on a budget?
Q11: What equipment will I need before I start training?
Q12: What kind of equipment will I be using during training?
Q13: What gas do you breath when underwater?
Q14: Where do Cardiff BSAC go for open water training dives?
Q15: How do I go about learning to dive with Cardiff BSAC?

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Q1: Is it hard to learn to scuba dive with Cardiff BSAC?
A: No, in fact, it‘s probably easier than you imagine. You only need to be comfortable in the water. The initial training begins in a safe pool environment, in water less than a metre deep.

Modern scuba equipment allows you to breath air underwater with no more effort than on the surface. The BSAC training is based on the individual, which means you progress as you learn and your skills develop.

Further information

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Q2: How long does training take?
A: Training for your Ocean Diver qualification can typically take a couple of months, depending on the individual. Most trainees can also progress through to the next level - Sports Diver within their first years membership.

Pool and theory lessons take place on a couple of evenings a week. Open water lessons are normally taken on weekends, but can sometimes be arranged in the week if an instructor is available.

Training is an ongoing pastime and there is always another course available to progress your knowledge and experience.
 

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Q3: Is it easier to learn to dive abroad?
A: Schools and dive centres at holiday resorts, can be a great place for Try Dives or, to hire equipment and be shown the local dive sites.

Most entry level courses mean taking 3-4 days of your holiday with intensive training before gaining the experience to dive beyond 6 metres deep. These courses can typically cost hundreds of pounds.
 

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Q4: My ears hurt when I swim to the bottom of the pool - What about diving?
A: The pain you feel is called a squeeze. It is caused by water pushing against your eardrum. One of the first things you learn in training is a simple technique of equalizing the pressure, similar to what you may do in an aeroplane. When done correctly, you won‘t feel any pain in your ears.
 

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Q5: Why is it necessary to become a qualified diver?
A: Just like getting your drivers licence, scuba divers need to be able to prove their level of training and experience in order to dive safely.

Without this qualification, you would be unable to rent scuba gear, get air fills, or participate in dives on charter boats or at holiday dive centres.
 

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Q6: Do I have to be a great swimmer, or above average condition?
A: No. Diving is open to anyone over 14, in good health and reasonably fit. You should be comfortable in water and able to swim 200 metres (any stroke).

A self declaration medical certificate should be signed by the student before Ocean Diver training commences.
 

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Q7: Aren‘t dives usually very deep - over 30 metres?
A: No. The average dive is between 6 to 12 metres. The most prolific sea life (and stunning corals in warm water areas) are usually within 15 metres of the surface, since plants need sunlight to flourish.

Most dives are done in reasonably shallow water. In fact, the maximum recreational dive limit is 35 metres and this is only recommended after reaching Sports Diver grade.
 

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Q8: What about sharks?
A: Many people have been made to fear sharks because of the false image given them by movies and television.

The fact is, most are shy and passive around humans. Statistically speaking, you are four times more likely to be hit by lightning than being dinner for a shark.
 

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Q9: Isn‘t it always cold underwater?
A: No. It is true that you lose body heat 25 times faster in water than in air.

Diving in open water in the UK requires a good layer of thermal insulation, this is typically a sealed dry suit or a semi-dry wet suit.

With gloves, a hood and a suit that is comfortable and fits you well, you will be amazed how warm you will stay!

Diving in the tropics is a different story. Above 25 degrees C, little or no suit is required.
 

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Q10: Isn‘t scuba diving expensive? What if your on a budget?
A: Most people start buying their own dive equipment early on in their training. A snorkle, mask and dive fins (and boots) are the more personal items.

In order not to be disappointed later, you should expect to spend around £1000.00 for enough basic equipment to dive regularly in the UK. If you‘re on a budget, diving is not for you.

Scuba diving requires a lot of equipment, making sure that it fits correctly is a major factor in the enjoyment of the sport. Second hand equipment is always available, but it would be wise for the novice diver to get good advice before purchasing.

If you only intend to dive in warm waters abroad, the cost of equipment can be greatly reduced by hiring from dive centres at your resort.
 

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Q11: What equipment will I need before I start training?
A: At Cardiff BSAC we have all the equipment you will need, for a try dive or to start your "in pool" Ocean Diver training.

You just need to bring a towel and swim suit and usually we suggest an old t-shirt to stop the straps chafing.
 

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Q12: What kind of equipment will I be using during training?
A: At Cardiff BSAC, we use all the same equipment for training as would be used in open water diving. This means that the student does not have to learn to use new equipment as they progress through their training or when they start to purchase their own.

We have fun in our classes and your learning ability is sharpened by using equipment that is safe, comfortable and user friendly.

The basic equipment.

A Bouyancy Compensator Device.
This allows you to achieve neutral buoyancy at any depth. At a push of a button, air is forced into, or out of, the jacket-like device.

Breathing Regulators.
We use breathing regulators that are balanced for ease of breathing at any depth.

Cylinders
Cardiff BSAC use 10 or 12 litre air cylinders, that are typically the size used for ocean diving both here in the UK and abroad.

Octopus or Backup Regulators.
All our training equipment is also fitted with a backup regulator, more commonly called an octopus. This enables the student to practice "Buddy breathing" from an alternate supply, as part of their training program.
 

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Q13: What gas do you breath when underwater?
A: All cylinders for normal diving contain a very purified compressed air. This is the air we all breath on the surface, (21% Oxygen, 79% Nitrogen) but with all moisture and dust particles removed.

As you progress through your training, you will be taught to use gas mixes with greater concentrations of oxygen, called Nitrox. These nitrox mixes have advantages and disadvantages but, generally make your diving safer.
 

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Q14: Where do Cardiff BSAC go for open water training dives?
A: We have a choice of dive site locations, each different from the other (freshwater lakes or sea water dives from the beach or club rib). Of course, we always take into account wind, weather and sea conditions.

Our dive locations range from the local lake at Cosmeston, to open water dives in West Wales, The Gower or the English South Coast.
 

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Q15: How do I go about learning to dive with Cardiff BSAC?
A: The first stage is to let us know that you would like to come along to the pool for a "Try Dive".

Contact Anne Hudson and let her know.

Further information

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Cardiff BSAC Scuba Diving Frequently Asked Questions
   
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