Taking Up Scuba Diving Later In Life
We know that children must reach a certain age and maturity to learn to scuba dive. What we don’t hear so much about is any upper age limits for adults learning to dive. That may be because there is no age limit for those taking up scuba diving later in life!
There are some considerations for older divers, but also many benefits. We’ll cover these topics, plus a few tips on getting started.
1. Assessing Your Health and Fitness
At any age, anyone who wants to try scuba diving needs to be in good health and have a reasonable level of fitness. If you do decide to start diving, you’ll be in good company. Baby Boomers, approaching or well within senior status, are the most common age group we see diving.
When beginning diving, you can expect to fill out a diver medical questionnaire. Expect answering questions to affirm you are in good health. This initial screening is to help ensure your safety. Depending on this screening, a person may be referred to a medical professional to review medical condition and fitness for diving. However, even with a doctor’s clearance, it is up to the individual to determine if they feel in good shape and ready to dive. Underwater, divers reach conditions 800 times denser than the atmosphere. This can present problems that might never arise while sitting in your living room, or even engaging in moderate physical activity of daily life. If in doubt have a discussion with your doctor.
2. Healthy, Low-Impact Exercise
There is a strenuous part of diving- getting in and out of the water with full gear on- including tanks and weights. However, once submerged, diving is a great low-impact form of exercise to help maintain your fitness level. The weightlessness one feels while swimming underwater can actually provide essential exercise to joints and muscles, plus the cardio vascular benefits of swimming.
If you plan to be an occasional diver, you will want to maintain your fitness level in between diver excursions. Being a woman over 50 myself, I can attest it’s not easy to keep the weight off. So, if it has been a while since your first dive, or you have added a few pounds (not counting your dive weights), start out with an easy dive like our afternoon Turtle Reef charter, or sign up for a refresher course through PADI before your vacation.
3. Meet People and Go Places
Finding people that share a common interest is not easy as we get older. When you get certified, you join a community of divers who enjoy the sport. It is fun to listen to others and share what you saw during a dive once you are back on the boat.
This same comradery can be found when you travel. Scuba divers of all ages are generally people who like to be active, enjoy being outdoors and have a passion for the ocean. Diving is a fantastic way to meet new people and socialize.
4. Try a Discover Scuba Dive or Certification
If you think diving is not that different from snorkeling, you are in for a pleasant surprise. Being face to fin with sea creatures and coral reefs is amazing. When one stops to survey surroundings of the underwater world, you’ll see so much more than what is visible from the surface. You may notice a shy octopus camouflaged on the reef, or eel in a crevice, reef sharks taking a snooze under a ledge, sea turtles hovering above you, or a manta ray gliding by. Diving immerses you in a different world with fresh sights and sounds, and a different way to communicate to your dive buddy or leader.
One great way to try out diving is on a Discover Scuba dive with Lahaina Divers. You will go out on charter, receive instruction, and take part in one small group dive with an instructor. The dive site is an easy 30’ depth, but there is still plenty to see!
Thinking back (many years) to when I started scuba diving, I was surprised how comfortable I felt in the water. It is much easier, in my opinion, to dive rather than snorkel. At the surface, one is often battling wind and waves. Below the surface is typically much calmer.
If you are ready to take the plunge and get certified, you can do all of your bookwork from home through PADI eLearning, and then join Lahaina Divers to complete your certification in the warm waters of Maui. The skills included in the PADI Open Water dive course is broken down into manageable steps with each paving the way for the next.
When you successfully complete the skills necessary to become a certified diver, you’ll feel an incredible sense of accomplishment. Then you can continue to explore, see new creatures, meet other divers and enjoy your new outdoor sport, no matter what your age.