Is a dive license important? Yes? No? Maybe?
Definitely yes if you live in Indonesia and are in love with the underwater world. Falling in love with the underwater world in Indonesia is not hard at all. You will love it at first sight, mostly (unless you do your first dive in Jakarta’s bay). 😀 😀
Some friends, just like myself back in the day, had a hard time deciding whether to get a dive license or not. Understandable. Many people think diving is an expensive sport or hobby or relaxation or whatever you want to name it. By having a proper license you have a knowledge of the whole thing. Being confused when you are underwater and not able to do the correct hand signals is a nightmare, especially if you have a major problems like your regulator stops working. Let’s talk about some doubts that cross most people’s mind.
How to find out if you like to dive or not? Well, you can try a scuba discovery dive. It is an introduction dive for anyone who doesn’t own a diving license. The scuba discovery dive is usually more expensive than a regular dive. For example, a normal dive usually costs you around Rp. 350,000 / dive with equipment rental and it costs around Rp. 550,000 / dive for scuba discovery session. Why? It is simply because you will get an overview about diving. The equipment, how to use it, how it works, how to breath underwater, some of the hand signals and so on. Usually the dive master will give you a short lesson at the beginning in the swimming pool (+ learn how to breath with your mouth) and eventually dive together-fully guided by the dive master in the sea. Important to remember: get a professional dive center for your first scuba discovery session. Don’t try it with a random dive operator.
The cost of getting the license is so expensive, isn’t it? I do agree that it is slightly expensive, but it is worth every penny (I paid $175 for Open Water – PADI license in 2010). Besides that, some of the dive centers actually have promotions for their dive license classes. You should keep your eyes out for these great deals and do have a good relationship with your friends who is a diver because they have all the information. 😉
How about the scuba diving training organization? You might heard PADI-Professional Association of Diving Instructors, NAUI-National Association of Underwater Instructors, SSI-Scuba Schools International and CMAS-Confederation Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques – these are four I often hear of in Indonesia.
Which one is the best? I dont know. Yup, I dont know. I have a PADI dive license, while one of my best friend hold a NAUI dive license and the other one more comfortable with SSI plus one of dive master that I really like to go dived with has CMAS license. So, all those are great and competent to teach you about scuba diving. If you already picked a dive center to do the certification, do a cross check to the scuba diving training organization official site. This is to avoid a ‘fake’ license from a foxy dive center.
I dont have the money to buy all the equipment. Should I buy it at the beginning? You don’t need to have all the equipment, really! What I suggest for you to have, in importance level order, is (1) mask and snorkel, (2) fins, (3) booties-if your fins is open heel, (4) wetsuit, (5) BCD set (regulator, alternate air source pressure gauge and buoyancy compensator), (6) dive computer, (7) weight belt, (8) dive equipment bag. That’s it. I personally think you dont really need your own dive tank, though dive with a spotlight pink tank would be so much fun. I only have no. 1, 2, 3 and 4. Well, no 4 actually is not really mine, but my friend kind of ‘gave it to me’ since he gained some weight (right? No? Hahaha). The good news is you can easily rent all from no. 1-7 on the dive center whenever you want to dive. Ah, if you asked what is the best brand? Difficult question that I couldn’t answer., but my personal preference are Aqua Lung and Scubapro.
What if I am not a good swimmer? No problem. As I remember PADI states you should be able to swim non stop for 200 meters, 300 meters with mask (snorkeling) and float for 10 minutes, I guess that is the requirements. You dont need to be a speed great swimmer at all. However, if you are a very good swimmer, scuba diving would be a lot easier for you since you must be really comfortable in the water, in the sea.
Just because the underwater world is so amazing doesn’t mean that everyone should get a diving license. It is all come back to your own reasons why you want to get a dive license. Back then when I decided to get a license for myself, it was because I want to explore the 70% of this world. I want to fly underwater.
How about you guys? Do you have a dive license or not? What made you get a dive license? Share with me.