Scuba Diving Tips for Beginners

Scuba Diving Tips for Beginners

Whether you are brand new to Scuba diving or returning after a while out of the water, these Scuba diving tips for beginners are here to help. Scuba diving is a very inclusive sport, available to all ages, gender and ability. 

Diving is a lot of fun, but there are some serious safety measures to remember and abide by. You cannot teach yourself to Scuba dive. A beginner needs to learn from a professional, focussing on how to scuba dive safely. 

In this article we will cover the essential Scuba diving Tips for Beginners:

  • Listen to your Instructor
  • Ask Questions
  • Buddy Check
  • Be Patient
  • Always be close to your dive buddy
  • Relax and be confident
  • Hydrate
  • Practice
  • No cameras

Listen to your instructor

Always listen to your instructor. They are there to teach you all the skills, help you feel comfortable and guide you through the magical underwater world. Instructors have completed hundreds or even thousands of dives, earned multiple certifications and gone through hours of Instructor Training. Listen to them. They know their stuff!

Listen throughout the SCUBA course.

Pay attention throughout your scuba diving course, understanding what your instructor is teaching you.

Beginner divers do a lot of their learning in the pool and the classroom, so take notes!

The theory of Scuba diving can be a little difficult to get your head around in the beginning, but once you understand how and why it is important to control your buoyancy, plan your dive and dive within your limits, it will all start coming together.

You will learn skills in the pool, such as how to clear your mask and retrieve your regulator from beside you. Listening to your instructor as they explain how to complete the skills, will help you master the task yourself. 

Before the dive

Before every dive, the Instructor or Divemaster will do a briefing. This short talk covers the events of the dive from start to finish. The diving professional will explain how to gear up, what entry will be used, what the dive site looks like and hand signals and rules to remember. 

Listening to the briefing is very important, to make sure you understand the local rules, the specific rules of that dive centre and what to expect from the dive. You are likely to feel more comfortable during the dive when you have been briefed and know what to anticipate. 

Always ask you Scuba Instructor Questions

Never be afraid to ask questions! Whether it is during a course or on a fund dive in a new location. If there is something you are unsure about, just ask! There is no harm in asking questions, and it can prevent you from finding yourself in difficult situations, wishing you had asked earlier!

All Scuba divers were a newbie at one point, and you’ll generally find that all divers like to help each other out! When you are not sure about something, asking someone to help you is the safest option.

If you are a beginner on a fun dive, let your buddy and the dive crew know that you’re new to Scuba diving! This way, they are aware that you might have questions, and can easily help you through the process!

Before the dive, asking questions is important to make sure everyone understands the dive plan, and who is buddied up with who! Hand signals can differ from place to place, so if you see one you’re not sure of, ask! Clearing this up on the surface makes communication during the dive a lot easier.

Always do a Buddy Check

Never forget to complete your buddy check! Even the most experienced divers will complete a pre-dive safety check, to ensure everything is working and they have all the equipment they need. Learning this pre-dive safety check is important for all beginner scuba divers. The quicker you learn it, the quicker it will become a good habit. 

All divers will complete this pre-dive safety check, but you might not always see them go through it vocally like you’re taught in your beginner’s course. Experienced divers might simply look down at their equipment and run through all their checks in their heads. 

Buddy checks are a great way to inspect all your dive equipment and ensure that it is all working correctly. Skipping the buddy check can cause problems underwater that would have been caught and sorted on the surface. Small issues can turn into big problems when 60ft (18m) below the surface! 

Patience is Always the Key!

A lot of people want to jump straight into Scuba diving! However, it is important to take it slow and make sure you do it right. Scuba diving is something you learn both in the water and in the classroom. It is a process, slowly building the skills and confidence you need to become an excellent diver.

All Scuba diving courses take different lengths of time, however, some beginners might take a bit longer. 

Do not get disheartened if you do not pick it up straight away.

For some people, it may take a few training sessions in the pool to a handle on the sensation of breathing underwater and how to remove and clear both your mask and regulator

You might find you learn the most not in the pool, but during the actual dive. Pool sessions can feel sheltered and comfortable. Out in the ocean is where you are challenged the most, with currents, distractions and not being able to rest on the bottom. 

Maintain your motivation throughout your learning experience, and your Scuba diving ability will improve over time. 

Always be Close to your Dive Buddy

During the dive, your Dive buddy could turn into your lifeline at any time. Therefore it is crucial to remain close to them at all times, not just so you can reach them, but so they can always reach you. A general rule is to always be able to touch fingers if you both extended your arms simultaneously. 

Not only is it essential to remain close to your dive buddy for safety reasons, but it is also nice to have someone by your side to share the incredible experience with. You can point out marine life to each other and make the dive even more enjoyable. 

Relax and be Confident

Just with everything in life, relax! Everything is more pleasurable when you are not stressed. Take your time while you are setting up to make sure it is all done correctly, and calm your mind and body.

A lot of divers love scuba diving because it is so relaxing. Unwinding your mind, focusing on your breathing and entering a tranquil state. Scuba diving is like meditating! Surrounded by colours, floating weightlessly over a coral reef is undoubtedly serene. 

Don’t forget to Hydrate

Throughout the day, many people do not drink enough water. We already struggle to drink enough during normal days, making it even more important to drink enough water while diving. Scuba diving causes you to lose a lot of water as, after all, it is a sport!

Being dehydrated can cause you to feel fatigued, irritable and cause health issues. While Scuba diving, dehydration can increase the risk of Decompression Sickness, by reducing your blood volume and decreasing the gaseous exchange efficiency.  

In America, 75% of people are dehydrated. During your everyday life, you should drink 2-3L of water a day. While on a scuba diving holiday in a hot environment, completing activities, you should drink even more than this! 

Just like how you focus on your breathing while diving, you should focus on your water intake throughout the day! Drink water first thing in the morning, after setting up your gear, on the boat before and after the dive! 

Practice makes Progress!

It is important to keep practising your scuba diving skills. Don’t stay dry for too long! When you practice your skills, you will perfect them, allowing you to be comfortable in the water. The best thing you can do when starting a new sport or activity is to practice over and over until it becomes natural.

When Scuba diving for the first time during your PADI Open Water Course, it might take you a few tries to complete a skill. This is where practice really can make progress. Repeating your mask clearing skill or retrieving your lost regulator multiple times, can help you become an expert at it! 

When you can complete a skill perfectly, not only is it great for your progress, but it can give you a big confidence boost and encourage you to learn more!

If you find there is a skill you are not as comfortable with, speak with your instructor and they can help you with tips on how to improve! Making the basic Scuba diving skills second nature will help you focus on other things, such as buoyancy…or sharks!

No cameras

I know it is tempting to take a camera with you on your dives. I am sure you want to capture the beautiful marine life and vibrant coral reefs. However, while you are a beginner, cameras can steal your focus. It is best to leave the cameras behind until you are a master of your buoyancy.

Diving with a camera is incredibly exciting, documenting the mindblowing marine animals. We all want to take pictures and videos on our diving trip to take home and show our loved ones. Unfortunately, when beginners dive with cameras, it is easy to forget about everything else and focus on the shot!

Even experienced divers have found themselves so encompassed by a shot, they have forgotten to check their air consumption or remaining dive time at that depth!

To avoid this, keep the camera on the boat while you are a beginner perfecting your skills, and focus on one thing at a time! Photographers have had hundreds of hours practising their buoyancy and camera skills. Do not worry, if this is something you would like to do, you will get there in the end.

But do not rush! Be patient. 

Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!

Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.

Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:


Diver Alert Network (DAN)

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Final thoughts

Being a beginner, starting something new is incredibly exciting! It is crucial to challenge yourself and push outside your comfort zone. 

Hopefully, these Scuba Diving tips for beginners have helped you gain more confidence when getting into the water! Just remember, listen, relax and have fun!

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Bethany Nyquist

Bethany is a writer, an Environmental Scientist and Dive Master, exploring the underwater world. Practising Underwater Photography, Bethany aims to raise awareness for and help protect marine life.

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