You had been saving up for it for many months, have upgraded your gear, may have travelled overseas, and finally made it to the dive site you’ve been dreaming of.
Yet, with the big wide ocean now in front of you, and your dive buddies all excited and gearing up next to you on the boat, all of a sudden you start feeling funny. Butterflies in your stomach? Sweaty hands? Having a little difficulty breathing, perhaps? You’re not alone. Many divers experience this once in a while, from beginners to old-timers — especially those who haven’t gone underwater for a long time. So you wonder how others deal with pre-dive jitters and still manage to enjoy a great dive.
One can easily recognize a diver who is uncomfortable or nervous before a dive:
A friendly or sociable person suddenly becomes withdrawn;
One who’s quiet becomes too talkative;
Somebody normally upbeat and enthusiastic becomes negative about the dive;
One who’s relaxed and easygoing stiffens up and starts to turn pale; and
The person keeps going to the loo too often.
These are just some of the outward indications of pre-dive jitters. But much of the problem lies internally, within the person’s mind. He or she may have had problems in the past that he hasn’t overcome yet. Mishaps like getting entangled, getting lost or trapped while doing a wreck penetration, getting separated from one’s buddy and going out of air, being swept by a strong current or being hit by a boat, perhaps. Others may have had traumatic experiences outside of diving – such as drowning while on a regular swimming trip.
What can we do to reduce the pre-dive nerves, and get the most amount of joy and satisfaction from each plunge?
Keep your mind focused on the joy of diving and not on any possible problem. Most fears are psychological in nature – drowning or being eaten by a shark tops the list. To prepare yourself mentally, it would help to do these things:
Watch underwater videos like those of the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery. Try to recall and think about the positive underwater experiences you yourself have had in the past. By keeping your mind focused on the good things, you won’t be dwelling on the roughness of the sea in front of you or whatever dangers you perceive to be lurking in the water. If you’re feeling some shortness of breath, take a deep breath and just imagine all the good stuff you will be seeing during the dive.
Before the trip, read about the exciting marine life or wreck you will be exploring. During the trip itself, talk to your guide, the boat crew or any of the locals who live, swim, sail and dive in the area. Find out as much as you can about the terrain. Knowledge is power, and with power comes much confidence.
Share some of your apprehensions with other — more experienced — divers. They can give you tips on how they’ve overcome their own fears, reassure you about the concerns you have, and even quell any unfounded fears.
Buoyancy is crucial. Most divers are over weighted. You need to make sure you are neutrally buoyant at the surface. That means your weights are enough to make you float at eye level with an empty tank and no air in your BC and drysuit. Doing so will allow you to move comfortably underwater, consume less air and, most of all, you will be certain of your equipment’s ability to keep you afloat.
Make sure your regulator is properly serviced — it will give you the added assurance that your gear will always function properly during the dive.
Above all else, be excited! You have been waiting for this for a long time, so relax and just DIVE!
When it comes to wreck-diving, UK is probably one of the best dive destinations in the world. With thousands of ship wrecks scattered all across the isles, there is always a wreck an avid diver can explore in every known dive destination in the Kingdom. Some sites offer even more scenic spots and unique animal encounters under water that no other destinations can provide. Here’s a list of the top 7 dive sites in the UK.
Weymouth and Portland, Dorset
Weymouth has more than 120 wrecks within a 20-mile radius. The wrecks include warships, submarines, steam ships and freighters, among others. The most popular are the M2, the Salsette, the Avalanche, and the Aeolian Sky. Situated in the centre of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, the area has an abundance of reef and ledge dives and are home to an amazing variety of marine life.
Plymouth is where experienced divers often explore the wreck of the HMS Scylla, a Leander-class frigate, sunk as an artificial reef in 2004. Also visible is the James Eagan Lane, a US Liberty ship that was sunk by a U-boat in World War 2. The area also has a smattering of shoals and reefs, in case divers opt for a change of scenery.
Located on the eastern side of the Lizard Peninsula, the Drawna Rocks in Porthkerris boasts of the best shore dive in England. Just a short ride to nearby Manacles are numerous wrecks such as the Mohegan, the Volnay and the Spyridion, among others. Apart from the wrecks are pinnacles, drop-offs, reefs and an abundance of marine life. During the months of May to August, Porthkerris is visited by the second largest shark in the world, the Basking shark.
Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales
This is a marine reserve with a sharp drop-off that goes down to 45m. It is the site of the Lucy, a 52m intact coaster that sunk perfectly upright in 40m of water. It’s also home to frolicking grey seals, rare gorgonian fans (found in only a handful of areas in the UK), and various crustaceans.
Isle of Man
Located in the southwest of the Isle of Man is the islet Calf of Man, which hosts a dive site called the Burroo. This is rated as one of the top 50 dive sites in the world. Due to the strong tidal currents in the area, the marine life is abundant and diverse and may possibly be the best in all of the British Isles. There is an intact wreck of a Manx trawler, the Fenella Ann. Other wrecks worth seeing are the Ringwall, SS Liverpool and the Thracian. There is also an interesting cave worth exploring in the nearby Sugar Loaf dive site.
Farne Islands, Northumberland
This area is famous for its colony of 5,000 grey seals that often accompany divers. It offers scenic wrecks such as the Somali, Chris Christianson, Abyssinia, and Britannia. It also has a pinnacle, a wall, some reefs and rocks covered with soft corals and a huge, deep-water anemone, the Bolocera.
Scapa Flow, Orkney, Scotland
This is a natural harbour offering the best wreck diving in the UK. In the area are three battleships: the Markgraf, the Kronprinz Wilhelm and the Konig; and four light cruisers: the Coln, the Brummer, the Karlsruhe and the Dresden. These are popular wrecks among the 52 ships of the German High Seas Fleet that were scuttled near Cava at the end of World War 1. Due to their sizes, it usually takes several dives to view and appreciate just one wreck. Aside from these Dreadnoughts, there are also several wrecks of fishing boats, trawlers, cargo ships and a host of others scattered all over the harbour.
Divers will have their calendars full just navigating these 7 spots in the UK. There isn’t a lack of places to explore, and definitely not a shortfall in exciting things to see.
Our courses are proving to be very popular the moment.
As a result of the interest, we are pleased to announce the next dates; it’s short notice, however here are the dates:
HSE scuba chamber orientation course running on the 9th August, this is a 1 day course and is a Prerequisite of the HSE Professional Scuba.
The final part of HSE Professional Scuba can be booked and paid for with Andark Divers direct.
The HSE Professional Scuba (old part 4 course) is the first rung of the ladder in the Commercial diving world. It will take any existing diving qualifications and add to them to produce a competent working diver using Scuba equipment. As part of the HSE phase you are also required to complete a recompression chamber course for 1 day.
HSE diving medical, PADI rescue diver or equivalent.
Enable course participants to:
1. As a member of a dive team, have knowledge of the Pre-Dive procedures for a two compartment compression chamber.
2. As a diver, to carry out a dry dive to 40msw with a view to experiencing possible nitrogen narcosis.
3. As a member of a dive team and under supervision have a working knowledge of the functions and procedures for operating a two compartment compression chamber.
4. As a member of a dive team, have a working knowledge of the post dive compression chamber checks and user maintenance.
5. As a member of a dive team and under supervision, have a working knowledge of the function and procedures for acting as an attendant inside a two compartment compression chamber.
6. As an inside attendant in a compression chamber have a working knowledge of the conduct of a therapeutic recompression.
Course Materials will be supplied.
Course price £150 (price is for Scuba Chamber Orientation course – deposit £50) Prices
HSE initial medical £100.
HSE follow up medical £80.
Book the course and medical at the same time to receive £20 discount.
Course to be run from 08.30 to 16.30 with 3/4 hour lunch break
Learn the skills necessary and become a qualified medical chamber attendant and operator.
Accredited by the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technologists as an introductory course (a prerequisite for the Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) or Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN)
Only 2 places’ in the country can offer this accreditation.
Its user friendly and you won’t need to take time off work as we run it at weekends!
Run over two consecutive weekends: weekend 1) attendant weekend 2) operator
Once confirmed on the course we will send you your pre learning materials and course information pack.
You can choose to do only one weekend if you wish and receive a qualification in either attending or operator.
Course will enable you to operate or attend a hyperbaric treatment within your level or training, this is a WORLDWIDE qualification. Covers all aspects of the theory requirements for the education of nurses, operators and technicians in hyperbaric facilities
This is an excellent course for divers wishing to look at a new career, or part time career, or first step for a medical professional into hyperbaric world of medicine.
Physics and Physiology.
Conditions that can be treated with hyperbaric oxygen.
Hyperbaric Chamber Safety.
Chamber Design and Construction.
Pipework and Valves.
Practical Chamber Operation and Dry Dives.
Emergency Procedures: Dealing with emergencies inside and outside a chamber.
Treatment of DCI and Tables.
Don’t worry if you have done some of it before (like the Physics!) as some of it is pre course learning!
Completed diving medical questionnaire or a current medical fitness to dive certificate
A first aid or resuscitation (basic life support) qualification
A keen interest in learning about diving and hyperbaric medicine
£250.00 per weekend (£300.00 if only completing one weekend)