Your first dive takes you on a breathtaking journey. But before that, you have a lot to learn – so much that everything seems overwhelming. To be a successful diver, safety must always come first. As you make this life-changing transition, there are six inter-connected elements that you have to concentrate on mastering:
You do not breathe “normally” underwater. While you are underwater, you breathing from air under pressure. The air is denser is denser under than on land. One thing is you are breathing through your regulator – an artificial source of air that creates a larger gap between your lungs which is called “dead air space”. To breathe efficiently underwater, you have to develop a controlled slow, long breathing style. To do this, pull the dense air down deep to your lungs with each inhalation and expel it in a slow exhalation.
Being relaxed when you dive helps you to be more attentive and puts you in a good mind set to deal with an emergency calmly. It also reduces your possibility to panic. Uncontrolled ascents are still too common though every diver knows this from the start. Why? Because panic overrides intellect and disables people to do things they normal brain would do.
Diving for the first time will make you feel extraordinarily clumsy. Sometimes, even professionals you see hanging effortlessly in mid-water were once felt that way too. There will be a variety of techniques to learn when you take your class to acquire good buoyancy skills. Observe how the professionals control their movements and positions in the water. They hardly use their arms at all. Their ability to “fly” underwater mostly comes down to fin, body and breath control.
You have to be attentive to your environment when you dive. Be alert to everything that goes around you. Monitor your gauges but don’t be fixated on them. Look where you are going as you do on land. Look down to see what sort of environment awaits you. Be extra cautious when you go up as potentially threats await in form of hulls, skis, traffic and boat hulls. Develop a sensitive, invisible antennae that you subconsciously deploy as you go about your business.
Your fins help you to control your buoyancy and stability. You use your fins like you use car pedals. However fins not only improve your speed, helps you to slow down and change gear, but also help you to steer as well. Fins do it all. Every fin stroke must be thought well and should have a purpose. Master how to fin and unfin as well. AS much as possible, get into a habit of staying motionless underwater.
Learn to see the wood for the trees. Look beyond the reef at the fish, at the animals and everything’s behavior to be able to get the most out of diving. This is where most of these essentials come in handy. Develop and master all the essentials above to the point where you are able to remain absolutely still without thinking about how you’re doing it. Only then you can concentrate your attention completely on what you’re looking at.