Why you need to go diving in Grand Cayman

Carrie and I had the mid-winter blues and, not having been diving since completing our Open Water Certification in August, were itching for some great dives.  Anyone who’s done a Google search for scuba diving in the Caribbean knows that there are several destinations all claiming or reported to have the best diving for one reason or another.  We looked at several countries before we remembered that the dive school where we started our Open Water Certification, SPE Dive School, offers regular dive trips to the Cayman Islands for their students to get certified.  As you may know, we normally aren’t ones to do organized trips but there was something appealing about having everything arranged and being able to focus only on the dives in one of the top diving destinations in the Caribbean, oh and to come away with Advanced Certification!  So, we pulled the trigger and signed up for the mid-March trip.

Devils-Grotto-Grand-Cayman

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are a collection of three islands located south of Jamaica. Grand Cayman, where we stayed, is the largest. The Cayman Islands are famous for their financial services industry, which easily out ranks tourism as the most important contributor to employment and income generation.  Tourism does however contribute sizeably to the economy representing a total contribution of 29.5% of GDP in 2017 and a total employment of 31% in 2017. This makes for the possibility of an impactful trip!

Importantly the islands are known for their excellent diving and snorkeling. The Cayman Islands has over 365 dive sites spread throughout the three islands with the majority off the coast of Grand Cayman. With such a large number of dives sites and near perfect diving conditions it’s no surprise the Cayman was voted the best diving destination by Scubadiving.com, a renowned diving publication.

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Diving in Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman’s waters are ideal for diving – they’re relatively warm all year around and the visibility is great. The diverse topography of the west coast offers a range of great diving from shipwrecks to wall dives!  Our dives were all done with Divers Down, which we highly recommend. They have a great team of dive masters and captains who took great care of us over four days and the nine dives we took with them. Our Dive Master, Kerry was especially awesome.  They, and SPE Dive School, who arranged the trip, took such great care of us, we were able to hit the ground and dive almost immediately upon arrival. Actually, that’s a huge advantage to diving in Grand Cayman. It’s possible to arrive early enough to get an afternoon dive in on the same day and who doesn’t want to maximize their dive time?

Here’s why we think you need to go scuba diving in Grand Cayman:

Swim Throughs

What’s better than scuba diving and being able to swim through rock formations? For us, not much. Being newly certified, we hadn’t had this opportunity before so being able to get up close and personal with the topography was really exciting. Out of all the dives sites we visited on our trip, one of our favorites was Devil’s Grotto, the second dive we did.  At this site we swam through several caverns and swim throughs and saw lot of permit fish, dancing fish, and a sea turtle. If you haven’t seen our Instagram video then check out Carrie as she swims through one of the caverns!

Devil’s Grotto located off the west coast of Grand Cayman has several swim throughs like this one

Shipwreck Diving

One of the most popular types of dives is shipwreck diving and Grand Cayman has six shipwrecks to choose from.  The most famous is the USS Kittiwake, which is a decommissioned U.S. Naval submarine rescue vessel that the Cayman Islands purchased and sunk to create an artificial reef.  Those with certification can dive the site and swim through the sunken vessel. Divers are able to swim through the crew’s quarters, recompression chamber, ammunition storage and the head (bathroom).  The dive masters on this dive explained the order of the rooms we would see inside but to be honest, we couldn’t tell one from the other. Still it was really cool to swim through the ship. The wheel of the ship, however, was impossible to miss and is a popular point for divers to stop and take photos.  We also dove the wreck of Cali, typically an easy shore dive, but we did it at night (our first night dive), which made it a little more challenging. You have to see our Instagram video of the night dive through this wreck.

The Bonds navigate the USS Kittiwake, their first shipwreck dive in Grand Cayman.

Wall Diving

Grand Cayman is known for having some of the best wall dives in the world, so naturally we were looking forward to our first wall dive experience.  A wall, in scuba lingo is an underwater cliff face, or reef edge that runs vertically. As such, wall diving usually implies a deep dive, which was the main reason for our excitement.  Divers Down took us to the Sand Chute Wall, which is not far from the USS Kittiwake, where we descended along the wall to 90 feet. Diving at that depth reduces the duration of your dive due to the increased air pressure and the rate at which you use air, so while it was our deepest dive it was also one of our shortest.  WIth our Advanced Certification the maximum depth we can go is 100 ft (30 meters).

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Marine Life

In addition to the spectacular diving sites, the waters of Grand Cayman are home to a wide range of marine life.  Over the course of nine dives in four days we saw an octopus, sea turtles, a giant grouper (emphasis on giant), barracuda, parrot fish, eagle ray, and lobster to name a few.  We also went to Grand Cayman’s second most popular dive site, Stingray City. It’s a shallow dive (15ft) located on the northern coast of Grand Cayman and as the name implies it’s where stingrays hangout, mainly because people go to that spot to feed them. Whether you feed them, like Albert, or not, like Carrie, you are the object of the rays’ attention, which borders on aggressive.  Being so close was interesting, especially having the rays eat from your hand but also a bit overwhelming. We also couldn’t help but think about the impacts this type of tourism has on the marine life.

The Bonds spotted an eagle ray while diving Hammerhead Hole, Grand Cayman

The Cayman Islands offers world class diving for all levels of divers and can be easily reached from most cities along the east coast of the U.S. The diversity of dive sites (wall dives, shipwrecks, swim throughs, etc) and marine life, near perfect visibility, and consistently warm waters makes Grand Cayman a destination you need to go to for your next dive trip. If you’re looking for someone else to plan it all out (including your accommodation which can be pricey) and get certified then check out SPE Dive School.

Eco-Friendly Scuba Diver

How to be an Eco-Friendly Scuba Diver This Earth Day

On Sunday, April 22nd, the world will join together to celebrate the beloved holiday known as Earth Day. It is a time where we can reflect on how our actions affect Mother Earth. Just about every activity we engage in can be improved in some way, and those improvements can keep this big blue ball that we call home rotating for the long haul. Even scuba diving correctly can be good for the Earth. Here are a few ways that you can contribute.

Keep the Boat Clean

Even before diving into the water, you want to be sure that your boat is also on the up and up. Keep track of all trash, bags, and plastic bottles, so they don’t fall into the water. Also, avoid the leakage of any cleaning products.

Avoid Contact

One of the easiest things you can do to protect the environment is to scuba dive without touching any plants or animals under the water’s surface. Doing so could cause some pretty serious long-term effects. Avoid this by maintaining buoyancy control so you can avoid crashing into any marine life. At SPE Dive School, we can show you how to do just that.

Watch Your Sunscreen

We all want to be protected from the sun, but when sunscreen leaks into the water, it can be deadly for the sea life. It is okay to wear some sunscreen to protect yourself but don’t overdo it, and if you do wear it, be extra careful about not touching the reef or fish.

Avoid Bothering the Animals

Remember that when you scuba dive, you are not there to interact but to observe. Avoid the urge to chase after sea life as doing so can add unneeded stress to the creatures. You also want to avoid feeding the animals because that could interrupt their natural nutrient balance. You may also find the need to take pictures of the fish. This is fine to do, but avoid getting too close as a bright flash can chase the marine life away from their nesting spots and can even cause blindness.

At SPE Dive School, we love scuba diving and we love exploring the sea. That’s why we do our best to remain eco-friendly during every dive. Contact us today by calling 301-657-2266 to learn more about our beginner scuba diving classes!

Scuba Diving Safety

Safety Gear for Scuba Diving

Before you look to take your scuba diving to the next level, the first step is knowing how to enjoy your new adventure as safely as possible. You can start by checking out these five helpful safety devices.

GPS

The last thing you would want to imagine is getting lost while scuba diving, but if you have the right equipment then that idea is not quite as scary. That is why you should always have a good GPS system. This smart device is capable of sending your GPS signal miles away so any number of boats can be at your rescue should you need it.

Strobe Light

Another safety item that you should not be without is a good emergency strobe. The strobe offered by Tektite is easy to use, it emits a light that can be seen from over a mile away, and it can burn for over 100 hours on three C batteries.

Signaling Sausage

If you ever come back up to the surface, only to find that your boat is gone, you will be glad to have a signaling sausage on you. This reflective strap floats to the top of the water and flashes in the sun, becoming visible up to a half a mile away.

Air Horn

While there is a chance that a rescuer could miss a flashing sausage, it’s hard to dismiss a loud air horn. Audible from a mile away, a good air horn will clip between your power inflator and your hose and is very easy to use in a pinch.

Alert Flag

One of the most fundamental safety precautions you can have is also the most helpful in a time of need, and that is a good alert flag. It’s easily stowed when attached to a D-ring or in a buoyancy-compensator pocket and it’s easy to grab whenever you need it.

For absolute safety, you would be wise to bring at least one or two of these safety items with you during your next dive. If you want to learn more about these devices or you want to know anything else about scuba diving, contact us at the SPE Dive School so we can teach you everything there is to know.

 

Scuba Diving Tips

Tips to Keep in Mind When Diving in Strong Currents

Whether you are a beginner or a veteran diver, chances are you have been caught in a strong current at some point in time. There are two schools of thought when it comes to strong currents: some people are terrified at the idea of being stuck in a current they can’t control and others enjoy the feeling of gliding effortlessly while enjoying the underwater world.

Whatever your thoughts on currents may be, there are certain factors to keep in mind to be sure that you remain safe.

Don’t fight against the current

It is important to remember that if you are caught in a current, you should not fight against it. Doing so will just make you exhausted, and if the current lasts for a continuous amount of time, it could cause trouble. Instead, consider riding out the current. Most currents are short lived, and you might enjoy the chance to steer yourself through the water.

Get out of the way

You want to do the best you can to get out of the way of the current. You can do this by trying to seek shelter behind a reef or a rock, as this will keep you out of the current’s direct path. If there isn’t much around, try to swim towards the bottom as the current usually isn’t as strong towards the ocean floor.

You can also take a cue from the fish! Fish are used to being caught in currents, so they know where to go to get out of danger. Try to mimic and follow them when possible.

Remember to breathe

When you find yourself trapped in a current, it is important to stay calm. Pace your breathing and always keep an eye on your gauges. If you get dragged down or up, be prepared to inflate or dump air quickly.

If you are boat diving and you find that you are quickly being swept down current from the boat, lose any excess weight and try to regain buoyancy as soon as possible. The sooner you can alert the boat’s staff of your issues, the better.

These safety measures that are taken when caught in a current are just one of the many lessons you will learn when you take classes at SPE Dive School. We encourage all new divers to take our beginners course so you can be ready to take on any dive and offer advanced and specialty classes as well. Call us at 301-657-2266 today to learn more about our scuba dive school!

Reusing old scuba divng tanks

Old Diving Tanks? Here’s How to Reuse Them

Oh no! Your trusty diving tank has failed hydrostatic or visual testing. What do you do now? Do you toss it? Why not think creatively and reuse your old diving tank to make something new and unique, or earn some extra money? Read on for a few ideas.

Turn old diving tanks into cash

Even if your tank isn’t usable for diving, you may be able to remove and sell the valves, or sell the entire tank for scrap metal. When in doubt, bring it to a local dive shop, where the staff may know how to reuse it.

Turn old diving tanks into bookends

Whether you collect books about diving or are just an all-around bookworm, old diving tanks make great bookends.

Use old diving tanks as a base for a one-of-a-kind lamp

Just flip the switch to bring back old diving memories. For other styles of tank lamps, visit Etsy!

Display flowers in a diving tank vase

Upcycled diving tanks make great vases. You can either buff your old tank to a high shine, or leave it rough for an industrial-chic touch.

Show the world your old diving tank

Your neighbors will know how much you love to dive when you turn your old tank into a fun mailbox, complete with a diver-down flag.

If you’ve always wanted to try diving but haven’t yet had the chance, or if you’ve gone underwater a few times and are craving more, try a class at SPE Dive School. We’ve been teaching people the art and science of diving in the DC metro area since 1972. Join us for your next adventure!

Tips for Buying Your First Scuba Wetsuit

If you’ve taken a few classes at SPE Dive School, chances are you’ve learned to love scuba diving. Perhaps you love it so much you’re thinking of purchasing your own wetsuit! Your wetsuit is your first line of defense against the elements, so it pays to know a few facts before purchasing your first wetsuit.

Make sure your wetsuit is the right fit

Your wetsuit should fit tightly, but not so tightly that it’s hard to put on or restricts circulation. Make sure you’re able to bend at the waist and touch your toes with the zipper fully engaged. This movement shouldn’t cause any constriction at the neck. If it does, your suit is too tight.

When buying a wetsuit, choose the stitch for you

Many “bargain” wetsuits use a type of stitching called overlock stitching, which can be uncomfortable against the skin and can sometimes let water seep through. The blind stitch is the best-quality construction, but can be expensive. If you’re on a budget, try something in between these two extremes. For example, flatlock stitching is quite comfortable and is reasonably good at keeping out water, especially when the suit’s seams are taped.

Consider where you’ll scuba dive before buying a wetsuit

If you’re planning on diving primarily in warm waters, a “shorty” wetsuit (one where the arms and legs end at the elbows and knees) may work for you. If you’re diving in colder climates or are particularly cold-sensitive, a longer and/or thicker suit will be better for you.

Want to learn more about diving? Try a class at SPE Dive School. We’ve been teaching people the art of diving in the DC metro area since 1972. Join us for the adventure of a lifetime!

Why you need to maintain your scuba gear

The Importance of Maintaining Your Scuba Diving Gear

If you love scuba diving, or are interested in trying it for the first time, you might think that your dive location and the sights you see are the most important parts of the experience. Not so! Far more important than either of these elements is the condition of your scuba diving gear. Poorly maintained gear can be dangerous, not to mention uncomfortable. For a safe, comfortable and enjoyable dive that lets you focus on the wonders of the underwater world, make sure to maintain your scuba diving gear in good condition.

Regulator

Your regulator is your life support system, providing you with oxygen during your dives. For that reason, it’s absolutely essential that you take it to a reputable dive shop at least once a year to have it serviced. Even if you only went on a couple of dives during that period, the regulator’s many parts can deteriorate in time, so service it annually no matter how often you dive.

Tanks

These come in either aluminum or steel. Aluminum tanks are more durable, but keep an eye out for dents and corrosion, and get valve service on an annual basis. For steel tanks, watch for rust. If you see any rust, a dive shop can take care of it with a composite rinse.

Buoyancy compensator devices

Each year, check to make sure your inflator is working properly, with no leaks, and that the washers that secure the valves and inflator are tightened.

Ready to give scuba driving a try? If you’re in the Washington, DC area and would like to book a scuba class, call SPE Dive School today at 301-657-2266!

Benefits of Kids Taking Scuba Diving Lessons

Why Your Kids Should Take Scuba Lessons

Here at SPE Dive School, we think scuba is everything—not only is it a fun and exciting activity to do together with friends and family, but it’s also a great exercise for your mind, and body. That’s why PADI constantly tells people that scuba lessons are perfect for kids as young as 10. And now, there is science to prove it.

Scuba diving is a natural way to grow a child’s creativity

At a young age, children are incredibly curious—they want to see how the world lives around them, and what other creatures inhabit it. Scuba diving gives them that direct access, allowing them to explore and learn about underwater habitats. It’s a natural classroom!

Scuba diving helps a child learn independence

As we all know, scuba diving can be a very personal experience—you’re alone with your thoughts and imagination, and you get to explore the water the way you want to. For a kid, this can be an incredibly humbling experience, as it teaches them to learn on their own. Once you let them dive, you can let them grow on their own.

Scuba diving helps children mature

Albeit fun and exciting for the reasons mentioned, scuba diving is serious—and having that responsibility could be a growing lesson for a child. They’ll need to hear their instructor, make sure they prepare right, and be able to develop their own skill. Those types of lessons will go a long way in the future.

Scuba diving is fun

Nowadays, it’s not always easy for parents to connect with their kids, especially on family vacations. But scuba diving solves that issue. Believe us—your child will be thankful you signed them up!

Once you’re ready to take the plunge, let SPE Dive School know. We can help with all of your diving needs, no matter how old you are!

Tips for Easy Equalizing

Tips for Easy Equalizing

If you’re experiencing ear pain on your dives, you need to improve your equalizing technique. This important skill prevents ear pain by (you guessed it) equalizing the pressure in your middle ears with the pressure around you. Your middle ears are connected to your throat by means of your Eustachian tubes, which are normally closed. Opening them is the key to equalizing. Read on for a few easy tips.

Listen for the pop

Swallow a few times. You should hear a slight pop about every other swallow. This is the way to naturally open your Eustachian tubes.

Prep early

Get ready to equalize during your dive a few hours before. Chewing gum is a great way to encourage the above mentioned pop and open those tubes, allowing higher-pressure air from the throat to access the inner ears.

Feet first

Air rises up the Eustachian tubes, and mucus flows downward. When you descend feet-first, you make it easier to equalize.

Use a descent line

Descending an anchor or mooring line helps you accurately control your descent rate and makes equalizing easier.

If it hurts, don’t do it

If you’re having a particularly hard time equalizing, come up. Your ears are delicate, and pushing through pain can damage them.

To learn more about equalizing, along with all the ins and outs of diving, call SPE Dive School at 301-657-2266 to book a diving lesson today! We’ve helped many new and experienced divers in the DC area have fun, rewarding diving experiences.

Scuba Refresher Courses

Why You Should Take a Scuba Refresher Course

Do you love to scuba dive but haven’t been diving in a while? Before you head back out to sea, consider taking a tune up/refresher course. Here are some of the top reasons why a tune up course will help you make the most of your dive.

Jog your memory

Like everything we learn, your scuba diving knowledge will fade over time if you don’t brush up on your skills every once in a while. If you don’t remember the answer to questions like “What should I do if I’m separated from my buddy?” or “What if I run low on air?” or “What should I do if I’m caught in a current?” then you are sure to benefit from a refresher course. The professionals who teach tune up courses will bring you back up to speed.

Work out the kinks

Many divers who have been inactive for a while often forget correct procedures and end up developing bad habits. If you’re anxious about any skills, taking a refresher course gives you the perfect opportunity to practice in a controlled environment. The watchful eye of a pro can also help iron out any bad habits you’ve picked up over the years.

Test your equipment

If your equipment hasn’t been used in a while, then it’s a good idea to test it out before you use it again. The last thing you want is to be out at sea and realize there is something wrong with your equipment! The professional running your course will be able to help you identify and address any issues you may be having with your equipment.

Here at SPE Dive School we offer tune up courses to help you brush up on your skills! Check out our course calendar to sign up!

Buying a Dive Torch

Tips for Buying a Dive Light

A dive light, also known as a dive torch, is an essential piece of scuba diving gear. The light is a must for night dives, and extremely helpful for exploring cracks and crevices during day dives. There are many different dive lights on the market, so before you make the investment be sure you know what to look for.

Check the label

Look for lights that are labeled water-tight and pressure-proof, and avoid lights labeled waterproof. “Waterproof” lights may resist water, but they will not withstand the pressure of deep submersion on a dive. Lights that aren’t pressure-proof are prone to cracking under pressure, which is the last thing you want to deal with on a dive!

Use rechargeable batteries

Dive lights require a lot of power to maintain a bright shine, which means they burn through batteries quickly. Using rechargeable batteries will help save you money and avoid wasting regular batteries.

Choose the right bulb

Without the bulb, there’s no light, so choosing the right one is essential. There are lots of different bulbs out there, so it comes down to preference and priority. Tungsten and halogen bulbs cost less, but they require more batteries and give off dimmer light. HIDs and LEDs are more expensive, but they are more efficient. For example, a 10-watt HID generates the same light as a 50-watt halogen, but it uses only 20 percent of the power.

To learn more about scuba diving and proper scuba diving equipment, check out SPE Dive School! We train and certify all levels of divers from the Washington, DC metro area, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

Adapting to Different Dive Environments

How to Adapt to Different Dive Environments

Scuba diving is an amazing and fun way to explore the world underwater and get a little exercise in! If you’re new to scuba diving, make sure to take some beginner classes. Once you know the basics, you can take your diving adventures to the next level and learn to adapt to different dive environments!

Night diving

There’s nothing quite like night diving – the colors are more vivid set against the darkness of the ocean at night, and you’re sure to see amazing sights, as there is some marine life that only comes out at night! The darkness can be incredible, but it’s also very different and can be intimidating.

To adapt properly, your lighting equipment will be of the utmost importance. You’ll want to have two torches – one primary and one backup – and attach a light to your tank so that your dive buddy can easily spot you. Make sure your buddy is an experienced night diver who can show you the ropes.

Drift diving

When you drift dive, you use the energy of the currents around you to dive and drift with the water without using a lot of energy. Though it can be relaxing, you must be an experienced diver to attempt it. Research the area in advance and check the weather forecast frequently so you know what kind of conditions to expect. And make sure to have a reef hook handy so you can anchor yourself if need be.

Cave diving

Cave diving is the ultimate adventure! Explore underwater passageways and marvel at different cave formations. But don’t go it alone! Diving with an experienced buddy or group is best. Analyze the passageways carefully before attempting them, and make sure to have proper lighting for dark corners and tunnels.

Get started with beginner classes at SPE Dive School so you can advance to diving in these unique environments!

Securing Your Gear While Diving

How to Secure Your Gear While Scuba Diving

New to scuba diving? Welcome to a whole new world! Scuba diving is not only a great hobby and exercise, but it opens up the entire underwater world for you to see. Whether you’re a novice diver or a pro, staying sharp when you dive is important, so here are some tips on how to make sure your gear stays secure while you dive.

Pockets

Diving isn’t an activity you can just do after jumping into a wet suit—you’ll need a number of tools and items with you underwater. If your scuba suit doesn’t have any pockets, add a few on. You can thread a pouch through your BCD, or secure one around your waist. A pocket or pouch is a great spot to keep flashlights, a spare mask, and any other accessories you need during the dive.

D-Rings

Securing a d-ring to your weight belt or tank strap will give you an extra spot to hook accessories, too. If you’re diving with a camera, or a basket to haul out some treasures, a d-ring is a great spot. You don’t want to drop something important and lose it in the reef, so keeping everything secure is important.

Lanyards

A lanyard is another way to secure your items while you dive, because they’ll keep things secure that you usually hold in your hand. But make sure that whatever accessories you’re bringing with you won’t dangle too low and damage the environment.

If you’ve never dived before, or if you need a refresher course before you head out on a diving trip, SPE Dive School offers scuba lessons in the Washington, D.C. area! We teach frequent open water scuba certification courses for beginners and advanced divers.

Discover scuba at SPE Dive School. Click here to learn about our classes, and call us today at 301-657-2266 to reserve your spot!

The Different Types of Scuba Diving

Four Types of Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is a great way to get some exercise, have fun, and explore the underwater world. An easy way to get started scuba diving is to take some beginner scuba classes. These classes are designed to help you get familiar with the water and learn how to scuba dive safely. When you’re ready, you can enjoy different types of scuba diving, like the ones covered in this post, to take scuba diving to the next level.

Night Diving

Nothing can compare to seeing the underwater world at night. Many types of marine life only come out at night, so you’ll really get to see some amazing things. You’ll use a bright underwater flashlight and communicate with it so you’re safe at all times. If you really want to experience the ocean in its true form, diving at night is a must!

Drift Diving

Drift diving is a freeing experience because you use the energy of the currents around you to dive and drift with the water without using a lot of energy. It’s very relaxing for the diver, and is sometimes likened to flying. Drift diving is typically recommended for scuba divers with a lot of experience.

Cave Diving

If the idea of exploring excites you, cave diving is for you. Imagine exploring underwater passageways as you marvel in the cave’s formations. It’s very exciting thinking about who has explored the cave before you and what life it once held. It’s the ultimate adventure!

Deep Diving

Deep diving is for more experienced scuba divers, but it’s a great goal to work towards. Deep diving is when you dive deeper than 18 meters and requires training and planning in advance. It’s a great opportunity to explore old, wrecked ships or see marine life that you wouldn’t otherwise see.

These are just a few of the types of scuba diving you can train and plan to do after your beginner scuba diving classes. Once you master the basics of scuba diving, it’s like another world opens up and is waiting to be explored. What are you waiting for? Schedule your beginning scuba classes with SPE Dive School today by calling 301-657-2266.

Cayman Islands SCUBA Dive Sites

Amazing Dive Sites in the Cayman Islands

If you love scuba diving, and you’ve never been to the Cayman Islands, it’s time to book a trip. Check out some of our favorite dive sites in the Cayman Islands, book mark your favorites, and get your next scuba vacation planned!

Bloody Bay Wall, Little Cayman

Lonely Planet says that Bloody Bay Wall is the best scuba site in the Caymans. But don’t let the name of the site intimidate you: there’s a ton of marine life to be observed, like neon-yellow tube sponges, waving fans, and corals for miles. Plus, you’ll probably come across turtles, lobsters, triggerfish, and more. This site is unique for its 200-meter drop; jump in and check it out for yourself!

Babylon, Grand Cayman

On the North Wall of the island, the best site is Babylon. This is a good spot for novice divers to check out the sandy flats, but there are also good spots to dive a bit deeper. You’ll see black coral, purple sea fans, parrot fish, barracuda, eagle rays, and more. It’s one of the most remote sites on the North Wall, so it’s very undisturbed. You can spend the whole day diving out there, and you’ll never see the same thing twice.

Stingray City, Grand Cayman

If you love stingrays, check out Stingray City off of Grand Cayman. The site is known for a tame stingray population, who originally came to the area to check out the fishermen who were cleaning their local catches in the area. The stingrays are relatively friendly, so you can feed them by hand during your dive.

The Cayman Islands are unique for their environmental protections, which is why their reefs and wildlife are so well preserved. Plus, you’ll enjoy calm waters, comfortable water temps, the world’s best safety standards when it comes to scuba diving, excellent and experienced instructors, and easy transport to the dive sites when you go with SPE Dive School. Sign up for a trip today!

SCUBA Myths

Five Things People Get Completely Wrong About Scuba Diving

There are some people who are under the assumption that they need to invest hundreds and, in some cases, even thousands of dollars in order to start scuba diving. This myth couldn’t be further from the truth! When you work with a company like SPE Dive School, you can start scuba diving right away without spending a fortune on scuba equipment. This isn’t the only myth about scuba diving that exists, either. Here are five other common myths:

You need to be a competitive swimmer to keep up in scuba diving

Being a strong swimmer will certainly help you when scuba diving. But many people believe you need to be an excellent swimmer to start scuba diving in the first place. This isn’t true. As long as you have some experience swimming and don’t mind learning how to swim with all of your scuba gear, you will be just fine when you get into the water.

You can’t scuba dive if you have a medical condition

There are some medical conditions that will prevent you from scuba diving. But there are others, like asthma and diabetes that are no longer the roadblocks they used to be when it comes to scuba diving. You may need to take extra precautions because of them, but by working with your doctor, you can figure out which conditions will keep you out of the water and, more importantly, which ones won’t.

You will damage your ears if you scuba dive

If you don’t equalize the pressure in your ears before doing a deep dive while scuba diving, you may feel some discomfort in them. But this is an easy fix. By using what’s called the Valsalva maneuver and blowing against your nostrils while pinching your nose, you can provide yourself with some relief and avoid any uncomfortable feelings in your ears.

You have to be a man to scuba dive

What?! This one might be the worst myth of all. While many scuba divers were men many years ago, there are men and women who enjoy scuba diving in 2017. Regardless of your gender, you will enjoy it once you try it.

You can get the same experience snorkeling as you would scuba diving

Snorkeling can be a lot of fun. But make no mistake about it: Snorkeling and scuba diving are not one in the same. Scuba diving will allow you to experience something completely different than snorkeling will. So if you’ve only ever been snorkeling, you should open yourself up to the new experience that scuba diving will provide.

Would you like to give scuba diving a try? Register for classes with SPE Dive School or call us at 301-657-2266 for more information on how we can help you start scuba diving today!

 

Do You Know the History of Scuba Diving?

Scuba diving may be a trendy activity these days, but did you know that this popular sport has a long history?

Breathing underwater has been important to humans for centuries, as our ancestors sought ways to collect food and gather artifacts from beneath the surface of the sea. The ancient Greek writer Herodotus told of Scyllis, a sailor who used a reed to breathe underwater as he cut the moorings of enemy ships during a naval campaign.

Over time, scientists invented devices that would become critical to modern scuba diving. For example, Italian Guglielmo di Loreno developed the first diving bell in 1535, and German scientist Otto von Guericke developed the first air pump in 1650.

Modern recreational scuba diving began to flower in the 1950s, ten years after the world-famous French explorer Jacques Cousteau and engineer Emile Gagnan worked together to invent the Aqua-Lung, the first successful rebreathing device and the diving regulator used for the first scuba equipment. The Silent World, a documentary co-directed by Cousteau and Louis Malle, sparked widespread interest in the underwater world.

Given the sport’s popularity, John Cronin and Ralph Erickson decided to establish a professional organization to certify instructors and regulate diving courses. Their organization, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), now has over 6,000 dive shops and resorts worldwide.

Now that you know the history of scuba diving, why not book a beginner’s class? If you’re in the DC area and are ready to book a scuba class, call SPE Dive School today at 301-657-2266. We have the best scuba dive lessons and certification in the area and we can’t wait to help you find your passion!

Pictures of Grand Cayman

SPE Dive School listing @ InfoHub.com + GIVEAWAY!!!

Attention fellow scuba divers! Today we are happy to announce that our Grand Cayman
Island Diving Tour has been nominated as an Unordinary Trip of the Month by
InfoHub.com , the #1 travel portal on the Internet specialized in the out-of-ordinary , special
interest adventures. Every month, SPE Dive School leads a SCUBA travel and dive vacation
training experience on Grand Cayman Island, one of the world’s highest rated and safest diving
locales and we are thrilled to see our efforts highlighted this way!
For extra fun, we are excited to offer our guests a special prize! Any of you who book a tour
with SPE Dive School before November 30, 2017 may be eligible for a very special prize from
InfoHub’s sister-company GPSmyCity – publisher of travel apps for Apple and Android. The
GPSmyCity app features offline city maps, self-guided walking tours and travel articles for 1,000
cities worldwide, using which you can turn your mobile into a personal tour guide. With this app
you can explore any major urban destination in the US and further afield on your own, at your
own pace. The GPSmyCity app works offline so there’s NO need to worry about roaming
charges when traveling abroad.
A lucky winner will be chosen at random to get a one-year full membership of the GPSmyCity
app including access to ALL the GPSmyCity content – over 6,500 self-guided city walks and
travel articles – to the total value of over $8,000!!!
Book now and enjoy your scuba diving adventure with us!

SCUBA Diving is a Good Workout

How is Scuba Diving a Good Workout?

Are you looking for a way to get a great workout that comes with beautiful sights and the chance to get your feet wet? Well, scuba diving might be for you! Read on to find out how you can achieve your fitness goals and satisfy your sense of adventure at the same time.

You’ll tone your core, glutes and back

Proper diving form, such as kicking from the hip instead of the knee, helps tone the muscles that keep you looking lean and strong. Water is a denser medium than air, meaning that your muscles have to work harder – and you’ll tone up faster. An added bonus: you’ll also gain plenty of upper body strength from lifting heavy scuba equipment!

Get the strength without the strain

Unlike, say, jogging, you can get a great workout from scuba diving without huffing and puffing and breaking a serious sweat. It’s also a great low-impact exercise if you’re suffering from joint strain.

You’ll burn a ton of calories

Thanks to the water’s resistance and the fact that you’re constantly swimming, a 30-minute dive could burn up to 500- plus calories, depending on your height and weight. Now, consider that you’ll go underwater as many as four times on a single outing. That’s a lot of calories torched!

Scuba diving is more than just an exciting way to get to know the wonderful world below the surface of the water. It’s also a great way to get in shape. If you’re in the DC area and ready to book your first scuba class, call SPE Dive School today at 301-657-2266.

Overcoming Common Scuba Diving Problems

Common Scuba Diving Problems and How To Overcome Them

Are you beginning to scuba dive? If so, it should be an amazing experience. Some people like the sense of freedom and discovery that comes along with diving, but for others, the transition to life underwater is not too easy. Divers who are just beginning often experience difficulties during training or the months after training. Divers should try and overcome these issues so they don’t escalate to the point where they give up rather than face the same challenges over and over again.

Here are a few of the most common problems faced by new divers and how you can overcome or address them:

Mask Clearing

For many beginners, mask clearing is one of the most challenging skills. At times, water floods into the mask and that sensation often triggers panic. Our brain makes us think that the risk of drowning is near and our first instinct is to swim blindly to the surface. Like many things in life, the key to mastering mask clearing is practice. Have your instructor spend extra time working on the skill with you and get used to breathing underwater without your mask on. Practice inhaling through your regulator and exhaling through your nose until the feeling of water on your face becomes normal. Next, practice allowing a small amount of water into your mask and clearing it.

Fear and phobias

Sometimes a diver masters the basic skills, but psychological factors get in the way. Existing phobias can be exaggerated underwater, such as claustrophobia, the feat of small spaces, and agoraphobia, being fearful of open spaces. To control fear underwater, stay within your comfort zone. If your fear or anxiety is triggered by unusually deep dives or a strong current, don’t sign up for dives that involve those factors. Take the time to identify the source of your fear and address it.

For expertise help and classes, visit SPE Dive School today or give us a call at 301-657-2266 with any questions you may have. The adventure begins with us!

Making the Most out of your Dive

How to Make the Most of Your Dive

Scuba diving can be an extremely rewarding and thrilling experience, but whether you’re new to diving or a veteran, there are a few tips you should follow to help you make the best of your dive.

Find a buddy

Scuba diving is always better as a shared experience. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who share you enthusiasm is a great way to stay motivated and excited. Join a local dive group, or try starting one yourself. Having a network of divers to connect with will help you find the best places to dive, plan trips and maybe even get special rates on gear!

Find your niche

Once you feel confident with the basics of diving, you can focus on the things about diving that interest you most. Do you like marine life and want to use diving as a way to get up close and personal with it, whether through photography or volunteering with a conservation project? Are you fascinated by discovery missions and want to explore wreck diving? Whatever the case, you’ll get the most out of diving by focusing on what interests you!

Keep learning

The best dives require knowledge and preparation, and there is always more to learn and new certifications to consider. If you’re a beginner or just looking to brush up on your skills and you live in the DC metro area, be sure to check out the classes available at SPE Dive School! We have a passion for education and have been training divers for over forty years. Schedule your free orientation today!

When is the Weather Too Much for a Dive

When Should You Call Off Your Dive?

Scuba diving is an exhilarating experience, but it can quickly become a dangerous one with bad conditions. So how do you how when to call it? Here are some of the top reasons to postpone your dive.

Bad weather

If the weather forecast is bad, there are many variables that can make diving unsafe, so it’s best not to risk it. Stormy weather makes for rough waters, and weather on the ocean can be very changeable. With strong winds and heavy rains, travel can be treacherous. And when it gets cold, water temperature will drop, which could cause divers to experience hypothermia.

Faulty equipment

A safe dive is largely dependent on high-quality, well-functioning equipment. Gear should be checked before leaving and then double checked before diving. If anything seems amiss, don’t make the dive. Your gear is your lifeline – it protects your body, provides oxygen, and helps keep you close to the boat. Even a pin-sized hole or wonky watch can put you at risk.

Shark-infested waters

Shark attacks on humans are rare, but not unheard of. Sharks are territorial, so if you end up in their area you will be at risk. Some divers may be intrigued by the idea of getting up close and personal with the creatures, but sharks are best admired from a distance.

If you want to learn more about how to stay safe on a dive, or if you’re looking to learn how to SCUBA dive, SPE Dive School can help! We train and certify all levels of divers from the Washington, DC metro area, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Contact us today and schedule your free orientation session!

First SCUBA Dive Expectations

What to Expect During Your First Scuba Class

Congratulations! You’ve signed up for your first scuba diving class. You’re probably excited by the prospect of the crystal-blue water, the possibility of seeing stunning tropical fish and coral and the thrill of trying something new. But likely, you’re also a little bit nervous about the idea of going so far underwater for the first time.

Read on for a few tips that will give you an idea of what to expect during your first scuba class:

You’ll learn to communicate like a pro

During your scuba diving class, you’ll need to learn to constantly communicate with your diving buddy, checking on his or her safety and pointing out cool things you see. Your buddy will do the same for you – it’s a team effort! You’ll also learn to communicate with your scuba instructors, letting them know if your oxygen’s low or something’s wrong.

You’ll feel weightless

Once you get in the water, you can fly up, down, left and right. You’ll easily be able to move in three dimensions. After you overcome the first initial shock of being underwater with a lot of gear, try to relax into the weightless feeling of the water, just remember not to fight the water, and instead let the water support you. Remember to be as still as possible and embrace the freedom from gravity!

You’ll have lots of fun!

It might take a little while to get the hang of diving, but once you do, you’ll have a great time getting to know the ocean and making new friends. Although scuba diving takes a little getting used to, it’s definitely worth the effort!

If you’re thinking of trying diving for the first time, check out a beginner scuba diving class from SPE Dive School. We’ve been educating safe divers in the DC metro area since 1972. The adventure begins here!

If you’re a fan of scuba diving and you’re traveling to some of the best scuba diving ports in the world, then you should definitely take advantage of this relaxing, fun and exciting opportunity.

Planning a Cruise? Check Out The Top Ports for Scuba Diving

If you’re planning a cruise soon, it’s time to start thinking about all the fun excursions that you and your family can do while you’re on the ship. If you’re a fan of scuba diving and you’re traveling to some of the best scuba diving ports in the world, then you should definitely take advantage of this relaxing, fun and exciting opportunity.

Here are the top four scuba diving ports that you could soon be cruising to:

Cozumel, Mexico

SportDiver says that Cozumel, about a mile south of the port of San Miguel, is just about the best scuba diving site you can get to via cruise ship. You can dive the house reef or take a one-tank boat tour further out into the ocean. You can check out the C-53 wreck, which was purposely sunk in 1999.

Grand Cayman

Cayman is the best Caribbean diving location for divers of all experience. You’ll be able to check out incredible sea life, like lettuce sea slugs and other nudibranchs, and explore healthy reefs in visible, calm and warm water!

Key West, Florida

If you’re cruising in the US, plan on scuba diving in Key West. South Point offers afternoon and night reef dives where you will be able to check out the wrecked USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg. Spend an hour or two scuba diving around the world’s third largest living coral barrier reef.

Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

Blue Water Divers is about a mile from the Grand Turks port, so make sure to arrange for a ride out to the reef ahead of time. You can dive the wall in Columbus Landfall National Marine Park, and then check out McDonald’s, a well-known reef archway.

By learning how to scuba dive and getting open water certified, you’ll be able to take advantage of every stop the cruise makes. If you are unable to take a cruise to get your scuba fix and you live in the DC Metro Area, take a refresher scuba course with SPE Dive School, or learn more about our upcoming Grand Cayman trip!

Unusual Ideas For a Unique Scuba Diving Experience

Group Scuba DivingScuba diving is a relaxing, fun, and exciting sport that seems to be attracting a younger crowd looking for adventure! The number of young adults who participated in scuba diving has been on the rise, increasing from 275,000 in 2011 to 567,000 in 2015. When you think of scuba diving do you immediately think of exploring coral reefs and seeing tropical fish in their natural habitat? What about extreme underwater ironing? Or being a professional mermaid? There are some new and highly unusual activities out there for scuba divers looking for unique activities in the deep blue sea. These are not things that you will try during beginner diving so look into becoming scuba certified to indulge in all the fun it has to offer.

Being a professional mermaid is definitely a dream pursuit for many lovers of the sea. According to the website deeperblue.com, in the U.S. alone, an estimated 1,000 women and men make a living out of professional mermaiding. Many work at aquariums, resorts, and underwater photo shoots. As a mermaid you need to have exemplary physical strength and breath holding technique as well as a tolerance for cold water. Many professional mermaids will enhance their skills with scuba certification classes.

Extreme underwater ironing is an offshoot of extreme ironing that started in the UK. “Team Steam” the extreme ironing group says the sport “combines the thrill of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-ironed shirt”. The same can be said for underwater ironing! The current Guinness World Record is held by a Dutch diving club, who organized a mass underwater ironing event in 2011 that involved 173 divers. Scuba training is also a must for this strange but real activity! If you are looking to break the world record for people ironing underwater you better get scuba certified first!

If you are looking for something a little more extreme than ironing underwater you can also join an underwater hockey team. Or, for the extra brave, you can join an underwater ice hockey team. According to Wikipedia, underwater hockey is also known as Octopush and consists of two teams competing to move a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into the opposing team’s goal with a hockey stick. It is usually played underneath an ice rink or frozen pond. Traditional underwater ice hockey is reserved for freedivers (diving without equipment) but scuba diving lessons would definitely help with training for such an extreme activity.

As you can see, there are some weird and wacky activities that scuba diving can lead to, if you’re feeling adventurous. But, don’t forget that regular scuba diving, without hockey sticks or mermaid tails, is just as enjoyable and exciting. Becoming scuba certified is a must if you want to explore the deep blue seas on your own; even though scuba diving is a fun sport, it can be dangerous if you are not properly trained.

Scuba Training: Air Sharing Basics to Master

scuba trainingWhether you’re a certified scuba diver or you’re still in scuba training, it’s crucial that you master the basics. And one of those ever-important basics is air sharing. Here, we’ll discuss how to air share and a few precautions you should take while practicing.

Sharing Air: The Basics

Like the old adage goes, practice makes perfect. But even more than that, perfect practice makes perfect. Before you can have an effective practice, you need to master technique.

  • Signal
    Before air sharing can even begin, it’s important that you signal to your diving buddy. The more distinctive your signal, the better. Make sure you have a designated signal before you even hit the water!
  • Buddy’s Move
    Once you’ve signaled to your buddy that you’re low on air and want to share, it’s their move. Your buddy should know to move toward you and offer an air source.
  • Breathe
    Once you have the offered regulator in your mouth, begin breathing normally. But don’t forget that if your buddy offers their primary reg, they need it back! This shouldn’t be standard for your practice drills, as it can quickly become a dangerous situation.
  • Physical Contact
    No matter what, keep physical contact with your buddy when you’re practicing air sharing. Grabbing onto an arm or tank valve will ensure that when you practice scuba diving, the reg won’t be pulled from your mouth prematurely.

 

Extra Precautions to Take

No matter how advanced your scuba classes are, air sharing requires a few essential precautions. Here are some of the most important precautionary steps to take before practicing air sharing on a scuba diving course:

  • Review your drill before the dive begins. You and your buddy should know which air sources to use, as well as your signal for air sharing.
  • Don’t forget about your buoyancy! Safe air sharing is important, but it shouldn’t absorb all of your attention.
  • Inform your instructor before the dive. If you plan on practicing without telling your divemaster, they might mistake the situation for a real emergency.
  • Don’t start with single regulator “buddy breathing.” As previously mentioned, this can be dangerous for both divers, especially if you’re inexperienced.

Almost 80% of diving problems involve the head and neck. That includes your regulator and breathing! But if your scuba training is done with diligence and accuracy, you’ll improve your safety and the safety of those around you.

Breathe Easier Underwater With These 5 Scuba Diving Tips

scuba diving equipmentScuba diving can be an extremely rewarding adventure, but it definitely takes some practice. As of 2013, there were between 2.7 and 3.5 million active scuba diving enthusiasts in the U.S. alone, and they all knew one thing: conserving oxygen is key. But how do you conserve oxygen when the environment doesn’t supply it to you? Here are a few air-saving tips that might just help you breathe a little easier during your scuba classes.

Stay Warm
The colder you are, the more energy and oxygen your body requires to stay warm. Shivering and hyperventilating take much more oxygen than simply floating in the water. But no two insulated diving suits are the same, so make sure you experiment to find out what level of insulation is right for you.

Move Slowly
It’s easy to strap on your scuba diving equipment and want to zoom through the water, but moving quickly is only going to expend more oxygen and energy. Increased resistance underwater isn’t going to do your oxygen any favors. Try to move only using your legs and with sweeping, flowing movements.

Measure Your Breathing
Time should be your guide for breathing. Inhaling for five seconds and exhaling for seven seconds is a good rule to follow if you’re not sure how to time your breathing. When you practice scuba diving, count the seconds you’re breathing in and out. Once the breathing pattern becomes more natural, you won’t need to count anymore.

Pause at the Top
When you breathe, there’s a natural desire to pause at the bottom, or at the exhale. Instead of doing this while you’re diving, try pausing at the top, or inhale, or your breath. The pause allows your body to take in more of the oxygen from your lungs, which means more energy.

Practice Makes Perfect
As with any activity, scuba training requires practice. Strap on your scuba diving equipment as often as you can and make sure you take time to practice all of these tips before you set out on an advanced diving course.

Scuba diving can be a real adventure, but it also requires caution and proper safety procedures. Don’t forget to conserve your oxygen!

scuba training

5 Reasons Why You MUST Add Scuba Diving to Your Bucket List

Every year in the United States, an estimated 500,000 people become certified scuba divers. There must be a reason that so many people want to be under the sea! There are, in fact, lots of reasons why you should be looking for your nearest scuba training class. Let’s start with five.

  1. Travel the World: According to the Oceanic Institute, the ocean covers 71% of the earth’s surface. If you are looking for a reason to travel then consider scuba diving! It is a sport that can be done almost anywhere. Imagine making a scuba diving travel destination checklist. It would be endless! Not only that, but all your friends will be super envious when they check out your awesome adventure pics on Facebook and Instagram.
  2. Relaxation: Imagine floating amongst a rainbow of fish, coral reefs, shells, and sand. If this isn’t considered a form of meditation, it should be! Clear your mind and enjoy the scenery.
  3. Challenge Yourself: Scuba diving isn’t categorized as an easy sport. There are scuba training classes that are definitely a must before going out on your own. Not only will you learn all the safety precautions and the proper way to use the equipment, but it’s a chance to meet like-minded people and experience something new as a group! As long as you commit to the proper training and practice scuba diving you will be a pro in no time.
  4. It Is Unlikely You’ll Get Bored: With the constantly changing scenery and wildlife, every dive will feel like you’re going underwater for the first time. As mentioned before, there are so many places in the world to visit and try scuba diving but, even if you didn’t want to travel, scuba diving in the same place could still be a new exploration every time!
  5. Knowledge Is Power: Once you are scuba certified, impress your friends and family with your knowledge of diving equipment and proper diving practices, and be sure to brag about what you’ve seen underwater! It’s not quite the same as putting on goggles in the pool!

Are you ready to go out and begin your scuba training now? Once you have gone to scuba classes, tried some scuba related traveling, and truly experienced weightlessness, you will wonder why you didn’t try this sport out sooner!

scuba diving certification

A Few of the Best Dive Sites From Around the World

Whether you’re preparing to get your scuba diving certification or you already have it, there are some legendary dives around the world you may want to add to your bucket list. Are you looking for shipwrecks? Marine life? Underwater caves? Here are a few dive sites that will offer you a little taste of everything.

Barracuda Point, Malaysia
Barracuda Point is positively teeming with marine life, including the fish of its namesake: the fearsome barracuda. In addition, walls of colorful coral are passed by sharks and all other manner of marine life. If you’re looking for an experience filled with adrenaline and natural, wild beauty, this is a dive you absolutely have to take — if you happen to find yourself in Malaysia.

The Yongala, Australia
For shipwreck enthusiasts, this is a dream come true. The Yongala is a famous shipwreck just off the coast of Queensland, and it’s one positively filled with sea creatures who have made their homes there. From manta rays to octopuses and turtles, this dive offers a little bit of everything. Not to mention the opportunity to get up close and personal with a huge shipwreck, which might just be your inner child’s dream come true. Of course, this definitely isn’t a beginner scuba diving site.

Shark and Yolanda Reef, Egyptian Red Sea
If you’re a diver who wants the true “all in one” experience, this is a scuba diving course you can’t afford to miss. This dive is complete with Anemone City, Shark Reef’s amazing drop off, and a shipwreck to explore. One of the most popular dives involves a trip through Anemone City, down to Shark Reef, and then past the famous Yolanda Reef.

Great Blue Hole, Belize
As of 2013 there were an estimated 6 million scuba divers around the world, and every one of them most likely wants a chance to explore this wonder up close. This unique marvel is one of the most recognizable dive sites in the world. The great blue hole is ringed by a coral reef and inhabited by all manner of sharks. While most people will recognize the circular pit that seems to descend straight down into the earth, this deep dive also houses a series of caverns if you venture far enough. It’s truly one of the scuba diving wonders of the world.

IF you already have your scuba diving certification, what are you waiting for? These scuba destinations are out there waiting to be explored.

Debunking 3 Common Myths About Scuba Diving

scuba diving courseWhen people think about scuba diving, they either light up with excitement or quiver in fear. It’s no secret that scuba diving gives an extreme adrenaline rush, but despite all that we know about this adventurous sport, there are still many misconceptions being spread. Here are some common myths about scuba diving.

  • Myth: Scuba diving is dangerous.
    While the prospect of scuba diving may sound dangerous, improvements in technology have led to the development of the safest scuba diving equipment in history. Aside from that, each year, millions of dives occur in the United States alone, but only about 90 deaths are reported a year worldwide. Scuba diving courses are available for any type of scuba diver, from beginners to pros. If you’re worried that you’ll get devoured by a shark the moment you step into the water, don’t be — in fact, in certain conditions, sharks won’t even approach divers because of their bright lights.
  • Myth: It requires a lot of scuba diving equipment.
    While having the right equipment is definitely necessary, it’s not as much as you think. Only three basic items are needed for beginner diving — a snorkel, a mask, and a pair of fins. Scuba diving classes may offer you rental equipment upon registration, but if you’re fully committed to the activity, you should consider buying proper equipment that fits you perfectly. Advanced scuba diving gear can be rented if you’re just giving the activity a try.
  • Myth: Scuba diving requires extreme physical strength.
    While competitive swimmers are great candidates for scuba diving, it’s not a requirement to be a successful diver. Diving is indeed an active sport, and it will be easier the better shape you’re in. But, any individual who is considered generally healthy or has an average fitness level is capable of diving. Scuba diving requires the endurance to swim about 200 yards without stopping, but there’s no time limit and it’s certainly not a race. The instructor just needs to make sure you have the proper basic water skills and that you feel comfortable submerging yourself into the water.

Ultimately, scuba diving is an exciting and adventurous activity that everybody should try at least once in their lifetime. It’s like skydiving — you may not love it, but you’ll be glad you tried it. For more information about scuba diving courses and scuba training, contact Scuba EDU.

4 of the Most Common Mistakes Beginner Divers Make

practice scuba divingWhen you’re trying something new, especially a new outdoor recreational activity or sport, it can be easy to make mistakes. That being said, it’s important to know what these mistakes are so you know how to avoid them in the future.

Scuba diving is no exception to these mistakes, either. In fact, with 500,000 people becoming certified scuba divers every year in the U.S., it’s not a stretch to assume that a lot of people are still on their way to a full certification. So to avoid making some rookie mistakes, here are some of the common ones you need to know about.

Diving Outside Training Limits

Going to a new dive site can be exciting and fascinating, to say the least. It can be easy to want to explore so much more than what your training area allows, but you should under no circumstances let that happen. No matter how much you practice scuba diving on your own or how familiar you are with your scuba diving equipment, this is an extremely unsafe practice. Just because you have an experienced diver with you doesn’t mean going outside the training area is safe or smart.

Not Communicating

Communication during a dive is absolutely essential. If you lose track of your buddy, bad things can happen. After all, you may need to save their life during a dive, or they may need to save yours. Communication is key!

Being Unaware of Events Around You

If you take too much time to focus on adjusting your equipment or marvel at the marine life, you could easily lose track of the bigger picture. Where is your group? Are you being pushed away by a current? It’s incredibly important that you maintain situational awareness during your dives.

Ignoring Air Consumption

Air consumption should be at the top of your list of scuba training priorities. Whether you’re just aiming to practice scuba diving techniques or you’re preparing for beginner scuba diving classes, you should always be thinking about your air consumption and checking your oxygen levels.

These are just a few of many beginner mistakes that people make while learning to dive. Now that you know about some of them, they should be easier to avoid.

scuba diving lessons

Top 4 Tips for Scuba Diving Beginners

Scuba diving lessons are one of the most popular recreational activities in the world. In fact, 2015 alone saw about 3.27 million people participate in scuba diving as a recreational sport. But like all things, scuba diving takes some practice, and it can be a little bit challenging at first.

Whether you’ve already started taking scuba diving lessons or you’re planning on taking some in the future, here are the top four tips for scuba divers who are just starting out on their underwater adventures.

Safety First

Before you check into a diving school, make sure you’re doing your homework. Every school should have some form of online reviews, whether it’s from students or staff there. If you notice any trends of disorganization or skipped safety briefings, you should probably take your business elsewhere.

Practice Makes Perfect

Before you even think about scheduling your first dive, you need to make a point of practicing swimming and yoga. Swimming will help strengthen the core muscle groups you’ll need out in open water, which is important for maximum mobility. In contrast, yoga will help you control your breathing. This is essential to practice scuba diving, as breath control is imperative.

Ask Questions

If you’re unsure of how a piece of equipment works or you’re nervous about the dive, don’t ever hesitate to ask questions. It’s always better to be safe and informed, no matter how simple your question might be. Whenever you’re uncomfortable with something, you should ask a question about it to ease your worries.

Stay Healthy

Whatever you do, you should under absolutely no circumstances go diving if you have a sinus infection or a cold. The congestion and pressure in your nasal passages will make it extremely difficult, and perhaps even impossible to equalize.

Beginner scuba diving lessons are an amazing opportunity to learn a new skill and experience a new adventure. But above all else, you need to remember that preparation is key to your success here. Don’t forget to use these four helpful tips when preparing for your beginner scuba classes!

For Polishing Your SCUBA Skills

We have two refresher options for certified divers who want to polish their skills:

  1. You may spend an hour or two in the pool to review your skills (available by appointment only), with an instructor. We provide all SCUBA gear, air fills and the pool for a fee of $95.
  2. You may participate in any of our scheduled PADI open water SCUBA courses (including all academics as well as pool modules), by pre-registering in that particular course. We provide all SCUBA gear, air fills and the pool for a fee of $195.

Before purchasing, please contact us at info@scubaedu.com for availability and to make an appointment.

Click here to purchase.
For the schedule of “full refreshers”, please view our “beginner course calendarsince full refreshers are conducted along with our scheduled beginner scuba courses.

Facts About SCUBA Diving

At SPE Dive School, we think it is so important for our students to understand the myths and facts about SCUBA diving. Please take a moment to read our FAQs below to get the facts about SCUBA.

Just how difficult is it to learn to SCUBA dive?

It’s a lot easier than one would expect. The pool skills are brief and simple for those who are comfortable in the water. Every individual will move along according to his or her mastery of the skills. Individual assistance is always provided by our qualified and attentive 12-person teaching staff.

Is SCUBA diving dangerous?

Less people are injured in SCUBA diving in one year than people who go bowling. Your SCUBA diving certification will teach you all of the necessary skills to help us keep this sport safe.

Is SCUBA diving fun?

Yes! SCUBA diving will open up a whole new underwater world to you. You will experience new sights, new adventures and new people all over the world.

Are there special requirements that I have to meet before taking a course?

Anyone in good health who is 12 years or older can participate in a SCUBA course. You will be asked to complete a medical statement at the time of registration.

Do I need to be an excellent swimmer to take a SCUBA course?

Basic swimming ability is all you need. If you like water, you will love diving! (You must be able to complete a 200 meter swim and a ten minute survival float.)

If my ears hurt when I swim to the bottom of the pool, will that prevent me from SCUBA diving?

No. One of the things you will learn in your SCUBA course is how to relieve the pressure that water exerts on your ear drums (just like you would do on an airplane).

If I wear contact lenses or glasses, can I still SCUBA dive?

Yes, you can wear soft contact lenses while diving, or you can have us install custom-made prescription lenses in your mask.

I completed a SCUBA course at a resort on a vacation a few years ago. Does this mean I’m SCUBA certified?

Some vacation resorts offer courses that last a few hours but most of these are not certification programs. If you did not complete the classroom work, exams, practical pool skills sessions, four open water dives and receive your diving photo identification card, you are not certified!

Your entry-level course is a PADI Certification program. What does this mean?

PADI stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors. It is the largest SCUBA franchise in the world, certifying more than half of all divers worldwide. Once you are PADI certified, you will get a computerized identification card (it’s waterproof!). With this card, you will have international recognition enabling you to go diving, rent equipment and fill your tank with air (if you buy your own gear) just about anywhere! Learn more about our entry-level courses.

I want to get certified for an upcoming trip but I’m not sure that I have time for the lecture course. What are my options?

Since both the written work and pool sessions can be time consuming, we recommended that you try to complete these before, not during, your vacation. If you don’t have time for the lecture course, try to study the text on your own and do the pool training with us before you go. This way, you only have to complete your check-out dives on vacation. More enjoyable for you! Learn more about self-study options.

How long will it take me to become SCUBA certified?

We offer SCUBA courses that take place over a 3-day holiday weekend or you can sign up for a course that meets 2 nights a week for 3 weeks. You may complete your certification dives on a weekend, anywhere, once you have completed the course. See our course calendar for upcoming classes.

When should I take the course?

SPE Dive School, LLC caters to busy professionals. Some of our students have had to wait several years to find time to take the course. We recommend that you enroll in a course as soon as your schedule allows, regardless of when you plan to go on your dive trip. If you complete the course several months before your dive trip, we’ll invite you to participate in a free of charge “brush up” before your departure. Check out the course calendar to find a course that fits your schedule.

What kind of gear do I need to take the course?

You will need to supply your SCUBA-rated personal gear (mask, snorkel, fins, boots, weights, and weight belt) and the course manual/video. We recommend that you do not buy anything until you have attended the “Gear Selection Mini-Clinic” presented at our orientation meetings. Though we are not a retail dive shop, we do offer the best equipment at discount prices as a service ONLY available to our students.

I’m planning to complete my open water dives on my next business trip and I don’t have time for a course, but I would like personal training. Do I miss the opportunity?

Not at all! We offer private SCUBA training, which enables the course to be condensed and taught in a fraction of the time a regular course takes. If this doesn’t work for you, we’ll enthusiastically refer you to another dive educator that might be able to accommodate you. Contact us to learn more about private training options.

I want to do my open water dives in Grand Cayman, but my husband is not into diving. Is there anything for him to do?

Grand Cayman offers something for everyone, not just divers. There is plenty of shopping, beautiful beaches to relax on and for those who don’t mind getting their hair wet, a myriad of excellent water activities like snorkeling, jet skiing, para-sailing, deep sea fishing, submarine rides … the list goes on.

I’m already a certified diver, and my best friend is taking the course. Can I tag along?

We encourage it! We want our students to make great dive buddies as well as great divers. You can join your friend in our classroom and even be present on the pool deck! As a certified diver, you might also want to take the opportunity to get an advanced certification or take a specialty course such as Rescue Diver.

What is DAN?

DAN stands for the Divers Alert Network. It is a nonprofit safety organization affiliated with Duke University Medical Center. Many of our students become members of DAN to take advantage of their travel insurance benefits and assistance. Learn more about DAN and join today.