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 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!

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!