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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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!
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!
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.
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:
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 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!
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!