Stress and Diving – Get Equipped!

Scuba Diving is meant for enjoyment and relaxation. Improperly fitted equipment will cause stress and extra work that will exhaust you much quicker. Let’s take another look at some of the problems that result from stress.
  • Anxiety
  • Eventually Panic Attacks
  • Over exertion
  • Build up of carbon dioxide - causing blackouts
  • Muscle strain
  • Possible drowning
This is just a few problems of stress. Refer to your open water manual and rescue diver manual to read further details on stress and diving. Two ways to reduce stress and overexertion. One, dive more often. Two, properly fitted gear. We all have busy schedules, I'm no exception. I know divers that take golf as a priority and will spend 5-6 hours on the weekend to golf and go to the club house but claim they never have time to go scuba diving. We have our priorities. However, it doesn't take 5-6 hours to go scuba diving locally. If you live more than 2 hours away could be an exception to the rule. Most people I know are an hour away or less. That's 2 hours of driving. I'm certain you can get two dives in within a couple of hours at the quarry or lake. If you did that once a month you would be at 12 dives a year. That's not much but life goes fast and in 3 or 4 years I'm sure you will have close to 50 dives under your belt. Now that shows experience. If your going scuba diving that often I'm sure you will find time to do more scuba diving and golf. I know because I do it myself. It's been over 15 years since I've started scuba diving and I'm wondering where did the time go? In that time frame some how I figured out a way to hit the 2,000 dive mark. I know this is the extreme. However, if all you did was go on vacation and go scuba diving periodically over the summer months, in fifteen years you will be around 300 dives. I'm sure there was more enjoyment in diving than worrying about how you ever got in 300 scuba dives. Just incredible! Properly fitted gear is equally important. Most of the time when you get started in scuba diving you end up renting the gear because it's less expensive than buying all your scuba gear to go scuba diving. There are things that will be uncomfortable about the equipment. It may not be the style you like, it feels awkward the whole dive, or you are concerned about how well a regulator should breath. These are just a few of the things you will be thinking. All of this can lead to more stress for the dive. As stress builds you ability to think clearly gets foggy and you start to make not so good decisions which leads to more stress and problems. Most dive accidents that happen are typically at or near the surface. Purchasing your own equipment has a great return on your investment. You get to do your own shopping, try on the items before purchasing and get advice from diving professionals. This will help pick the best gear for you. You may only afford to buy one piece of equipment at a time. This is a great way to get started. It took me years before I had a complete set. From there I have bought many items to join my scuba equipment collection. There is a wide range of equipment to choose from and it can be overwhelming. There are many resources you can take advantage of to get the information you are looking for. You can ask questions to divers you are diving with or taking class from to get their input on things. Some of these divers may be inexperience but it creates a good conversation to build rapport, but they may point out things you weren't thinking of. Take what they say and make your own decision. Don’t let them make it for you. This goes the same with professional staff. They will have recommendations that will suit your needs, wants and budget, but you make the final decision. If their recommendation makes sense, go with it. If not, tell them that. There are two benefits to you for buying your own scuba equipment. One, you are more comfortable with your diving gear, as we discussed above. Two, it will force you to dive more because the investment you made. With this in mind, you will gain more experience purchasing your own equipment than if you just rent the equipment. Plus financially speaking, if you rented the gear to gain experience, you spend on an average of $100.00 for each weekend. Even if you were diving once a month, in two years for typical dive 'seasons' around the Midwest you will spend at least $1,200, that's at least a good starter package if not a good investment into a couple of essential items. Experience is the key here, like anything else. It only takes four open water dives to earn a certification to go scuba diving any where in the world with no expiration date. If that's all you do and think you will be OK jumping in the gear and going diving whenever you feel like it, you have something coming to you. That's like taking a teenager driving only 4 times after explaining what they should be doing and let them run off when they feel like it. That's an accident waiting to happen. Happy safe diving, Butch Zemar

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