Scuba diving for kids, does it make sense? Of course it does! If you are a diver yourself then your child will naturally be interested in this recreational activity. However, even if you are not familiar with scuba diving, it does not mean that it cannot be a great adventure for your child. How to start introducing your child to the underwater world?
Scuba diving is a very safe form of recreation that teaches many things. It is also a great idea for a hobby for a child. Today, as a diving instructor, but also a father, I will share with you my thoughts on diving for children. How to start doing it right?
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Scuba Diving for Kids
The first question that will come to your mind is whether my child is too young to dive. So, scuba diving is available for children as young as 8 years old. We will discuss the details of the courses below, now let’s consider how to approach the whole idea.
Before enrolling a child in a scuba diving course, it is a good idea to practice basic water contact with him in the company of a parent. The diving instructor who will teach the class should have a good approach to children, but still the presence of a parent is very important. So before you go diving, take your child to a swimming pool or swimming class.
Diving lessons for children
When the basic contact with water is behind us and the child is not afraid of playing in the water, you can think about moving to the next stage. At this point it is also worth noting that the ability to swim is not necessary for diving. We wrote more on this subject here: do you need to know how to swim to scuba dive?
However, the most important thing is to control any fear that may be paralyzing. Being afraid of the new and unknown is perfectly normal, and it is the instructor’s job to get past this stage and turn fear into curiosity. But when a child is paralyzed by fear, it means that with diving you have to wait a little longer.
What are scuba diving courses for kids?
Virtually every diving federation has special courses and offers prepared for children. However, here the most important thing is really the choice of instructor, not the federation logo. It is the instructor who will be your child’s guide in the new world. So he must know what working with the youngest divers is all about.
Diving courses for children are, of course, different from a basic diving course for adults. In those for children there is more fun and less complicated theory. Depending on the age of the child, we have several options for introducing him to the underwater world. So let’s discuss what options we have to choose from.
PADI Bubblemaker from 8 years old.
This is the first contact with diving equipment for the youngest children. It is designed for young divers aged 8 -10 years. This course takes place exclusively in the pool under the supervision of an instructor and consists of learning about diving equipment. The most important goal is simply to have fun and learn in safe conditions, the possibilities offered by the diving regulator and air cylinder. After completing the course, the child receives a memorial diploma to show off to his or her classmates.
PADI Seal Team from 8 years old
Another diving course for children is the PADI Seal Team. It is also conducted in safe conditions in a swimming pool. The difference is that it is more extensive, and the children are not only tasked with learning how to use the diving equipment. They also have several missions to complete, during which they will have to demonstrate their cleverness and diving skills acquired moments earlier.
PADI Junior Open Water Diver from 10 years old
When a young diver reaches the age of 10, he or she can take the basic PADI Open Water Diver course. This course contains all the elements of the adult diver course. There is theory, pool activities and four open water dives. The difference is that the Junior license entitles you to dive only under adult supervision.
During such a course, the child will learn how to operate his diving equipment, how to plan dives and how to perform them safely. During the course, several exercises are performed in the pool, and some of them are repeated later in the ocean. For example, learning how to breathe through a dive regulator, clearing the mask of water, exchanging regulators with a partner, checking instruments and the air level in the dive tank.
PADI Open Water Diver from 15 years old
Once a child reaches the age of 15, he or she can take the traditional PADI Open Water Diver course. Upon completion of such a course, he or she will receive an international diver’s license. If the child has previously received a PADI Junior Open Water Diver license, this license can be converted to a standard license once the child turns 15, with no additional course required.
Why is it a good idea for a child to scuba dive?
When kids are scuba diving, they will have the chance to see a wide variety of marine life, including colorful fish, coral reefs, and even sharks. Scuba diving is also a great way for kids to learn about the importance of conserving our oceans and protecting the marine environment.
One of the best things about scuba diving is that it is a safe and controlled activity. Kids will be accompanied by a certified instructor at all times, and they will be given all the necessary safety equipment to ensure a fun and enjoyable experience.
Can diving for children be dangerous?
I keep saying that diving is very safe. Provided it is done correctly and under the supervision of an instructor. But let’s discuss all the counter-arguments you can find on the Internet or that you, as a parent, have already heard from someone.
But let’s start with the most important point. The desire to dive should come from the child and be his passion, not the result of his parents’ ambition and will. However, if the child himself wants to dive, should he be allowed to do so?
Arguments against diving for children
The most common arguments against children’s diving, for example, are:
- it is more difficult to ensure the child’s safety,
- the effect of pressure changes on a young person’s growing bones is unknown,
- with underdevelopment of the ear there may be problems with pressure equalization,
- children cannot control panic and predict the consequences of their behavior,
- they are not aware of dangers,
- their body cools down faster
All of these counter-arguments can indeed be relevant and should certainly be considered by the parent. In the case of young divers, parental or guardian consent will be necessary, and often a physician’s statement that there are no contraindications. Here again I want to emphasize the importance of choosing the right diving instructor.
Arguments in favor of scuba diving for children
We can create a similar list of reasons why diving for children is a very good idea. And in my opinion, as a long-time diving instructor, these are:
- children learn faster and can be much more punitive and responsible
- they have a lot of fun exploring new worlds
- diving experiences help them better understand physics and biology
- frequent visits to the pool promote regular exercise
- kids engaged in the passion are highly motivated and can build self-confidence based on their own achievements and experiences (thus gaining an important position in the peer group, which is invaluable in adolescence)
Now I have a question for you. Do you remember your childhood and teenage years? Imagine that it was during this period that someone introduced you to the amazing world of diving. New experiences, emotions, places. All the things you learned only in boring biology or physics classes, you know from experience. Would it affect your self-esteem and desire to continue exploring the world?
Scuba Diving for Kids – let’s recap
Scuba diving for children, in my opinion, is the best thing a parent who cares about the development of their child can come up with. It helps build self-esteem from an early age, teaches you to deal with adversity and find solutions. Diving makes you resilient to stress and unforeseen situations in life, because that’s what you learn underwater. This really comes in handy in everyday life, where the world can sometimes be too fast and aggressive. But our child, thanks to learning to dive, knows that in any situation you should stay calm and just breathe.