1. Where do I start?
By taking the plunge and making the decision to contact one of the dive schools on this site! Contact them prior to your arrival or simply note down their contact details and call in in person when you arrive on the island.
2. Is it rational to worry about panicking whilst underwater?
Of course it’s rational to worry. But here’s a quick test to see if you’ve got what it takes. Go into your bathroom, fill the sink with water, close your eyes and pinch your nose. Duck your head into the water and hold this position for a few seconds. If you managed to pull your head out without having a panic attack then you’ll be fine when it comes to learning how to dive. All you really need are good overall health and to feel comfortable in and around water.
3. I’m not a strong swimmer. Does that matter?
Let’s be honest, it’s better for both yourself and those around you if you can swim to reasonable standard. As it is PADI specify that you should be able to swim 200 metres with no equipment or 300 metres with a mask, fins and snorkel.
4. Is scuba diving expensive?
Taking an Open Water dive course in Koh Chang coasts around 10,000 Baht (~US$250). Owning all your own equipment is great but you’ll find that this isn’t necessary as your dive operator will provide all the equipment that you require. Like any hobby, you can invest as much or as little as you like depending on your level of interest – a keen mountain biker or snow skier would spend a similar amount of equipment as a keen diver.
5. Shark attack!!! How likely is it?
‘Jaws’ has got a lot to answer for. The simple fact is that the vast majority of marine life is more afraid of you that you should be of it. Humans are not the natural prey of sharks and in most of the world shark attacks are extremely rare. The attacks that do happen, almost always do so by accident and happen to swimmers and surfers, not divers. The shark mistakes the splashing on the surface for a seal or sea lion, and takes a bite. As we don’t taste like seal or sea lion, one bite is usually the end of it but, unfortunately, even a single shark bite can cause a lot of damage.
6. My ears hurt when I swim to the bottom of a pool, is that a problem?
Your ears hurt because of the water pressure on your eardrum. It’s the same effect that you feel when the airplane you’re in takes off or lands. During your scuba course you’ll learn simple techniques to equalize your ears to the surrounding pressure.
7. What‘s in a scuba tank & how long does it last?
Recreational divers breathe air, not oxygen. The air in a scuba tank is like the air you’re breathing now but is also filtered to remove impurities. People breathe at different rates and as you go deeper you consume air faster. As a guide a diver in calm, warm water, 5-10 metres below the surface can spend about one hour underwater with an standard size tank.
8. What if I run out of air?
It’s true that safe diving does rely on the use of life support equipment. One of the most important pieces of equipment is your air gauge. This tells you exactly how much air you have left at all times. So you are no more likely to run out of air than you are to run out of gas while driving a car. During your course you will also learn how to use tables that which show how long your air will last when diving at certain depths.
9. I wear glasses/contact lenses, can I wear them whilst diving?
Wearing soft contact lenses or gas permeable hard lenses to dive shouldn’t be a problem while you dive. Glasses can’t be worn for obvious reasons, however those with an aversion to contacts can have prescription lenses put into a face mask.
10. Is learning to dive difficult?
No, it’s probably easier than you imagine — especially if you’re already comfortable in the water. PADI’s entry-level course consists of pool diving, classroom-based knowledge development and open water dives. The course is performance based, meaning that you progress as you learn and demonstrate knowledge and skill. Your instructor will ensure that you progress at a pace that is comfortable for you.