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Dummie's Guide to Scuba-Diving

Scuba-diving, like many activities seems to have a language all of its own, with confusing concepts, technical terminology and an ocean of jargon to decipher.

To help newcomers break through this barrier, we've developed a Dummie's Guide to Scuba-diving, so that you can get to grips with what divers are talking about.

After reading our guide, you may even feel confident enough to talk the talk yourself...
Open Water Diver Scuba Diver Open Water Diver Scuba Divers Scuba-diving, like many activities seems to have a language all of its own, with confusing concepts, technical terminology and an ocean of jargon to decipher.
 
The Basics...
Scuba Diver Scuba
Scuba is an acronym that stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Basically speaking, it is the name for the gear you need to breath underwater. So Scuba-diving simply means to dive using scuba equipment.

Open Water Diver
Open Water Diver is the common name for a diver who has their first certificate in Scuba-diving. The Open Water Certification means that a diver is competent in the water and is qualified to go fun-diving with a dive guide or a buddy.

Bouyancy
Bouyancy is the term used by divers to describe how they float in the water. A good diver will be neutrally bouyant, meaning they can hover motionless in mid-water. If a diver sinks to the bottom, he or she is negatively bouyant. If they rise to the surface, they are positively bouyant.

Viz
You will often hear divers talking about Viz. It means visibility, or how clear the sea is and how far you can see underwater. Normally, divers refer to viz as either 'good viz' or 'bad viz'.

Buddy
Your buddy is your faithful friend & partner for a dive. Divers always dive in pairs for safety and your buddy will help make sure your equipment is in order & keep an eye on you during your dive in case you have any problems. If you are a good buddy, then you will do the same for them in return.
 
Technical Talk Scuba Divers Descending
Divers 'equalise' as they descend to avoid a 'squeeze'.
Equalise
When you go underwater, you experience an increase in pressure. You will feel this effect in your sinuses & inner ear, which need to be equalised by breathing out through your nose while pinching it shut. You often experience the same effect when an aeroplane is coming in to land.

Tank
Not a heavily armoured vehicle on tracks, but the container on your back containing the air you breath underwater. Sometimes this is called a bottle, especially by Australians.
Bar
Bar is the measurement telling you how much air is left in your tank, as well as a place to get drunk. It refers to the amount of pressure the air is under. Generally, you will start a scuba-dive with 200 bar in the tank. If your tank has 100 bar left, it means there is half as much air inside. In the US, they often use a measurement called PSI instead of bar. 3300 PSI is the same as 200 bar.

Narcosis
An effect caused when divers go a little too deep and breathe nitrogen in higher concentrations. The feeling for many is a little like being drunk, where they suffer from a lack of co-ordination, a misplaced feeling of security and are prone to doing slightly silly things. Many people refer to it as being 'narked'. If you ever feel narked, come a little shallower. It is not a good idea to feel drunk when you are quite a long way underwater.

Safety Stop
When you go diving, the water puts your body under pressure. Put very simply, before you surface froma dive, you need to decompress your body. This means ascending very slowly and taking a 3 minute safety stop in shallow water before coming back to the surface.

Deco
Deco is a common term among divers that stands for decompression limit. It usually refers to the maximum amount of time a diver can stay at a depth before he needs to come shallower. You may hear a diver say they had come shallower as they were getting close to 'deco'. This means that their dive computer was telling them they had to return to a shallower depth to stay safe.

Nitrox
Nitrox is a mix of gas that divers often use to go diving instead of air. It has increased levels of oxygen, which means divers can dive for longer before they reach 'deco', or their decompression limit. Tanks containing nitrox instead of normal air are have bright green & yellow labels to tell them apart.

  Angelfish Bannerfish Lionfish Clownfish
 
Choosing a Dive Centre         
Dive Talk
Whether you're taking a diving course or planning a diving break, you want your dives to be remembered for all the right reasons and you want to feel safe, comfortable & at ease. That's why the right dive centre can make such a big difference to your diving experience...

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Scuba Equipment Guide
Dive Talk

All the gear involved in diving can seem a little intimidating to a newcomer. There's no need to feel intimidated though. Our Beginner's Equipment Guide will take you through the basics and help you feel a little more at home with some of the terminology...

Read more...
 

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