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The Missouri Miner

Missouri S&T's Student Newspaper
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EST. 1915

SCUBA Diving

Anna Schneider

While the cold weather is forcing indoor activities, planning a summer trip can bring a glimpse of joy. SCUBA diving is an excellent way to experience a new side of the world and can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As goes with trying anything new, a list of pros and cons forms quickly.

SCUBA is unique because it forces interaction with a new environment that is not readily accessed. Getting up close and personal with coral reefs and fish larger than the human body are two things that simply cannot happen on land. Examining coral shelves and nooks is an amazing way to find little creatures unlike anything found in an aquarium. Although some fish can be seen in controlled habitats, seeing them in their own natural element brings new light to how they live. Swimming side-by-side a school of fish is another opportunity that only diving can provide.

Seeing pictures and videos of underwater can be very fascinating to some people. However, there is a significant group of people who are afraid of the ocean. Thalassophobia is the fear of large masses of water. Having this fear fundamentally means a person is afraid of not only the size, but also the amount of emptiness in the ocean. Compared to land and cities, the water is extremely open; huge parts of the ocean are unoccupied by organisms of any kind due to the shear amount of water in the ocean. This fear also could imply a fear of depths. While SCUBA diving, going thirty to sixty feet under water is typical and a fear of depths could cause significant stress. Another important fear to recognize is xenophobia. This phobia refers to being afraid of the unknown. Ultimately, scientists have not discovered the entire ocean or identified all the species that inhabit the ocean and being afraid of that fact can make diving unenjoyable.

When jumping in the ocean for the first time in SCUBA gear, it is crucial to understand personal fears. Panic is not an option while diving because the diver has their dive buddy’s life in their hands. That being said, there is some training that goes into the activity. A SCUBA certification is required to dive in most places because it can be unsafe to have an untrained diver in a group among a group. A certification typically can take three to four days and entails some classroom learning and pool exercises. Two preliminary dives are also required in an open body of water so a divemaster can analyze the skills of the new diver. Further certification is required for deep sea diving or cave diving. There are also several fun certifications to obtain such as Sea Turtle Awareness and Underwater Photography.

A huge aspect to SCUBA diving that is not well-known. There is close-knit group the activity provides. From getting to know workers at a dive shop, to chatting with divers on boats or on shore, people have a mutual respect with other divers even if they are complete strangers. This partially stems from shared experiences from dives, but the underwater atmosphere as a whole is also something divers bond over. Sharing rare fish they saw or an amazing shipwreck is common small talk among divers.

Overall, SCUBA diving is a very unique experience that is completely unforgettable. Due to a new scenery and a great group of people, diving adds a new edge to any summer trip. Diving might not be for everyone, especially because thalassophobia and xenophobia are common; however, it can be very relaxing and refreshing which sounds like the perfect recipe for the next break.


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