So, you’ve caught the diving bug and want to get in the water every single day. Unfortunately, life gets in the way for most divers. So how often should you scuba dive if you want to keep your skills fresh? We have a few tips on how to stay dive fit even when you can’t get in the water every week.
How often should you scuba dive?
Diving is addictive. But it can also feel challenging, especially to new divers who are still getting used to the underwater world. If that sounds like you, then diving more often really is your best option. How often? As often as possible, and as soon as possible after your certification course. If possible, brand-new divers should add a few days of fun diving at the end of their certification course. This is the ideal time to practice all the basics any diver needs, such as equalizing, buoyancy, controlled ascents and descents and staying with a buddy.
Another option is completing your second level of certification — Advanced Open Water or Advanced Adventure Diver with most agencies — right after your Open Water course. There are pros and cons to this and opinions differ. Advantages include not developing bad habits as an instructor is there to watch and correct any developing mistakes. On the other hand, not everyone is ready to move on right after their initial certification. Some divers are simply better off practicing what they learned as opposed to charging ahead.
Most certified divers stop training after their advanced course and simply continue with fun dives. Depending on how keen divers are on their new hobby, they might dive once a year or as regularly as once a month.
Once a year is not enough
While not everyone can get in the water once a month, only diving once a year has its pitfalls. Especially for recently qualified divers, diving every 12 months means remembering skills, rules and procedures almost from scratch. Once-a-year divers will often spend the first two days of a five-day dive package reestablishing comfort in the water.
As a rule of thumb, the fewer dives someone has, the more important it is to dive regularly. You’ll need dozens — if not more — dives to establish muscle memory. So, if dive travel isn’t an option, how do you make sure you don’t get rusty?
Keep your skills fresh
The best option to keep your skills fresh is to join a group of local divers and discover what’s in your local waters. It might not sound exciting at first, but there are lots of advantages: having dive friends close by and diving with regular buddies can really make a difference. And, there’s always something new to see underwater.
The second-best option is to take a refresher course or go on a few dives before heading off on vacation. This would work for those who don’t have enough time to dive regularly at home and will certainly help you avoid spending the first few vacation days trying to remember how to attach a regulator to a tank.
Stay fit for diving
Finally, there is the question of dive fitness. While it’s similar to aerobic fitness, other aspects of dive fitness have to do with carrying heavy dive gear on land, as well as becoming used to breathing and moving underwater.
Many dive professionals develop dive fitness simply by being underwater every day. But even the most seasoned pros need to look after themselves by being well-hydrated, for example. This is just as important for vacation divers.
To prepare yourself for a dive trip, make sure you are at a reasonable level of general fitness. Look after your ears while on vacation by rinsing them with fresh water after each dive and stay hydrated. Obviously the more often you can dive, the better, but even out of the water there’s much you can do to stay ready for your next trip.