What is Scuba Diving?


The wonders of the underwater world cannot be explored in a single breath. And so began the search for a way to remain underwater beyond but a few moments, which led to scuba diving! What is "scuba" diving, and how did it come to be called that? Did you know there are many reasons for scuba diving other than for fun? And what kinds of gear do scuba divers use? The intent of this article is to answer these, and other questions you might have about the most popular way to navigate the briny deep.

What is scuba diving, and how did it get its name?

Scuba diving is a kind of underwater diving that uses a set of gear to breathe underwater.

Scuba diving combines science and technology to make underwater exploration a safe activity.

S-C-U-B-A is actually an acronym that stands for "Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus." Divers use scuba equipment to swim at great depths for extended periods of time.

Scuba Diving Gear

What is scuba diving without a mask, fins, swim tanks, and other equipment designed to let the diver breath underwater? Scuba gear is what makes it scuba diving! Most importantly, divers will need to know their safety gear and how to use it, in order for them to be safe, confident and comfortable. Recreational scuba diving classes are offered at many local recreation facilities.

Diving in shallow waters requires a basic set of scuba gear which includes a comfortable and proper-fitting snorkel, swim fins, and a swim mask. For protection against the elements in the water, the diver may want to add a wet suit to their scuba gear ensemble.

A snorkel is an inexpensive, portable, curved breathing tube used for recreational "snorkeling" that requires a minimum amount of swim and safety training.

Swim fins are used for anything from snorkeling to fitness training to serious diving, swim fins are flexible, fin-like devices made from rubber or plastic and worn on the feet that when kicked, help the swimmer to move through the water faster. Swim fins are becoming increasingly popular among water fitness trainers for their enhancement of cardio training, ankle flexibility, leg strength, and swim techniques.

A swim mask is a piece of scuba diving equipment made from rubber silicone and safety glass worn by snorkelers or divers allowing them to see clearly underwater. Different swim masks are available in varying qualities and specifications, including prescription lenses, depending on the type of diving.

A wetsuit is a diver's "second skin" that acts as an extra layer of protection against chemicals, ocean life, and other elements in the water. A wetsuit provides protection against extreme cold or hot water temperatures to stabilize body temperature. There are different kinds of wetsuits for different diving purposes: dry suits and wetsuits are used for water temperatures anywhere from extreme to moderately cold. There are hot water wetsuits too!

Wetsuits come in different materials, the most common being neoprene -- an elastic synthetic material -- for its stretchability and durability. Neoprene wetsuits are available in a range of thicknesses, from 2 mm to 9 mm. According to www.bestscubadivingtips.com, a well-fitted wetsuit works to insulate the body by trapping a thin layer of moisture between the body and the suit, keeping the moisture at a warm temperature. A poorly fitted suit will allow the moisture to flow freely between the body and the suit, causing the moisture to chill the diver.

Wetsuits come in a variety of styles, lengths, materials, thicknesses, and prices ranges, depending on the kind of diving. It's important to take proper care of a wetsuit to ensure the life and performance of the wetsuit. A good wetsuit will be sold with care instructions.

Other diving gear may include diving gloves, diving safety helmet, diving boots, waterproof depth and pressure gauge watches, and more.

Scuba diving isn't just for fun!

There is scuba diving, which as we now know involves the use of underwater diving gear, and there is commercial diving that utilizes "surface supplied diving equipment". A diver who prefers a wider range of movement while performing an underwater task will likely want to scuba dive. For safety reasons, high risk commercial divers are required by law to use equipment that stays on the water's surface, but is attached to the diver through a "diver's umbilical cord."

Different reasons for diving:


Also called sport diving, recreational scuba diving uses scuba equipment to explore the underwater world for their leisure and enjoyment. There are many scuba diving jobs for experienced recreational divers, such as instructors, guides, and dive masters.


Professional divers are employed to perform specific tasks underwater, such as offshore construction, underwater welding, and oil explorations. Marine divers may be called on to inspect ships, salvage wrecks, or spear fish.

Underwater photography

Marine biologists, oceanographers, geologists, hydrologists, underwater archaeologists, and filming divers may have projects, such as documentaries, that require underwater photography.


Military divers, or "frogmen" may dive for the purposes of infiltrating, placing mines, performing engineering duties, or engaging in direct combat.


Police and public service diving teams engage in underwater search and rescue/recovery operations, detecting crimes, and more.


What is scuba diving, but a high tech way to swim around underwater for longer periods of time. What scuba diving is to one person, could be something entirely different to another! With a little training and know-how, and the right diving gear, divers can have a safe and comfortable leisure diving experience. But scuba diving isn't just for fun! There are many kinds of divers, and reasons to dive underwater from simple snorkeling, to commercial diving, to combat diving. If you're interested in becoming recreational scuba diver or certified diving instructor, contact your local recreation facility.

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