Does Scuba Diving Require Swimming?

We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Scuba diving is an exciting activity that can give you a new experience of the sea. You might be interested in scuba diving but are wondering if you need to be a proficient swimmer to do so. So, does scuba diving require swimming? For your convenience, we did the research to bring you the answer.

Non-swimmers are able to do simple scuba dives with an instructor. Scuba diving schools can provide an intro session for non-swimmers. People must know how to swim to obtain a scuba diving license or to go on deeper dives.

Now that you know swimming is a requirement to get a scuba diving license, you might wonder how well you need to swim. How do you prove that you can swim to obtain the license? Perhaps you have more questions regarding scuba diving safety or whether you can dive without a PADI. We will answer all of those questions and also tell you how deep a divemaster can dive. Keep reading to learn more.

A scuba diver on the sea floor and spectating a sea turtle from afar, Does Scuba Diving Require Swimming?

Does Scuba Diving Require Swimming?

A scuba diver going down the coral reefs of the ocean

You are able to book an introductory scuba course without being able to swim. This kind of session will teach you the basics and you will go down with a personal instructor. You will not be able to do any deeper dives beyond this unless you are able to prove your abilities to swim. If you wish to obtain your scuba diving open water certification, then you will need to pass a swim test. The swim test consists of swimming 200 meters.

There is also a float test before you can get your certification. The float test must be done without any flotation aids. You will be required to float and/or tread water for 10 minutes. If you are able to pass this test and the swim test, then you are a suitable swimmer for getting an open water certification.

Scuba Fundamental: Start Diving The Right Way

Click here to see this book on Amazon.

Can You Dive Without A PADI?

There are two main kinds of certification that you can get for scuba diving. The basic certification is the PADI Scuba Diving Certificate. People with this certification can only dive with a PADI to a maximum depth of 12 meters (or 40 feet). The Open Water Certification would allow you to dive with a certified friend or a PADI to a maximum depth of 18 meters (or 60 feet).

What Is The Most Important Rule Of Scuba Diving?

Two scuba divers exploring the deep corals of the ocean

The most important rule of scuba diving is to breathe continuously. Do not hold your breath underwater. Snorkelers breathe the air above the water and that air compresses in their lungs underwater. When coming back up, the air decompresses or expands inside the lungs to normal. When scuba diving, you are breathing compressed air underwater. If you hold your breath while scuba diving, then you seal the lungs from getting rid of air when it expands. It will expand when you reach the surface of the water.

As you ascend, there is less pressure on your lungs, so air will gradually expand. For this reason, making rapid ascents when underwater increases your likelihood of Pulmonary Barotrauma. Every scuba diver is at risk of damaging their lungs or having them explode. Continuous breathing and gradual ascension are necessary to prevent serious injury.

What Gear Do You Need For Your First Time Diving?

When you book a scuba diving experience, most of the expensive equipment will be provided by the resort or scuba diving school. This equipment includes the tank, regulator, buoyancy compensator (BC), weights, and a dive computer. You will be required to get a few pieces of gear or rent them. These include the mask, snorkel, and fins. Even if you are only planning a one-time dive experience, the gear you buy can also be used for snorkeling.

SwimStar Snorkel Set For Women And Men

Click here to buy this snorkel set on Amazon.

Fins are an important part of the diving experience. Like the scuba mask and snorkel, it can be used for scuba diving, snorkeling, and any other water activities. The fins are needed to propel you and give you the power you need to go deep in the water. Swimming underwater is not the same as swimming at the surface of the water.

Cressi Adult Snorkeling Scuba Diving Fins

Click here to see these fins on Amazon. 

At What Depth Is Scuba Diving Dangerous?

A lone scuba diver diving down a deep underwater cave

Scuba diving is dangerous for anyone that is not properly trained at any depth. Certified or trained scuba divers can descend to a maximum depth of 130 feet. Hitting 135 feet depths is considered dangerous even for trained divers. It doesn’t mean that dives can’t be done deeper, but more technical dives require more technical skills and knowledge.

How Deep Can A Divemaster Dive?

A divemaster can dive to depths of 130 feet. That is the depth that is generally considered safe for trained and certified divers. That doesn’t mean that deeper dives can’t be done safely. The deepest dive on record is in 2014 to a world record depth of 1,090 feet. It took the man only 12 minutes to descend to that depth. It took him 15 hours to ascend back to the surface to avoid causing any lung damage or harm.

Can You Dive And Fly On The Same Day?

It is advised that you do not fly on the same day as scuba diving. You run the risk of decompression sickness when you go to high elevations within 24 hours of deep water dives. This also applies to hiking or skiing at higher elevations. In order to give your body enough time to adjust, you would ideally have two days between dives and flying. PADI recommends 24 hours between dives and going to high elevations.

Can You Dive With A Garmin Watch?

Garmin makes many different kinds of sports watches with varying levels of water resistance or waterproof features. They do make a watch that can operate as a dive computer to track your dives. This is called the Garmin Descent. Other Garmin watches will not be able to withstand great depths underwater, but the Garmin Descent is made with that in mind.

For more information about Garmin watches and water resistance, check out this post: Can You Wear Your Garmin, Apple Watch, Or FitBit While Surfing?

Garmin Descent Mk1 Watch Size Dive Computer

Click here to check out this Garmin watch on Amazon.

In Closing

Scuba diving is a rewarding sport that allows you to explore depths unseen by most. You can experience the thrill of scuba diving without being a swimmer or knowing how to swim. You will be accompanied by a PADI and you will only go to shallower depths. If you want to become a certified scuba diver, then you will need to pass a swim test and a float test to obtain your certification.

Swimming underwater as a scuba diver is different than normal swimming. Swimming as a scuba diver requires you to use your legs and fins to do all of the work. Regular swimming involves using your arms for most of the work. For more information about scuba diving gear, check out Can A Surfing Wetsuit Be Used For Diving?

Leave a Reply