Diving FAQs

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Diving FAQs 2017-03-29T04:39:50-10:00

We are always getting asked questions about diving by both non-certified and certified divers alike. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and our responses:

The minimum age requirement to be certified as an Open Water Diver  is 15 years old (must be 15 on the first day of the class). For those under the age of 15, there is a Junior Open Water Diver certification and the minimum age is 10 (must be 10 on the first day of class). For a divers under the age of 12, special conditions apply.

While your little tikes might not be able to strap on a tank and join you underwater, Underwater Oahu offers snorkeling courses that are perfect for kids 8 and older. This non-certification course helps familiarize participants with the ocean and snorkeling.

Drinking alcohol prior to diving or during surface intervals is never a good idea. We recommend that you do not drink alcohol before or directly following your dives. Alcohol impairs alertness, coordination, judgement, and is associated with an increased risk for accidents.

A major concern regarding the consumption of alcohol before or after diving is the increased risk of decompression illness/sickness (DCI/DCS), nitrogen narcosis, hypothermia/hyperthermia (depending upon the environment) and dehydration. The effects of nitrogen narcosis and hypothermia can also be magnified by the effects of alcohol. Because of these risks, drinking before diving is obviously unwise.

Furthermore, drinking alcohol after diving further increases the risk of dehydration following the dive and may mask the signs & symptoms of decompression illness. Hangovers are also associated with increased susceptibility of nitrogen narcosis and may be a predisposing factor of DCS. It is the individual diver’s responsibility to practice moderation when consuming alcohol.

If there is evidence that a diver has alcohol in their system (i.e. they are still inebriated, they smell like a brewery/distillery, etc.), competent and safe dive operators should not allow that person to dive. Rest assured, Underwater Oahu will not.

Sorry, but no. We want to make sure you are knowledgable and comfortable in the water before you become a certified diver. Certification course standards for any diving limit the amount of dives that can be completed in a day, therefore it typically takes a minimum of three days to safely complete a private certification course. Each course is comprised of academics and hands-on experience. For more information about specific courses, call us +1 808 589 2177 or touch or click here to see our classes.
Newsflash: There are sharks in the ocean…

However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid the water! Thanks to movies like “Jaws” and ridiculous television shows like “Shark Week”, the American psyche has been conditioned to believe that sharks are “man-eaters”. Sharks do indeed have teeth, but they are not man-eaters. In fact, they tend to be afraid of divers (especially classes and other large groups of divers). Divers are large, noisy, and don’t look like anything that sharks like to eat.

Sharks are naturally curious, especially if there are spearfishing or line-fishing activities going on in the area. Unfortunately, humans (usually surfers or solitary swimmers) sometimes resemble the shark’s favorite foods: seals, sea lions, or turtles. Imagine that you are a shark looking up at the silhouette of a surfer thinking “seal or turtle?” Just like that, humans get bitten in a case of mistaken identity. These incidents typically happen in low light/murky water. To be safe, don’t swim at the surface alone, in murky water, before sunrise or just after sunset (these are typical times of day that sharks hunt).

If you see a shark when diving, stay calm and appreciate the presence of such an amazing and necessary creature. SLOWLY swim back to the boat or shore with your dive buddy if you start to feel uneasy. Avoid the temptation to swim quickly as this could set off the prey/predator sequence.

Essentially, all of these organizations are recognized worldwide as diver certification agencies. They create safety standards by which their instructors must teach and approve certifications.

When people ask “Which of the agencies is better?”, the answer is subjective. Typically, an agency that cares most about the student diver’s comprehension and comfort with the material presented/skills being taught and overall well-being of that student is the better agency. If it seems the motive is purely profit through requiring the diver to purchase a bunch of printed materials at every turn, then that agency is not necessarily acting in the best interest of the diver.

Ultimately, it comes down to the competency and educational skills of the individual instructor, and just because someone has the “Instructor” title doesn’t mean they are competent. There are literally thousands of scuba instructors out there who have very little actual diving or teaching experience. When choosing a dive company to get certified with, do your homework! Research the company and speak with the individual instructor teaching the class so you can make an informed choice. You’ll be glad you did!

There are two types of people in the world: those that have been sea sick, and those that are going to get sea sick. Even the most experienced sea dog can get motion sickness while on a boat at any time.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • Get plenty of rest before diving,
  • Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages the day/night before,
  • Refrain from drinking coffee or acidic juices before diving as these tend to irritate the stomach,
  • Take a non-drowsy over the counter remedy for motion sickness such as Bonine, Marezine, or Trip-Tone. These must be taken the night before and morning of the dive to be effective.

Motion sickness pads and bracelets historically are ineffective.

During the certification course you will be required to do the following swimming skills:

  • Swim 200 yards non-stop using an actual novice-level swimming stroke (doggie-paddling is not a recognized stroke)
  • Swim underwater for 50ft holding your breath
  • Tread water or otherwise keep your face above water for 10 minutes in water too deep to stand up in
  • Swim 450 yards using mask, snorkel and fins
  • Bring another snorkeler/skin diver simulating unconsciousness to the surface in water approximately 10ft deep
You will be wearing scuba gear that includes tanks and lead weights. In all you will be carrying approximately 60 additional pounds on your body. Those cheap fins are fine for floating around on the surface in your swimsuit but they will be ineffective at moving you and your scuba gear through the water. You will expend an excess amount of effort trying to propel and control yourself with those fins and effort equals air consumption. In short, the cheap snorkeling fin is not a safe option for scuba diving. Same goes for body-boarding or body-surfing fins- they are too short to propel you through the water.

Come into the shop and let our equipment experts help you determine which fin will work best for your body and pocketbook!