I've never been scuba diving and I want to try. I can swim, but not as well as my husband. Will I be ok? I don't want to drown....lol! And I'm a plus size woman, will I be ok getting in and out of the boat? I don't want to make a complete fool of myself, but I don't want to miss out either. Thanks!
You may want to practice swimming laps....at CSA anyone taking the intro scuba class MUST pass a swim test (I think 8 laps in the pool by the Palms). If you have any physical limitations (including asthma) I believe you need a note from your MD - you should check on the website for this - there may actually be a form you need to have your MD complete....not sure....
Long and short of it, if you're not a strong swimmer, you may want to consider doing the scuba trips....you can go out as often as you like (sign up in advance), and they'll give you a life vest so all you need to do is float around on the top of the water and look at the fish. There are a number of sites they visit (depending on the trip), so you really can see a lot of different fish. IMO scuba is really more of an awesome experience, but snorkeling is really fun too!!
Bottom line, don't stress out -- it's your vacay, so enjoy!
Which resort are you going to? At CN they will require swimming a certain # of lengths (any surface stroke) in the dive pool. You will go through a morning of training with equipment, overview of SCUBA basic principles and skill practice in the pool.
There is a ladder on the back of the dive boat. They will explain to get off (giant stride from platform) and back on the boat (remove fins, climb ladder, etc etc).
You'll be fine. The laps in the pool are simple and the dive boats are easy to get in and out of. We've dove with plus-size friends at CN and it wasn't an issue. I have been diving for 20 years and the main suggestion would be to just sign up for the intro to scuba class and try it out. It's free! You do everything in the pool first, and you can decide if you will be comfortable going out in the boat. The boat dive for the Intro course is a shallow dive. It's a lot better to try it out with an open mind, rather than get a bunch of reservations built up from the message board. Give it a shot!
The different resorts do have slightly different requirements as far as the swim test. At CSA, you are required to swim 8 laps freestyle in the pool near the Palms. At CSS, the requirement was for 2 laps any style in the pool near the swim up bar. The medical requirements are the same. You will also need a note from your doctor if you are over 50.
The scuba guys at Couples will ask you to fill out a medical form. If you answer yes to any of the questions (asthma? knee problems? etc.) you will need to either see the Couples doctor (at your own expense) or have a note from your doctor at home.
As far as getting into the boat, I'm a plus size too. It's a bit of a challenge, but the ladders are fairly easy to navigate - same issue for the older folks.
Scuba diving is a blast. If you are not claustrophobic, you should try it. Nothing like looking up and seeing 20 feet of water above your head.
As long as you don't have any medical limitations, I say it doesn't hurt to give it a try. You don't have to do a full certification, but rather a resort course, aka - Discover Scuba Diving. Itís a great way to see if you like it. It gives you enough instruction to get started and you'll be completely supervised. You start in the pool, so if you aren't doing well enough they won't risk your safety in the ocean. They wonít let you drown!
As an instructor I've seen people of all shapes and sizes and abilities. Many divers are not fabulous swimmers, and in fact, sometimes thin people with low body fat have trouble with the swims and even more so treading water (to become certified). Of course you need to be able to swim, but that is more so for safety in case something were to go wrong on the surface (worst case scenario). Otherwise swimming is totally different with scuba gear. In scuba you use your legs to propel you, but you donít use your hands (or shouldnít - better divers keep their arms near them).
Fear is more so a major factor. People who are just not comfortable in the water typically have a hard time - and that can be people of any age, gender or size. Panic under water is a very bad thing. Getting in and out of the water can be a bit of a challenge for some, but Couples has nice boats and great staff who will give you a hand.
But on a better note - Underwater extra weight is a non-issue. We're all weightless and equal down there, and it's about cruising about slowly to see what you can see, not swimming a race.
Still, it wouldn't hurt to do a bit of swimming beforehand at your local pool, and you could even try a Discover Scuba in the pool first if you have a local dive shop.
When you get to Couples go and talk to the dive staff and go from there. If for some reason you can't dive, certainly go snorkeling. Have fun!
One other thing you might consider: Most SCUBA diving shops offer a "Discover SCUBA" class. Cost varies, but the outfit where I received my OW certification from holds this class for $35. It's held in a confined swimming pool environment. You get to see what it's like to breathe underwater, mask flooding/clearing, mask removal/clearing, learn a little bit about buoyancy and just have some good old underwater fun.
You don't necessarily have to be a strong swimmer to SCUBA dive (remember -- your BC can be inflated!). If you can float and/or tread water for 10 minutes, I'd tend to believe that your swimming skills are good enough to go diving.
There is a medical questionnaire form that you'll be required to answer (truthfully) and sign. It's on the web site I believe. Get a copy and fill it out well beforehand. If you answer "Y" to any of the questions then you must have a physician OK you for diving before they'll let you go diving at the resort.
When we went there it was 6 "laps" but by definition a lap is to the end of the pool and back. At CSA a lap is one length of the pool so it was really 3 laps. You don't need to be an awesome swimmer. You can doggy paddle or whatever.
To me diving doesn't really feel like swimming. You go slowly because you are looking around. Think of it like this. If you were asked to run a mile it might be tough but you could easily mosey through a nice shaded garden and walk a mile with no problem at all. You aren't in the blazing sun because you are under water and the temperature is very nice. It's the best exercise ever. After a trip to CSA (which includes about 7 days of diving and snorkeling for us) I don't feel like I have been working out but I notice a difference in my legs. It's really, really fun. I know you can do it. I'm no super model either and I loved it.
They are used to all shapes and sizes there and the guys are very, very strong. Many people need a hand getting into the boat and those guys can help pull even the biggest man back into the boat.
I got certified at cn last year. My hubby is a very strong swimmer. I am skilled enough to not drown. Richardo had me swim a few extra laps to make sure I was strong enough. After that I was good to go. If you have doubts spend some time at a pool before you go to build your confidence.
As far as your size goes...as long as you're healthy you'll be just fine. One of my good friends is plus size and she is an avid diver...traveling the world.
Couples has amazing scuba staff. Safety is their number one concern and I always felt very well taken care of. Go for it girl!!!!!