Facing the Deep: Overcoming Common Scuba Diving Fears

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A person who has never tried scuba diving can’t understand the feelings divers experience while going underwater.

Yet, their experience may not prevent all of the divers from having an overwhelming fear of depth. Starting with the gripping clutches of claustrophobia and the mysteries of the deep, the fear may be so strong that it can stop divers from going under water again. How do you confront your anxieties to entirely appreciate the beauty that lies at the bottom of the seas and oceans?

1. Face claustrophobia  

It’s quite common for divers to experience moments of claustrophobia when submerged in the deep blue, especially with the feeling of confinement within their diving gear. The feeling may be conquered, yet it requires some practice.  

The first step you take should definitely prepare you for the real depths, so it’s best to start with shallow dives to acclimate. This step-by-step approach can help you become more accustomed to the equipment and environment instead of going deep underwater at your first diving lesson.  

Your breathing techniques are crucial too; instead of short, nervous breaths, focus on steady, deep breaths to maintain calmness.  

Use your imagination and visualise vast, open spaces to get rid of the feeling of confinement. And last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of positive self-talk, which can help you raise your spirits and believe you are capable of overcoming your fear of enclosed areas.

2. Training, knowledge, and equipment

The unknown depths and the vastness of the underwater world may surely evoke fear. The more knowledge you have about the underwater realm, the less scared you will feel. The feeling will surely decrease any time you try scuba diving, as the experience will show you there is nothing to be afraid of. 

A crucial skill you need to obtain is controlling buoyancy, which can help you overcome the fear of losing control or floating adrift. Invest your time in buoyancy-focused training to enhance control and stability underwater. Understand the scuba gear you are using, and how it affects buoyancy. Get advice from professionals to gain confidence and get professional tips on your technique.

3. Tame the abyss 

It’s not surprising that the vastness of the underwater world can cause the greatest fear, without the ability to feel the bottom under your feet, and the unknown animals around you. However, see the ocean realm as the world that not everyone is able to see, feel special and brave.  

Read and educate yourself about the underwater world to understand what you can encounter. The fear of the unknown may be the greatest, but it is greatly diminished once we started understanding it.  

Try diving with a partner who will provide reassurance and companionship. Learn to speak underwater to get the certainty you need to signal any difficulties. Learn and practice diving hand signals to effectively convey messages underwater, but communicate your dive plan with your buddy to ensure mutual understanding before diving to avoid misunderstandings.

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