S C U B A Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
It wasnt until the 60s that diving as an activity for recreation began to take form.Before that , underwater domain was restricted to naval commandos or commercial divers using bulky equipment to stay underwater for any extended period to either demolish or construct something. But the major disadvantage then was that the equipment consisted of very heavy set up,made from metal and usually attached to the surface by an umbilical life support with which the diver gets their breathing supply from.
Then came SCUBA. ! Jacques Cousteau , the man credited with inventing the Aqualung , where a diver goes underwater totally independent of any hoses attached to the surface,thereby giving the diver freedom of movement to swim a larger area,free of restrictions because they bring their air supply along with them underwater but with a minor disadvantage of a limited air supply. Hence self contained, the diver brings their underwater breathing appratus on their backs.
Scuba diving as a popular recreational or leisure activity really took off in popularity during the 90s. Thanks partly to so many TV programs with the vivid and brilliant visuals of fantasticly colorful coral reefs and its inhabitants and personal testimonies of bona fide divers who have done it and was smitten by it. Also by then , the various international Scuba certification agencies had hirtherto enough time to refine their training and instructional methodology to a very high competent level of safety and enjoyment especially to many who have never dived before and extremely curious as to the safety aspects and enjoyment factor of diving as a extracurricular activity.
Diving certification agencies had recognised this potential niche of scuba and taken full advantage of the opportunity to design it in a way to open up this tremendously enjoyable recreation to the masses by creating a syllabus that progressively trains according to individual abilities and fitness level.
There used to be a time where you would have needed a few months and a very strenous training regime to enable you to confidently dived into the ocean fully prepared,physically and psychologically to handle the challenges or situations should they arise.
But that had preempted many from taking up the sport. Not any longer. Now anybody with a desire to learn and who possess average swim skills and even physical shape can participate and learn how to have fun underwater safely. All dive agencies have similar training structures, from the very basic to highly advanced level.
It has been noticed that many who take up the sport merely wish to just immerse themselves underwater enjoying the sensation of the ability to breathe in that environment for an extended time beyond normal and having a blast swimming alongside schools of colourful fishes and seeing other weird and wonderful critters in that alien environment.! Vast marjority of divers fall in this category and the rest perhaps taking it more seriously and taking it to more underwater extremes in getting excitement and adventure.
Whatever your passion is,for beginner divers ,a tremendously gratifying sense is always present whenever they foray into the underwater realm. Learning to scuba dive essentially requires only a few days to learn the basic teory and underwater skills to dive in selectively less challenging and risky environments but with a same amount of enjoyment and excitement. The diver always dives in an environment they are trained to dive at.Dive sites range from the very safe and shallower environments for beginner to highly challenging and more extreme sites that need a very high level of skill and expertise to dive at.
Imagine the sensation of near weightlessness,swimming underwater with dive gear is like flying over a coral reef,it may be an impossible dream for many to be an astronaut but becoming a aquanaut is perfectly do-able if enthusiasm is enough. Its is one of very few activities where beginners can get a fantastic buzz,whether it is getting a sense of exploration diving into some area not dived before or coming across fantastic creatures that can only be found in the underwater realm. There is nothing that beats the feeling of finding some wonderfully weird and tiny critter brilliantly camouflaged but discovered by the seeker,immensely gratifying and more so if one can capture the encounter with a camera. The thrill of hunt and seek and the reward of finding and capturing even though on digital imagery. A rewarding sense of achievement when the beginner diver learns and actually dives into the ocean applying the knowledge and skills absorbed in only a few days, to a sense of self discovery of ones own extra ability to have enjoyment in an environment that prior to that had totally seemed inaccesible and mysterious.
Now thousands of dives are done daily worldwide and trained divers have numbers approaching hundreds of thousands and mishaps are but a mere 0.3-5 % and that was mainly through human error or lack of training.