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FAQs - Scuba Diving General Questions

Can I use scuba gear in a chlorinated pool?

Yes, you can us scuba gear in a chlorinated pool. The chlorine will not affect the scuba equipment. After emerging the pool, rinse your gear off thoroughly in clean water. Be especially thorough rinsing your BCD, the fabric of which may get bleached in chlorine.

Can I dive wearing contact lenses?
There are essentially two types of contact lenses: hard contacts and soft contacts. Hard (gas-permeable) contacts will often float off an open eyeball underwater. So if you flood your mask, ensure you keep your eyes closed. You will never find a contact lens after it has left the eye since they are essentially invisible under water.

I would not recommend any water sports with hard lenses. Soft contact lenses contain their own percentage of salt water (same concentration as blood, which is much lower than seawater), so a flooded mask is much less of a problem. My advice is to dive with disposable soft contacts (not permanent ones) because, in the unlikely event of losing one, they're cheap to replace.

All contacts can become irritating in a dive mask and you can't rub your eyes to fix it. An alternative is prescription masks which optometrists regularly construct. There are very reasonably-priced ones and very unreasonably-priced prescription masks; so do your homework first. The success of these is dependent upon your prescription, so consult your optometrist first.
[this answer was provided by an optometrist from Sydney, Australia]

How expensive is scuba diving?

Compared to other recreational sports, scuba is actually not very expensive. Scuba has a large "front-end" cost, since the initial cost of personal equipment, training and certification is significant. Prices vary from one location to another, and the range of prices for scuba gear is vast. You should expect to spend between $750 and $1,800 to get started. Call a local dive shop and ask about packages they offer.

To buy a complete scuba system, with BCD, tanks, and regulators, you could easily spend between $2,000 and $4,000. Most beginning scuba divers do not buy a complete system; instead they rent gear from a dive shop.

Once a diver has a C-card and personal gear, diving is very affordable. Rental costs are not prohibitive, and the largest expense for most scuba divers is the cost of travelling to exotic tropical locations.

What does SCUBA stand for?

SCUBA is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

What is the deepest a person can dive?

How deep you go only depends on your threshold for risk, and the purpose of the dive.

An amateur recreational diver should stay under 100 feet. If you're using tables, you will find that a 100-foot dive is over rather quickly!

The safe limit for a trained expert diver should be around 200 feet - even at depths under 200 feet, the partial pressure of nitrogen becomes toxic, and nitrogen narcosis is a danger. Most divers, even professional divemasters, would never be compelled to go past 220 feet.

Professional divers such as underwater welders will often work at depths below 200 feet, but they do so only with special safety precautions and depressurizing chambers.

The free diving record is somewhere around 450 feet. Ultimately, deep diving becomes competitive, and extremists tend to get macho about deep diving. But there is a point where a competitive nature becomes lethal.

How old should a child be before starting scuba?

Most scuba training organizations insist that a prospective diver be 12 years old before attempting scuba.

Despite speculation to the contrary, the risks to children have nothing to do with lung development, body size or nitrogen narcosis. The age limit is set for maturity reasons.

Some training centers offer "pre-scuba" experiences for children between 10 and 12 where, depending on the maturity of the child, a parent, guardian or scuba professional might take a child underwater with restrictions on depth (under 40 feet), and length of dive (under 45 minutes).

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