Scuba diving - to do or not to do

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rm
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Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by rm » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:34 pm

Hi
I have been debating whether to take on scuba diving as a hobby. 41yr old male with 2 kids.

tried a trial class where they take u into the pool and liked it a lot. the full class is couple of weekends after which they take u into the ocean for 2 dives with an instructor. uptil now pretty cheap ~500 for classes, rentals etc.

however, ultimately i need to do this myself to make it worthwhile (ie with a buddy but no instructor to help)
a) how much does gear cost. decent stuff, nothing cheap or extragavant. both one time as well as money spent every dive (i guess for the tank)
b) how much time do u actually get to spend in the ocean. if it takes 4hr to suit up, lug all the stuff to the ocean and then u can dive only for 15min after which you have to change the tank (which takes another hour), then not worth it.

Basically anything else people have to say on time and money would be helpful for me to decide.

thanks

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:39 pm

Check your life insurance policy for exclusions - I believe, scuba diving and jumping out of airplanes is cause for non-payment of policy if you don't make it back.
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Alex Frakt » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:11 pm

Where do you live?

It only takes a few minutes to suit up for recreational diving once you've been through the drill a few dozen times and you can buy all the new gear you need for warm water diving (wetsuit, mask, fins, BCD, regulator, basic computer) for $400-$700 if you are careful. Once you have the gear, what will eventually be an hour long dive (more like 30 minutes when you start out) will cost you only $5 to $15 for a tank fill or rental if you have a place to dive from the beach. If you will be diving from boats run by professional operators, expect to spend $50-$80 for a two dive half-day trip, with additional charges if you rent gear. You'll typically get a break on prices if you book for multiple days, but don't expect much more than 20%. And of course, you'll have to pay to get to and stay at the dive spot.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by jaxxmjd » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:16 pm

rm wrote:however, ultimately i need to do this myself to make it worthwhile (ie with a buddy but no instructor to help)
a) how much does gear cost. decent stuff, nothing cheap or extragavant. both one time as well as money spent every dive (i guess for the tank)
b) how much time do u actually get to spend in the ocean. if it takes 4hr to suit up, lug all the stuff to the ocean and then u can dive only for 15min after which you have to change the tank (which takes another hour), then not worth it.
You're not giving a lot of background information that's necessary to give you a more complete answer. For example, where do you live? Do you have your own boat? If you live in the Florida Keys and already have a boat, you can get a lot of bang for your buck. If you live in Kansas, it's going to cost more to participate.

a) There's an extremely large range to the gear price. Most divers will recommend that you purchase your own set of flippers, snorkel, and goggles. The other equipment (weight belt, buoyancy control vest, regulator, tank, etc.) can be rented for a reasonably low amount if you participate only periodically. If you plan to dive often, then you'd consider purchasing a complete set of gear which would probably run you in the neighborhood of a grand for a basic kit. Once you have your own set, tank refills aren't going to cost that much.

b) If you take the full class, you'll learn about the trade offs between diving depth and dive time. To keep it simple, it has to do with the amount of Nitrogen you absorb in your blood stream at increasing pressure due to depth. Basically, the deeper you go, the less time you can spend there. If you're diving a shallow reef, you can stay down for roughly an hour at a time (this is mostly limited by the amount of air in tank and usage rate, which in turn is affected by things such as lung capacity and general fitness level) and you can dive multiple times per day if you take breaks between dives (typically the follow on dives have to be shorter than the first due to the Nitrogen absorption).

I'm assuming that this class you're referring to culminates in full basic diver SCUBA certification from NAUI or PADI. Make sure you ask if it does. If it doesn't, you shouldn't waste the money on this class.

I have my diver's certification and absolutely love diving, although I rarely get the opportunity. My ultimate retirement consists of owning a boat and diving daily. If you can afford it and enjoy the activity, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to go for it. If nothing else, you'll always have your certification at least. If you go too long between dives (typically more than 2 years), you'll have to do a "practice" dive to re-acclimate, but after that, you're right back in the game.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by four7s » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:23 pm

Please keep one thing in mind and that is that the ocean is very unforgiving and can be very dangerous for the amateur diver. We lived in Florida for many years and saw many people on vacation lose their lives while diving. Learning to dive and getting certified at the YMCA or at the local lake is not the same as the open water. I don't mean to put a damper on your dream of becoming a diver, I just want to urge caution.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Alex Frakt » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:27 pm

rm wrote:b) how much time do u actually get to spend in the ocean. if it takes 4hr to suit up, lug all the stuff to the ocean and then u can dive only for 15min after which you have to change the tank (which takes another hour), then not worth it.
A typical "2 tank dive" schedule at a tropical dive resort will look something like this:

8:45 am - meet at the boat, check your gear
9:00 am - leave for dive site
9:35 am - start getting geared up
9:45 am - pre-dive briefing (what you'll see, route to follow, approximate depth and dive time, where boat will be)
9:50 am - dive starts
10:50 am - last divers surface
10:50-11:30 - surface interval to allow off-gassing of excess nitrogen (and snack time), boat may move to new site
11:30-12:45 - dressing, briefing and second dive
1:15 pm - back at the dock for lunch, followed by a nap

Some people will repeat the above in the evenings or maybe do a single tank night dive. But most stick to two dives (tanks) per day. Diving is surprisingly tiring.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Elysium » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:36 pm

I echo the previous comments that called it a very dangerous activity. I once lived in the Caribbean for several months at a stretch working along side guys who did a lot of diving for fun. Based on their recounts I figured it was very risky activity, once you hit the ocean things may not turn out exactly like how you planned it to be. Sometimes the injury doesn't have to be fatal, but can still put you out for several weeks or months, or even cause serious discomfort. For instance, one experienced diver once got stung by a corral reef that caused serious pain and discomfort for weeks. I am not trying to scare you off, but beware of the risks, especially as the father of 2 kids.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by tetractys » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:51 pm

Once you see everything, you'll have to develop another hobby to occupy yourself on top of the scuba hobby; i.e. scuba is a vehicle to get you somewhere and is about as much of a hobby as driving in a car, only not as comfortable.

There's many offshoots, hunting, photography, wrecks, boat cleaning, harvesting golf balls, etc.

That's my experience anyway. I really enjoyed it when I was young to see the biology and gather food, and even trained some for commercial diving and underwater welding/cutting until opting for a longer life expectancy. -- Tet

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Watty » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:58 pm

You might start out snorkeling if you haven’t done that before. You could then move up (or is that down :D ) to scuba diving later.

I tried scuba diving and I didn’t get hooked but whenever we are going someplace where snorkeling is possible we take our gear and have a great time. Depending on the age of your kids they could even do that with you.

Even with snorkeling you need to still be vary careful because the currents can get you into trouble.

If you wear glasses you can now get masks with stock prescriptions very reasonably online very reasonably and this will make a lot of difference. I have gotten prescription goggles here and I have been very happy with them.

http://www.snorkel-mart.com/master.cfm?CategoryID=28

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Sam I Am » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:12 pm

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Alex Frakt » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:28 pm

I have to ask what makes the naysayers qualified to offer an opinion on the safety of diving?

Here's my take as a diver with basic open water recreational certifications (open water, advanced open water, drysuit, Nitrox) who has been closely reading the DAN Annual Reports (which include a summary of every fatality involving a US diver that occurred during the year) over the last decade. Open water (i.e., non-technical, non-commercial) diving is an very safe sport for those who are able to exercise good judgement. This means being willing to skip or abort a dive if a) the dive takes place in conditions or an environment for which you are not certified or are uncomfortable with or unprepared for, b) you are in poor health or have a disqualifying medical condition (which includes being intoxicated), c) you do not have proper or properly inspected and checked equipment. It's no different than driving. If you don't drive when you are fatigued or drunk or when the roads are slippery, you have cut your chances of being in a serious accident by something like 90%.

"One experienced diver once got stung by a corral reef that caused serious pain and discomfort for weeks" is a good example. Absent some specific reason, a diver should not touch the reef. Coral doesn't reach out and grab you, so it's a simple matter of staying a couple of feet away and both you and the reef will be fine. Any activities that do require you to potentially touch the reef, for example if you are hunting or for some types of photography, should be left until you have the proper knowledge of what is safe to touch, the buoyancy control to not blunder into things that aren't and perhaps extra equipment like a full wetsuit, gloves and a hood.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by JDCPAEsq » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:35 pm

GRT2BOUTDOORS wrote:Check your life insurance policy for exclusions - I believe, scuba diving and jumping out of airplanes is cause for non-payment of policy if you don't make it back.
Nonsense! Once the contestible period of a policy has passed, usually two years, the carrier can't deny coverage for any reason.
John

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:59 pm

rm wrote:Hi
I have been debating whether to take on scuba diving as a hobby. 41yr old male with 2 kids.

tried a trial class where they take u into the pool and liked it a lot. . . . .
Go for it, don't take the chance that health problems as you get older will bar you from diving.
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by nisiprius » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:26 pm

rm wrote:how much time do u actually get to spend in the ocean. if it takes 4hr to suit up, lug all the stuff to the ocean and then u can dive only for 15min
??? Depends on the depth. In my scuba-diving days I limited myself almost entirely to "no-decompression" dives, usually to less than 30 feet (at which no decompression is required no matter how long you stay down) (do NOT trust me on that, that was the rule of thumb thirty or forty years ago, advice may have changed). At 30 feet, a standard tank lasts about an hour. Two tanks, which is pretty manageable--you sure do plunge when you tip backward off the side of the boat, but pretty manageable--obviously, lasts two hours.

If a standard tank is only lasting 15 minutes, that implies a 120-foot dive. Well, people do what they like, but I think that's pushing it a bit for casual sport diving with air. (Alex, obviously you know a lot more than I do, I'll defer to you on this).

As for safety: scuba diving is dangerous mostly because it is a form of swimming, and swimming is dangerous. Biggest problem is violation of the buddy rule--diving without a buddy.

Also, and I'm curious to know what others have to say about this, my wife and I found that because of the restricted view of a dive mask and the restricted visibility distance of even darned clear water, we couldn't really both explore at the same time. One of us got to explore, the other had to simply follow and watch. If we didn't do that, we'd lose sight of each other in an amazingly short period of time. So we developed some hand signals for "you take the lead." They never said anything about this in our dive class (PADI), but we found it to be essential.

Finally: there is no way for three people to buddy.

I've never been able to figure out why Jacques Cousteau called it "the silent world." The sound of the bubbles and the various noises made by the respirator is far from silent; you are always diving with Darth Vader.
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by texasdiver » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:38 pm

I'm 48 with 3 kids.

From ages 26 to 38 I was an avid diver living mostly in Seattle and Juneau where recreational diving opportunities were available in my back yard in terms of shore diving and local boat diving.

In Juneau I bought a dive boat with a partner and we did quite a bit of deep shipwreck exploration with a group of other local divers. I spent all my vacations doing things like traveling to Florida for cave diving or taking other dive vacations around the world (I was still single). At that point in addition to the boat my garage was converted into a complete helium fill station for mixing trimix for deep dives, I had dozens of tanks, regulators, etc. for all the safety and stage bottles we would use on deep dives. And a fortune invested in underwater photography and video equipment.

At age 38 I got married and a year later we moved to Texas for my wife's career. Since then I put almost all my dive gear on ebay and have only done a small amount of recreational diving on vacations with the kids. Here are my thoughts on your question.

1. If you live in an area with good local shore diving and boat diving it can be a great hobby. You can go out with the guys on a Saturday to do a dive or two or do night dives on week days. For a long time I had a standing Wednesday night dive every week with friends in Juneau throughout the year, even in mid winter. The only cost was tank fills which were $3-4 each and free once I had a compressor in my garage. The initial gear investment can be substantial, especially if you live in a cold climate where drysuits are required as the drysuit will cost as much as the rest of the gear combined.

2. If you don't live in an area with good diving opportunities then it probably isn't the right hobby if you have a family. Here's the deal. The best diving locations and the best beach locations are not the same. The conditions that make for great diving (offshore barrier reefs etc.) and a low energy environment are the opposite of what make great beaches. So when you go on those tropical vacations you end up having to chose to take your family places where the beaches are great or where the diving is great. Very few places are perfect for both. Cozumel Mexico and Fernando de Noronha Brazil are the only places I've been that have both perfect beaches and perfect diving. Although I've hardly been everywhere. If you get sucked into diving big time you'll be wanting to do liveaboard dive vacations on dive yachts in the south pacific which aren't really conducive to bringing along the family. I've been able to sneak in a few dives here and there on family vacations but mostly I just do stuff with my kids and don't bother trying.

If I was still living in Seattle or Juneau I'd still be diving. Here in Texas I've pretty much given it up. Maybe when the kids are older I'll get more serious again. Who knows.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by texasdiver » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:48 pm

nisiprius wrote:
rm wrote: As for safety: scuba diving is dangerous mostly because it is a form of swimming, and swimming is dangerous. Biggest problem is violation of the buddy rule--diving without a buddy.

Also, and I'm curious to know what others have to say about this, my wife and I found that because of the restricted view of a dive mask and the restricted visibility distance of even darned clear water, we couldn't really both explore at the same time. One of us got to explore, the other had to simply follow and watch. If we didn't do that, we'd lose sight of each other in an amazingly short period of time. So we developed some hand signals for "you take the lead." They never said anything about this in our dive class (PADI), but we found it to be essential.

Finally: there is no way for three people to buddy.
Actually 3 person teams is the standard for cave diving and other forms of technical diving and is a lot safer than two person teams. If one member has an emergency a second team member helps while the third guides the group out. With a 3 person team you have triple redundancy. I did most of my recreational diving in Alaska with 3 person teams. We brought most of our cave diving techniques to open water diving and used our dive lights almost exclusively for signaling. The water in Alaska is darker and has lower vis than most warm water Caribbean type locations. So we always dove with big dive lights even during the day and just used a lot of different light signals to communicate. Flash a light beam back and forth in front of your partner's vision to gain their attention and so on. When diving when you could see all 3 light beams on the bottom you knew you had your group together. A lot of it has to do with practice. When you dive every weekend it is different than if you only do it once or twice a year on vacation.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by nisiprius » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:10 pm

texasdiver wrote:Actually 3 person teams is the standard for cave diving and other forms of technical diving and is a lot safer than two person teams.
I stand corrected.
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by pjstack » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:10 pm

The original poster still hasn't answered:

(1) where he lives/ proximity to the ocean.
(2) What sort of class he is taking and does it end up with certification (NAUI, PADI, etc.).

If his class is not run by a certified instructor or does not end with a certification, he should re-group and seek another class.
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by rm » Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:56 am

pkstack
(a) I live about 2hr from nearest dive site - monterey, CA which really isn't tropical but they say has good marine life
(b) I will be doing a PADI certified class.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by tetractys » Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:30 am

nisiprius wrote:
texasdiver wrote:Actually 3 person teams is the standard for cave diving and other forms of technical diving and is a lot safer than two person teams.
I stand corrected.
It does get harder to buddy breath though, with each extra person. Six zen masters in a heated swimming pool is probably the outside limit. 3 on the edge of panic in a cave would be iffy. -- Tet

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Alex Frakt » Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:58 am

tetractys wrote:It does get harder to buddy breath though, with each extra person. Six zen masters in a heated swimming pool is probably the outside limit. 3 on the edge of panic in a cave would be iffy. -- Tet
I suspect a smiley face is missing there. Buddy breathing is generally considered obsolete as it was found to be more dangerous than simply swimming for the surface while slowly exhaling (the definition of open water diving is that you can always make it to the surface on one exhaled breath).

What has replaced buddy breathing is that a backup regulator second stage (the part you breathe from) has become standard equipment in recreational dive gear. If you have a mechanical problem with your primary second stage, you switch to your backup. If you somehow manage to run out of air or have a mechanical issue that prevents both second stages from working, you go for your buddy's backup second stage. Regulators have no problem providing sufficient air to two divers breathing simultaneously off the same tank.

And cave divers are even less likely to have to buddy breath. Diving that does not allow a one breath return to the surface such as cave diving and most decompression diving requires that the diver carry at least one complete backup air source, i.e., an extra tank and regulator. Training for these types of diving is much more rigorous than an open water certification. Most divers never get certified for these types of diving.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Alex Frakt » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:39 am

rm wrote:(a) I live about 2hr from nearest dive site - monterey, CA which really isn't tropical but they say has good marine life
(b) I will be doing a PADI certified class.
Active divers in the US generally break down into two groups - local divers and vacation divers. Local divers may take dive vacations, but do most of their diving locally. This lets you dive more often, fit in dives around other obligations and allows for a much lower cost per dive.

Vacation divers are just that, they either have no local diving or aren't interested in diving under local conditions and so do most of their diving on vacations. Vacation diving is usually expensive and, as texasdiver pointed out, if you vacation with a partner it's hard to create a vacation that will be satisfying for both divers and non-divers. The result is that vacation divers without diving spouses often end up doing no more than grabbing the occasional dive in less than ideal places and/or with less than ideal operators. The latter is especially true for those who try to dive on cruises ship stops. Personally, I wouldn't bother getting certified if I was going to fall into the category of vacation diver with non-diving spouse unless I felt that the satisfaction of learning a new skill was worth the price by itself.

You'll have to make the call on local diving. But I will note that two hours one way means any diving is going to take a full day. Also, Monterey is challenging diving - http://www.garlic.com/~triblet/ba_divin ... diver.html. An open water certification from any of the major US certifying agencies will get you tank fills or a boat ride so you can dive there, but it would be folly to take it on initially except under nearly water conditions and preferably with an instructor.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by tetractys » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:01 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:
tetractys wrote:It does get harder to buddy breath though, with each extra person. Six zen masters in a heated swimming pool is probably the outside limit. 3 on the edge of panic in a cave would be iffy. -- Tet
I suspect a smiley face is missing there. Buddy breathing is generally considered obsolete as it was found to be more dangerous than simply swimming for the surface while slowly exhaling (the definition of open water diving is that you can always make it to the surface on one exhaled breath).

What has replaced buddy breathing is that a backup regulator second stage (the part you breathe from) has become standard equipment in recreational dive gear. If you have a mechanical problem with your primary second stage, you switch to your backup. If you somehow manage to run out of air or have a mechanical issue that prevents both second stages from working, you go for your buddy's backup second stage. Regulators have no problem providing sufficient air to two divers breathing simultaneously off the same tank.

And cave divers are even less likely to have to buddy breath. Diving that does not allow a one breath return to the surface such as cave diving and most decompression diving requires that the diver carry at least one complete backup air source, i.e., an extra tank and regulator. Training for these types of diving is much more rigorous than an open water certification. Most divers never get certified for these types of diving.
Alex, was being funny, and reconciliatory at the same time to Nisiprius' point of view. Boy it's been a long time for me. There's always been swim for the top, follow your bubbles, etc. The emergency buddy breathing was always for someone running out of air in their tank while stuck inside a ship or cave, or when trying to provide air for a pass-out victim, or when a tank got stuck and had to be left behind, or ruptured, or had the top snapped off. There was the idea of leaving tanks around in confined explorations for emergencies, but you still had to get back to them. The little tanks weren't popular, and maybe not even available. For bad regulators there was also the option of removal, and slurping bubbles right out of the tank. Ha Ha. -- Tet

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Alex Frakt » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:10 pm

tetractys wrote:For bad regulators there was also the option of removal, and slurping bubbles right out of the tank. Ha Ha. -- Tet
This fits with what I've read about some of the early training from LA County or the YMCA. Open water certification seems to have been a gradual process of substituting superior equipment for required levels of fitness and skills gained through extended and occasionally difficult training.

It's easy to see how it happened. The dive industry wants new divers and the biggest roadblock to getting someone into the sport (at least the biggest one the dive industry can do something about) is the cost, time and difficulty of initial training. When better equipment appears, you have a choice. Keep the training time and difficulty constant, thus decreasing accident rates but keeping the number of divers static. Or cut the training, keep the accident rate constant (or, if you judge it right, in a slight decline) and increase the number of divers. Hmmm. To be fair to the certification agencies, they do prepare divers adequately for the type of diving they are most likely to do. Just as important, they do not hide (in fact they go out of their way to stress) the limits that new open water divers should put on themselves. Anyway, additional training is readily available for those who want to further their skills.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by LH » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:49 pm

JDCPAEsq wrote:
GRT2BOUTDOORS wrote:Check your life insurance policy for exclusions - I believe, scuba diving and jumping out of airplanes is cause for non-payment of policy if you don't make it back.
Nonsense! Once the contestible period of a policy has passed, usually two years, the carrier can't deny coverage for any reason.
John
Nonsense is a strong word.

Life insurance policies do have exclusions. Say the person commits suicide...... Well, they are going to deny coverage quite commonly. That is routine. For more exclusion possibilities, see below. That some life insurance policies may exclude scuba death is conceivable.

http://www.my-life-insured.com/terms-and-exclusions.htm
Exclusions

In addition to the above provisions, there are also several common exclusions in life insurance policies. These exclusions include a suicide clause, an aviation exclusion, dangerous lifestyle/activity exclusion, and a war exclusion.

Suicide Clause: The suicide clause usually states that the company will not pay the face amount of the policy if the policyholder commits suicide within two years of purchase. In these cases, the only payment is a refund of premiums paid. This is to prevent someone from purchasing a policy and committing suicide with the intent of clearing their debts and removing themselves from a difficult financial situation.

Aviation Exclusion: The aviation exclusion usually states that the policy will not pay if the policyholder dies in a private plane crash and not as a passenger on a commercial flight. Likewise, the war exclusion states that the policy will not pay in the event that the policyholder’s death occurs as the result of a war.

Dangerous Activity Exclusion: The dangerous activity exclusion states that there will be no payment if the policyholder dies while participating in a certain activity, such as hang-gliding, rock-climbing, or auto racing. These exclusions are a little more rare, however, as most companies will cover you at a higher rate if you regularly participate in these types of activities.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by tetractys » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:55 pm

This is bringing back memories. I recall some open water testing, with an underwater navigation course, equipment gymnastics, life saving, and such. There was one part where we left our tanks, masks, fins, and all that at about 30', popped our vests to resurface, and then swam back down to put it all back on. We had full 1/4" wetsuits so we kept our weight belts on.

So now looking through my stuff I've found two certificates, a NAUI basic '72, and a NAUI sport '74. I'm pretty sure you didn't need those and could dive anywhere you wanted, but some tank refillers required the basic.

My first training though all came from Mike Nelson. -- Tet

SP-diceman
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by SP-diceman » Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:14 pm

Id vote yes, but only because I grew up watching Lloyd Bridges on
the TV show Sea Hunt. :)

(also loved the Jacques Cousteau shows)

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by texasdiver » Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:08 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:
tetractys wrote:For bad regulators there was also the option of removal, and slurping bubbles right out of the tank. Ha Ha. -- Tet
This fits with what I've read about some of the early training from LA County or the YMCA. Open water certification seems to have been a gradual process of substituting superior equipment for required levels of fitness and skills gained through extended and occasionally difficult training.

It's easy to see how it happened. The dive industry wants new divers and the biggest roadblock to getting someone into the sport (at least the biggest one the dive industry can do something about) is the cost, time and difficulty of initial training. When better equipment appears, you have a choice. Keep the training time and difficulty constant, thus decreasing accident rates but keeping the number of divers static. Or cut the training, keep the accident rate constant (or, if you judge it right, in a slight decline) and increase the number of divers. Hmmm. To be fair to the certification agencies, they do prepare divers adequately for the type of diving they are most likely to do. Just as important, they do not hide (in fact they go out of their way to stress) the limits that new open water divers should put on themselves. Anyway, additional training is readily available for those who want to further their skills.
I think used to be way back in the day scuba was considered a serious sport and there wasn't much of a guided dive business around so people pretty much did it on their own in places like Florida and Hawaii. The sport was dominated by retired navy types who were hard core into fitness and basically being ballsy. And also free divers who are very hard core. Scuba was one step away from being a navy frogman and the training was heavily influenced by navy techniques.

Over the years it evolved into a rich fat guys vacation hobby with the emergence of dive resorts around the world and luxury liveaboard dive boats. And yes, 'fat' is the right word to describe a lot of recreational divers, at least the ones I've been around at various dive destinations. The "rich" part meant that scuba companies were able to continue to invent increasingly expensive gear. And the fat part meant the certification agencies had to tone down the athletic aspects of the training and sport. Modern scuba gear is astonishingly expensive these days. And most of it is unnecessarily complicated.

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norookie
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by norookie » Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:46 pm

:happy Good Luck!
Last edited by norookie on Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by imagardener » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:26 pm

Basically anything else people have to say on time and money would be helpful for me to decide.

I am an ex-diver (ear problems) and here's my take on your question.
First, you really need a reliable "buddy" to dive with. If your wife/girlfriend isn't into it who do you trust with your life?
My husband would like to dive again but doesn't trust anyone else that way.

Second it does take time away from your kids even counting the fact that you are near a diving area and don't have to use vacation days for diving. Of course golf or other time intensive hobbies do the same thing but if your kids are young don't lose these days that they actually want to be around you.

Should you get certified? Yes, go for it, but as said earlier the open-water cert. is way different than a pool experience.
I hated the pool course but loved open water diving in the Caribbean, too bad my eardrums gave out in the end.

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scubadiver
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by scubadiver » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:26 am

I'm biased, but I think you should get the open water certification. Don't get heavily invested in gear unless you decide this is something you really want to pursue more aggressively as a hobby as this can be a very expensive hobby. Fins and a mask are musts. From there you can pretty much rent everything else.

As some have commented, scuba can be a dangerous activity. That said, there's a big difference between a 50 ft dive in the Florida keys and a 130 ft dive off the Jersey Shore - depth, water temperature and visibility are three factors that greatly influence the difficulty (i.e. risk) of a dive - know what you're getting into before you get on the boat.

I would recommend searching around for a dive shop in your area - this will help to put you in touch with instructors and other experienced divers who are likely to be organizing various dives.

Scuba can be a lot of fun and getting your certification will allow you to explore a whole new world. Go for it!

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by smackboy1 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:41 am

It is important to carefully read the terms and conditions of any insurance policy. In my experience most, if not all, life insurance applications have questions regarding "high risk activities" e.g. SCUBA, piloting private planes, parachuting, motor racing etc.. And a false statement or omission may result in a denial of payment of the death benefit if it turns out to be the cause of death. However, each insurer has it's own policies how SCUBA may affect the cost of the premium. For example I've been certified since I was a teenager and my wife was certified in her 20's. When we applied for life insurance we specifically looked for policies that did not penalize us. We are recreational divers and at the time of underwriting we had not been diving in the prior 3 years and as a result we were not penalized for SCUBA. Also, insurers cannot penalize you if you subsequently take up SCUBA after the policy is purchased.

Seeing as you haven't even started SCUBA, I would recommend that you take care of all your life insurance purchases prior to embarking on this new sport.

While we are on the subject of insurance when you do start diving, consider joining DAN and purchasing dive accident insurance. Often regular medical insurance does not cover many expenses associated with a dive accident e.g. emergency air evacuation, especially if it happens overseas.

http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/insurance/
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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praxis
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by praxis » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:22 am

We grew up near Minnesota lakes and my best friend had tanks so we all got lots of hours of practice chasing fish and exploring lake bottoms. That was in the fifties. I mention that to show that it's not hard to scuba, if you're comfortable in the water. In the seventies I took a class and got my card and good instruction that made my dives much safer. I snorkel much more than scuba lately, mostly because my certified wife (is there such a thing?) and certified son are only lukewarm about scuba anymore, so to spend more time together during beach vacations, we snorkel. Sometimes I spear dinner or collect conch or lobster if they are plentiful and in season swimming with just my snorkel. It takes a big breath to hunt without a tank, but I kind of feel it evens the odds for the critters if I get to use a spear or a tickle stick. The bottom line for the hobby is loving being down there.

We have Canadian friends that take two weeks in the Caribbean each winter. The girl doesn't dive but loves the warm sand that contrasts to her Calgary home in January. The guy lives in the water and does four dives almost every day. He has moved up all the certification ladder and is a certified rescue diver and instructor. Beach dive shops always need divemasters to lead tourist dives, etc. and he often gets his personal dives or air comped in exchange for leading dives for them. When I dive with him, I watch him cruise above the reef following turtles and rays and stopping to marvel at the colors of an anemone or a school of tiny brilliant fish moving as one around a coral head. He seems never to tire of that wonderland down there. If you get a flicker of that feeling, I say follow your bliss. Your family may join you, seeing your enthusiasm.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by smackboy1 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:46 am

rm wrote:pkstack
(a) I live about 2hr from nearest dive site - monterey, CA which really isn't tropical but they say has good marine life
(b) I will be doing a PADI certified class.
Never dived around Monterey, CA, but I was just at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It looks like there is an abundance of sea life, but it's definitely cold water diving which adds to the level of challenge and complexity (probably dry suit required). I would recommend starting out tropical diving if possible i.e. get your pool and classroom training done at the local dive shop and plan to fly to a tropical location with a referral from your local dive store for the open water part. The learning curve is easier and it's more fun and more to see at shallower depths in 80F water vs. 50F water.

Here are a few places to start getting your feet wet:

http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 11&t=96382

http://www.scubadiving.com/http://www.scubadiving.com/

http://www.scubaboard.com
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:18 pm

don't practice in a quarry. There was an article in our paper just today about a gentleman who died scuba diving in a local quarry.

http://lancasteronline.com/article/loca ... lurks.html
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by jbdiver » Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:13 pm

Scuba diving isn't dangerous. Scuba diving beyond your experience level or physical ability is dangerous. Scuba diving is less dangerous than skiing, running marathons, or driving. If you are a new downhill skier you shouldn't take double-black runs through the trees. Inexperienced divers shouldn't go too deep, stay down too long, or venture into overhead environments such as caves or wrecks. However, some inexperienced divers do these things and we end up writing newspaper articles about them. The unfortunate gentleman that ventured into the aforementioned quarry had been away from the sport for some time, wasn't familiar with the quarry, went too deep, ran out of breathing gas, and possibly did not perform a proper emergency ascent. Any one of these things can get you killed; combining all of them will.

A quarry can be a great place to practice as long as you follow standard diving rules. You generally don't have to worry about ripping currents, aggressive marine life, delicate corals, overhead environments, entanglement hazards, boat props, and a myriad of other things in a quarry. There generally isn't much to see in a quarry, so you can focus your attention on improving your diving skills.

I've done hundreds and hundreds of dives in quarries, the Great Lakes, and most of the oceans. I've never seen anyone perish participating in this sport. I know of people who have died, however. In 90% of these cases the person was pushing the extremes of this sport -- going extremely deep, testing immature diving technologies, not running proper lines while under ice or in wreck/cave penetrations, etc. In other cases the diver most likely experienced a medical incident (i.e., cardiac arrest) underwater.

I'm an active bicyclist. I've been in far more dangerous situations while riding a bike through city bike trails than while scuba diving in some of the more challenging dive locations around the world.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by tetractys » Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:04 pm

I also think sport diving is safe. The rules to keep it that way are pretty simple. And for the OP, I think diving is a great experience, and will be worthwhile even if it only lasts through one class. -- Tet

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6miths
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by 6miths » Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:37 pm

I would come down on the 'Do' side. Many good points made. Scuba has become safer and safer over the years both in terms of equipment and education. Even in terms of sites with more accessible artificial reef dives. I suppose it depends on one's personality but the experience can be almost religious if site and conditions are right. I certified 30 years ago in warm water and although I live in cooler climes am lucky enough to have a cottage on the doorstep of some of the best cold water wreck diving in the world. I've always loved it. For me the nature and the solitude is wonderful. For my money most of what is worth seeing is within 40 feet of the surface and I agree that snorkeling is a great past-time too but scuba adds much more in terms of ability to stay near interesting objects longer and some degree of safety if you are in waters with sharks or jellies. Where's the harm in doing the PADI/NAUI course, getting a feel for it and then deciding. There are many excellent programmes and instructors. Good luck. Enjoy.
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by stan_the_man » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:46 pm

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:don't practice in a quarry. There was an article in our paper just today about a gentleman who died scuba diving in a local quarry.

http://lancasteronline.com/article/loca ... lurks.html
Quarries in and of themselves are NOT an issue. It's actually in a quarry lake that many eastern PA and Central NJ divers do their open water certification test:

http://dutchsprings.com

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:37 am

JDCPAEsq wrote:
GRT2BOUTDOORS wrote:Check your life insurance policy for exclusions - I believe, scuba diving and jumping out of airplanes is cause for non-payment of policy if you don't make it back.
Nonsense! Once the contestible period of a policy has passed, usually two years, the carrier can't deny coverage for any reason.
John
That may be true, but OP never disclosed when he signed up for life insurance. Better to be safe, than sorry.
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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by c.Alvin » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:50 pm

For me half the fun was taking the certification class and enjoying a few group dives in my younger days. I still have my mask, fins, and spears. I have not touched my gear in over 25 years. It was difficult to find a reliable dive buddy. The best dive sites are in tropical areas - that means a vacation trip with your dive buddy.

I suggest purchasing minimal equipment (i.e. mask, fins, suit) and rent the rest as needed. Most popular dive sites have equipment rental services.

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Re: Scuba diving - to do or not to do

Post by ataloss » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:11 am

I have to ask what makes the naysayers qualified to offer an opinion on the safety of diving?
Perhaps they are following the forum guidelines by not posting about specific medical topics. I understand that there is a medical condition present in 20% of the population that increases the risk of diving injury.

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