“I want to take up scuba diving but I can’t swim” is the most common statement that we hear from the people around us who would like to take up scuba diving.
Basic swimming skills are required and most importantly, you have to be comfortable being in the water. You don’t have to be a strong swimmer to be able to scuba dive. You will be required to pass two water skills during your Open Water certification:
1. Swim 200 metres/yards (or 300 metres/yards in mask, fins and snorkel) – no time limit
As there is no limit for the swim, this means you can take as long as you like, just as long as you can do it continuously. You may swim with any swimming strokes that you want.
If you are not a strong swimmer, you can take it slow and steady by swimming on your back by slowly paddling with your hands and kicking gently. As long as you are able to move forward without stopping, you will be able to complete the swim test.
Just about anybody would be able to paddle away with a little help of extra equipment. Despite the longer distance, swimming with a mask, snorkel and fins is generally easier. The fins will help you stay afloat and all you have to do is maintain a slow and steady pace towards the finishing line.
2. Float and tread water for 10 minutes
Again, you can do this test with any methods that you want. You can easily pass this test just by lying on your back and float as most people naturally float in water. If you don’t naturally float, you can tread the water gently. The key is to stay relaxed and the water will help you to float.
Hopefully this eases your wariness about taking up your Open Water Certification due to the lack of swimming skills. Should you need a little boost of confidence before you do, bring your friends and jump into the nearest pool and get them to help you practice these skills. It can be a fun weekend outing too!