The purpose of the Colorado Scuba Retailers Association (CSRA) is to express our commitment to dive retailers and provide the passion and inspiration for growing dive customers, employees and associated instructors. We will proactively help grow the dive industry by sharing our experience, input and solutions with other retailers, manufacturers and industry stakeholders.
How old do I have to be to snorkel?
Snorkeling can be done by persons of just about any age - however from age 5 and up seems to be the time when a person can accomplish this most successfully. Over 70% of scuba divers started out as snorkelers - and most Scuba Retailers have special "Snorkelers Only" sections in their store to accommodate the ever growing snorkeling market.
How old do I have to be to Scuba dive?
In this day and age of better quality and better fitting gear, the industry now allows kids to begin the scuba certification courses as early as 10 years old. Most certifying agencies also have accommodations for even younger kids. The SSI Ranger Program and PADI SEAL are good examples of this attempt to allow young folks to experience this wonderful sport! Call your local CSRA Retailer for more details.
I would like to take scuba lessons, but I'm not sure that it's for me. Can I try before I buy?
You sure can!! Most dive retailers have some sort of Discover type class that allows you to spend a little while underwater under the supervision of a Scuba Instructor. You will have to fill out a couple of forms beforehand and there may be some restrictions as far as age, times etc.
There also may be a small cost involved to participate, so check it out first with your local CSRA dive retail store.
Do I have to be in great health and very athletic to scuba dive?
In order to scuba dive there is a standardized medical form that just about all dive stores have you fill out before doing anything on scuba. You will be asked to disclose any major health problems, and to obtain a physician's signature before participating. This is for your protection and to ensure your safety and enjoyment. Because you may be scuba diving in an area in the open water that potentially might have currents, surface waves, or other arduous conditions, it's beneficial to be physically fit to maximize your enjoyment of this sport.
Is the scuba equipment heavy? Will I be able to lift it?
Out of the water, all of your scuba equipment can weigh as much as 45 lbs. However, once you are in the water, it only weighs a couple of pounds. If you have a back problems, there are techniques and ways of getting in and out of the water from boat or shore to minimize the strain on your back and legs. Most resorts will be more than happy to assist you in any way possible if this presents a problem.
Will we see a lot of sharks when we are diving? What creatures are dangerous to divers?
Shark sightings are rare unless you go to an area known for their shark populations
(This is actually a big selling point with certain types of resorts). For the most part, you probably will never see a shark. If you are lucky enough, however, just appreciate it for it's grace and beauty. Contrary to what Hollywood wants you to believe, we humans aren't part of a shark's diet.
Where do you dive in Colorado?
Although Colorado is not known for it's numerous bodies of water there are several mountain lakes and reserviors available for scuba divers.
Frequently used areas include Chatfield Reservoir, Aurora Reservoir, Jefferson Lake, Twin Lakes, Grand Lake and Lake Granby, just to name a few. Colorado dive shops also go to The Homestead Crater in Utah (95 degree water) and to a place called The Blue Hole located about 6 hours south of Denver in Santa Rosa, NM. Both of these sites offer pretty good visibility. Diving in Colorado is done mostly by divers who are taking a course or trying to get in a few dives to sharpen their skills. If you are looking go sightseeing underwater in Colorado, you might be disappointed, but it's still nice to get in and dive with friends once in awhile. Most Colorado divers look at diving here as a means to an end, in other words to get ready for their exciting dives in the ocean.
How long does a tank of air last?
First of all, to set the record straight, a tank of air is just that, a tank of pure, dried, filtered, compressed air. Most non-divers refer to it as the oxygen tank when in fact it's just like the air we breathe ( about 21% O2 ) but filtered.
The length of time a tank of air lasts depends on many factors such as the diver's physical fitness, breathing rate, depth, exertion, and comfort level. Once a diver has gained some experience, it's not uncommon to spend an hour or more underwater on a single tank. The deeper a diver goes, the more air they use. You'll learn more about this when you take your scuba certification course.
How deep can a diver go?
The limit for recreational divers is considered to be a maximum of 130 feet. Most of the corals and fish live in the area of 10 to 60 feet. You should only go deeper than 100 feet after you have gained additional experience and training. With specialized training and equipment, technical divers can go to depths of several hundred feet, but requires additional training and experience.
Do you have to be a great swimmer to be a scuba diver?
You don't need to be a great swimmer in order to scuba dive. All that is needed is general comfort in the water. This is normally assessed when you take your scuba course by asking you to swim a short distance and to tread water or float for a short period of time. Normally this is considered an exit requirement, so even if you can't do this early in the course you have a chance to practice a little and succeed. (Just about everyone is successful in this regard.)
Is scuba diving expensive?
To get into scuba lessons and purchase your basic equipment (mask, fins, snorkel) is about the same cost as getting into tennis. If you really get hooked, then the cost is much like that of skiing. Anyone that owns a motorcycle or a boat will normally find scuba diving a bargain when you compare it to the amount of enjoyment you will derive from it. To find out more, just give your local scuba retailer a call.
Is there a maximum age at which one can take scuba lessons?
Most retailers have certified people in their 60's and even 70's. All one needs is the desire to take the lessons and good overall general health. For people of all ages, dive stores are required by industry standards to have each student complete a Medical History Form. This form will ask if you have any heart, lung, back or other health problems. If you answer "Yes" to any question, normally a physician's signature is required for you to participate in the course. Please ask your doctor or contact your local dive store.
How long do lessons take?
Depending on your dive store and certifying agency it can range greatly.
Most courses take just a few evenings or a couple of full weekends. You normally will complete some classroom sessions and a few pool dives before going to the open water to finish your certification. The open water portion normally takes just a couple of days to complete. You can do this with your original dive store, or if time doesn't allow, normally you can do your open water dives at a resort on your planned vacation. Please check with your local scuba retailer to see what is and is not included with their courses.
Once I get certified, how long is it good for?
Most scuba certifications are good for life but most dive stores and resorts will ask you if you have been diving within the past year or so. You can validate this - be recording your dives in a diver's logbook and having your buddy or dive leader sign it. If it has been a couple of years since you have been diving, most stores and resort operations offer, at a minimal fee, a review course that prepares you for maximum fun and enjoyment during your dives.
I was certified years ago, but lost my card. What do I do?
Check to see if you have any information (logbook, buddy's card, etc.) that might have the name of your instructor and certifying agency. Call your local scuba retailer to see if they can help. If it really has been a long time, we encourage you to take a beginning scuba course again. You will benefit greatly from the state of the art equipment and latest educational techniques offered.