Here are 5 Way To Add Meaning To Your Dives
Scuba diving is primarily for fun, which is awesome, but if you find yourself looking for a bit more… here are ways you can add some extra meaning to your diving and give yourself a whole new experience.
Participate in a cleanup
Diving and environmental organizations arrange local beach and underwater cleanups all over the world. The formula is usually the same: divers meet up and are given a briefing on the area and the day, buddies are assigned to those who don’t have one, and then one or several dives are done where debris and trash found on the bottom is collected and brought up.
While you can, of course, just head out with a buddy and clean up a stretch of ocean floor, it’s better to join an event. First and foremost, not everything on the bottom is unwanted debris. A number of manmade objects may serve as shelter or habitat for marine life, and either shouldn’t be removed, or should only be removed at times of the year when it won’t be in use, so a briefing on any such concerns is very helpful. Second, after the events, the collected trash is often weighed or counted, and is subsequently used in campaigns to put pressure on authorities to minimize trash deposits in the oceans.
Do some science
A number of marine-science departments at universities or at public aquariums have ongoing projects with scuba divers, wherein the divers help scientists by making and reporting observations underwater. This can include sightings of select species, to collection of bottom samples or taking pictures of marine fauna. Your local dive shops can likely help you find such a project.
Be a safety diver
If you’re a certified Rescue Diver, you may qualify to be a volunteer safety diver at events that take place in or near the ocean, such as freediving or ocean-swimming competitions. Other watersports events, such as surfing, paddle boarding, or kayaking may also require safety divers. Check with local event managers for details. Some areas do require that you have undergone specific training to work as a safety diver.
Be a guide or instructor
Granted, this requires additional training, and quite a bit of it, but that training is valuable in itself even if you don’t guide or instruct other divers. Training as a divemaster or instructor can be a career choice, but it doesn’t have to be. In many parts of the world, particularly where the climate isn’t suited for year-round diving, many dive guides and instructors work part-time. It can be a highly rewarding way to spend your weekends, and can really elevate your diving skills. As they say, it’s not until you’ve taught a subject that you really, truly master it.
Become a search-and-recovery diver
There are a number of non-profit organizations that help authorities look for missing people, and sometimes there’s a suspicion that these individuals may have ended up in a local body of water. As gruesome a task as it may sound, volunteer divers are needed to help look for these people. This is an excellent way for divers to give back to their communities by utilizing their unique skills. This definitely isn’t a task for everyone, as any search may conclude with you or someone else finding a drowned victim. Because of the potential trauma involved, additional training is required or offered to divers in some areas. Your local fire department or emergency response system should be able to help you find out how to participate in searches.