A question that we are constantly asked at Ocean Tribe is “Do I need to be able to swim to scuba dive?”. This is a more complicated answer than a simple yes or no, as it really depends on the experience you are looking to have.
If you are after getting your PADI Open Water Diver licence or any other scuba diving certification then the straight answer in yes. On the entry level PADI Open Water Diver and PADI Scuba Diver courses there are swim and floating tests that you need to be able to accomplish in order o earn the dive certification. On the PADI Open Water Diver course this is a 200m swim and a 10 minute tread or float.
The reason for this is not the particular ability to be able to swim for scuba diving but more for your own and your group’s safety, so that you are able to maintain yourself in deep water, in the unlikely event that your equipment has to be removed including your BCD (Buoyancy Control Device).
However if you are looking at doing a PADI Discover Scuba Diver experience then it is not 100% necessary to be able to swim. You will be under the direct supervision within arm’s reach of a PADI Instructor who will teach you to kick properly using fins in the water and this can be quickly learned. The rest of the time you will be neutrally buoyant underwater. However all this being said we still recommend being able to swim prior to trying or learning to scuba dive to enhance your confidence and the experience for you.
Ocean Tribe generally will do the scuba diving experience for non-swimmers in a swimming pool or an other shallow water area. If you then decide you really want to continue with scuba diving we also have professional swimming instructors on staff who can run programs to aid you to learn to swim.
The exception to this rule is those people with disabilities taking part on one of our Disabled Diver International (DDI) level 3 diver programs. These divers will be taken through the water by 3 DDI dive professionals experienced in working with divers with disabilities and therefore swimming for these participants is not required due to the added safety measures. For people with disabilities who are wishing to scuba dive or try diving contact our PADI Course Director Mark who is a specialist in this field. You will be surprised how many conditions are able to get in the water and experience the wonders of scuba diving.
Contact us at Ocean Tribe in Diani Beach today for more information regarding swimming lessons, or to book your PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience or PADI Open Water or Scuba Diver course.