Diving is swimming underwater, normally, though not always, with the aid of breathing equipment. Until the invention of the aqualung the sport was restricted to the length of time a person could hold their breath underwater, but the apparatus has allowed longer, deeper dives to occur. While we may think Scotland’s waters would be too cold to enjoy sub aqua diving the reality is that we have some of the finest diving areas around; shipwrecks, reefs, geology and marine life are all waiting to be discovered in our crystal clear waters. Just remember to wear your dry suit!

Who can do it?

The sport is open to all who are reasonably fit and healthy. Tuition with breathing apparatus can begin from age eight and there is no upper age limit.

Where can I do it?

Given Scotland’s lengthy coastline there are numerous locations that are suitable for diving. Our waters hide a plethora of shipwrecks, with Shetland home to the most popular: the scuttled German fleet at Scapa Flow. Elsewhere, from the south west coast all the way round to the south east coast, there are abundant opportunities for diving in dramatic landscapes featuring colourful sea life and fascinating undersea architecture.

However, before you can even begin to think about heading down to the coastline you will need proper training. The Scottish Sub Aqua Club has branches across the country and offers numerous tuition courses which are based initially in a swimming pool, rather than the open water. Alternatively there are many diving schools that offer condensed training courses over the course of a few days.

When can I do it?

Diving can be a year long hobby. The spring/summer season tends to begin around Easter and lasts until September, the winter season from October to March. During the latter it may be that clubs restrict outings to lochs rather than the open sea.

What equipment do I need?

A dry suit, fins (flippers), mask, weight belt, weights, a buoyancy compensator, regulator sets and a tank. These will normally be available to hire or buy at discounted prices from diving schools. For initial pool sessions you’ll only be required to bring swimwear.

How much does it cost?

A PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Open Water course can cost up to £500. This is the basic diver qualification and can take up to five days, or a number of weekends to complete.

It’s not always necessary to book up for numerous expensive lessons; many companies offer ‘Try Dives’ which provide a taster of underwater exploration.

Ordinary annual membership of the Scottish Sub Aqua Club costs £42 with a £27 joining fee.

Page first published on Tuesday 12th February 2008
Page last updated on Tuesday 17th June 2008

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